Athens ranked among best places to live

Huntsville, Ala., takes top spot on Kiplinger's Personal Finance list

They don't call Athens the "Classic City" for nothing.

The home of the University of Georgia continues to rake in honors as one of the best cities in America to live. The latest distinction came via Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, which ranked Athens No. 5 on its list of best places to live.

"It doesn't come as a surprise to me," Athens Mayor Heidi Davison said. "Those of us who live here have always known that. But it's nice for others around the country to take notice and it's gratifying to see ourselves positively through the eyes of other people."

Huntsville, Ala., took the No. 1 spot in Kiplinger's rankings. Athens was rated just above Olympia, Wash., and just behind Charlottesville, Va. A full story will appear in the magazine's July issue but you can read about it now at http://www.kiplinger.com/magazine/archives/2009/07/best-cities-2009-where-the-jobs-are.html

Last month Athens was ranked seventh in the U.S. for "best cities for jobs" by Forbes magazine.

Kiplinger's wrote that Athens "is anything but old-fashioned. Although Southern charm clings to streets lined with Greek Revival mansions and Victorian-era storefronts, the air is charged with change."

The article also lauded the city's relatively low 6.3 percent unemployment rate while more than half of the state's county's are reporting rates above 10 percent and applauded its "ecletic" lifestyle.

"They point out the same attributes about our community that I repeat over and over to people I meet for the first time," Davison said. "We have a great university that produces well-educated people that want to stay in the community. We have kind of an international flavor, with great restaurants and outdoor cafes and music venues.

"But we don't want to get arrogant. We're going to continue to work to improve our way of life here."