Coventry #17: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


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Named in 2011 as a community on the move, this town of just over 35,000 in Kent County dropped slightly in the Best Community rankings for 2012 but is still worth watching. From its rural, historic roots and legacy of its 8 once-vibrant mill villages, Coventry is riding out the Rhode Island recession with good schools and the second best Affordability ranking in the state.

Let's start with Affordability. Coventry had already earned a reputation for being a great deal in 2011, ranking #5 on GoLocal's Affordability scale. But in 2012, as the town's Median Household Income rose and Median Housing Prices declined, Coventry surged to the #2 Most Affordable community in the state (behind Glocester). What caused Coventry's decline overall, then? Small drops on measures including Education, Economic Condition, and Safety.

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Coventry by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 35,014
Median household income: $66,997
Median housing price: $180,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 17
Affordability ranking: 2
Education ranking: 20
Economic condition ranking: 23
Safety ranking: 24
Arts & Culture ranking: 14
Restaurant & Bars ranking: 18

History in a nutshell:

Coventry’s origins can be traced back to its birth as a township, when on August 24, 1741, Samuel Gorton purchased the Western end of the town of Warwick. Deriving its namesake from Coventry, England, the new township extended all the way to the Connecticut line, containing 64.8 square miles. Several villages centered themselves around textile mills, some of which are still found today. Currently, while the western half of Coventry remains mostly rural in nature, the eastern half is one of the fastest growing communities in Rhode Island.

Famous residents:

Henry B. Anthony, notorious anti-Catholic newspaperman, later became a United States Senator and Governor of Rhode Island
Henry P. Baldwin, served as the governor of Michigan from 1869 to 1873 and as a U.S. Senator from 1879 to 1881
General Nathanael Greene, general during the American Revolutionary War (his homestead still stands on Taft Street)
Desiree Washington, Miss Black America contestant whom Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson served prison term for raping
Mike Stefanik, NASCAR driver
HM3 Joshua T. Chiarini, awarded the Silver Star for actions in Iraq in 2006
Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Pappe, South African botanist

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

For more Best Communities coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.


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