Smithfield #13: RI’s Best Communities 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


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Blackstone Valley's top performer in the 2012 Best Community rankings, this large Rhode Island town enjoys the combination of a suburban ethos, still-operational farms that decorate the landscape and draw tourists, and a growing, ambitious university. It's a potent combination, and it places Smithfield at #13 overall in the state.

More expensive than most of its Blackstone Valley neighbors with an Affordability ranking of #12 (a drop of 2 spots from 2011), Smithfield also lost ground on Education, where lower NECAP scores resulted in a statewide ranking of #15, compared to #10 in 2011. The Apple Valley's dominant town did best in 2012 in Safety, where its relatively low crime rate earned it a #11 ranking.

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Smithfield by the numbers

Established: 1636
Population: 21,430
Median household income: $71,777
Median housing price: $238,500

2012 Best Communities rankings

Overall ranking: 13
Affordability ranking: 12
Education ranking: 15
Economic condition ranking: 21
Safety ranking: 11
Arts & Culture ranking: 17
Restaurants & Bars ranking: 22

History in a nutshell:

The town of Smithfield, which was settled by the Quakers was set off from Providence and incorporated as its own town in 1730. In 1871, a portion of Smithfield was annexed to nearby Woonsocket, and the rest of the area was divided into three separate towns, Lincoln, North Smithfield, and Smithfield. While agriculture was important to its development, Smithfield also had a growing industry as mills were developed along the many streams running through the town. Agriculture is still important to the community as there are numerous apple orchards in Smithfield, and it has fondly been nicknamed “Apple Country" or "Apple Valley." In the same way, industry is still a force in Smithfield as there are numerous ultra modern factories in town. Smithfield is also home to one of Rhode Island’s top universities, Bryant.

Famous residents:

Cyrus Aldrich, United States Congressman from Minnesota
Ronald K. Machtley, former U.S. Representative
Peleg Arnold, delegate to the Continental Congress
Daniel Mowry, Jr., delegate to the Continental Congress
Arthur Steere, politician, businessman
Don Orsillo, commentator for the Boston Red Sox on New England Sports Network(NESN)
David Wilkinson, machinist, co-builder of Slater Mill
Elizabeth Buffum Chace, influential American activist in the Anti-Slavery, Women's Rights, and Prison Reform Movements of the mid to late 19th century

Famous residents source: Wikipedia

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