Lincoln #29: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


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In previous years, this Blackstone Valley town grabbed the national spotlight for being a desirable place to "Live and Launch," as CNN/Money Magazine put it in 2008, when it placed Lincoln in its Top 100 nationally. This year, however, the coverage of this rural/suburban hybrid just up Route 146 from Providence has centered on the future of gambling. With Twin River facing the unwelcome competition of full casinos just north in Massachusetts, it's anyone's bet as to what financial winds may buffet this up-and-comer.

Lincoln dropped 2 spots this year, overall, to a #29 ranking, despite enjoying a rising Median Household Income (an accomplishment in the midst of a recession). Along with Lincoln's rise in Median Household Income, Housing Prices dropped and therefore moved the town of just over 21,000 residents up 3 spots to #18 statewide for Affordability. The reason for the drop in the rankings? Lower NECAP performance, which  pushed Lincoln's Education ranking down 4 spots, to #18. Also, crime rates rose enough to push the town's Safety rating down 4 spots as well, to a #32 statewide (just above Warwick and Central Falls). Lincoln's best performance overall this year, statewide, came in Arts & Culture, due to its historic sites along picturesque Great Road, as well as great recreational outlets.

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Lincoln by the numbers

Established: 1650
Population: 21,105
Median household income: $71,926
Median housing price: $239,500

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 29
Affordability ranking: 18
Education ranking: 18
Economic condition ranking: 27
Safety ranking: 32
Arts & Culture ranking: 10
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 26

History in a nutshell:

Lincoln was incorporated as a Rhode Island town when it was set off from Smithfield in 1871, but the earliest settlers arrived in Lincoln in the early 1650’s. Central Falls used to be a part of Lincoln until it was taken away and incorporated as its separate city in 1895. Since Lincoln’s establishment, limestone quarrying was a major source of industry. Lincoln was also an integral mill town in the early 19th century with many factories running along the path of the Blackstone River. The manufacturing of jewelry, silverware, and primary metals remains a source of income for Lincoln today. World-famous Cross Pens also calls Lincoln its home.

Famous residents:

Edward Harris, industrialist, builder of the first public library in RI, state representative and anti-slavery candidate for Governor
Clem Labine, Major League Baseball relief pitcher

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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