Jamestown #12: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


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It's the envy of everyone who skims across it en route from Saunderstown to Newport. Cast one look down that tidy Main Street as you head toward the Newport Tolls, or hop off before leaving Conanicut Island to ogle some of the most beautiful properties in the entire state. It's another Rhode Island slice of heaven, smack in the middle of Narragnasett Bay. And it posted the biggest upward move of 2012, vaulting from #28 in 2011 to #12 in Rhode Island's Best Communities 2012.

What propelled this long-envied enclave up so high? A combination of upward moves, especially three Top 10 performances this year in Education (#8), Economic Condition (#4), and Arts & Culture (#10). Additionally, Jamestown posted crime rates that earned it a #13 ranking this year in Safety, a huge move upward of 9 spots from 2011. Jamestown remains out of reach for most Rhode Islanders, with one of the lowest Affordability rankings in the state at #35. With its small Main Street area hosting a handful of restaurants and bars, it's no wonder that Jamestown ranked in the bottom 10 on that measure, but with Newport just across the bridge, perhaps that's not such a bad thing. In any case, Jamestown shines in 2012 and is poised for a Top 10 move in 2013.

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Jamestown by the numbers

Established: 1639
Population: 5,405
Median household income: $77,813
Median housing price: $450,000

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 12
Affordability ranking: 35
Education ranking: 8
Economic condition ranking: 4
Safety ranking: 13
Arts & Culture ranking: 10
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 30

History in a nutshell:

Conanicut Island was purchased by Benedict Arnold, William Coddigan and several others from Newport in 1656. The incorporation of Jamestown occurred on November 4, 1678, and was named in honor of Prince James who later became James II. Since Jamestown is an island, it has never been developed as a port or a commercial area but instead as a residential area. Jamestown was connected to the mainland in 1940 via the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge while the Newport Bridge, completed in 1969, gave Jamestown a route to both sides of Narragansett Bay. Those who were in RI in 2006 will never forget the image of the original Jamestown Bridge exploding in demolition.

Famous residents:

Luke McNamee, four-star admiral and Governor of Guam
Jack Reed, US Senator

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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