Sun Prairie is getting is in the Money again . . . Money Magazine, which ranked the City of Sun Prairie #40 on its 2020 Best Places to Live in America list.
Sun Prairie was ranked that high in part due to the relative home price to other Dane County communities, the health of the local job market, and the new Sun Prairie West High School opening in fall of 2022.
The annual ranking is based on a thorough evaluation of a host of factors including the local economy, housing market, cost of living, diversity, public education, health & safety, weather, lifestyle and amenities.
In a press release, city officials expressed being pleased with the ranking.
“On behalf of the City Council, I want to express our appreciation for the City of Sun Prairie being recognized by Money Magazine as one of the Best Places to Live in America,” remarked Mayor Paul Esser.
“This recognition is more meaningful for me due to its emphasis on cultural diversity and housing affordability in their rankings,” Esser added.
“While we work every day to ensure that Sun Prairie is an inclusive welcoming place for all people that choose to live in, work in, and explore our city, we are committed to the work that remains in our efforts to honor our diverse identity, and foster a truly equitable and inclusive culture,” the mayor added.
“We’re also committed to working in partnership across the region to better address the need for affordable housing so that people can live and work here, keeping our economy and sense of community Sun Prairie Strong,” Esser said. “This ranking is a wonderful reminder of the accomplishments of this great community, but also motivates us to continually heighten Sun Prairie to be all that it can be, for everyone who chooses to call it home.”
City Administrator Aaron Oppenheimer added his reaction, but hoped it would not be the last time the city captured the ranking.
“The Sun Prairie City Council has made it clear that access to affordable housing, quality employment opportunities, and an environment that welcomes diversity are priorities for our city,” said Oppenheimer, who co-hosts the cable access TV show about the City of Sun Prairie called “Inside Your City” on the city’s public access TV channel, KSUN.
“We will continue to advance and maintain these priorities to ensure our local economy and our labor force stay strong,” Oppenheimer added, “and that we stay one of the Best Places to Live in America for a long, long time.”
In its ranking description, Money noted Sun Prairie’s Jimmy the Groundhog and Groundhog Day, several local festivals including the Sun Prairie Sweet Corn Festival and live music events, and even its notoriety as the birthplace of artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
Money also mentioned the new Sun Prairie West High School opening in 2022 and the unemployment rate of 7.3 percent among the city’s 34,000 residents as being reasons for the ranking.
In the ranking, Sun Prairie ranked lower than Alabaster, Ala. (#39) but higher than Bentonville, Ark. (#41).
Money looked at communities of at least 25,000 residents, but then removed communities with more than double the national crime risk, a median income lower than 85 percent of its state’s median, and little or no diversity.
Rankings were calculated from 115 separate types of data, including diversity, housing, income, education and health and safety — among others.
The City of Sun Prairie is no stranger to being nationally ranked. In 2009, Sun Prairie was ranked among the top 10 U.S. towns and cities for families by Family Circle magazine.
City officials want to keep the public involved even after announcing the rankings. In the press release announcing the ranking, the City of Sun Prairie asked for committee, board and commission volunteers: “Sun Prairie is always on the lookout for more voices to guide us as we create a community where everyone can thrive. Community members are encouraged to consider help setting the course for Sun Prairie’s bright future by serving on a committee with the city.”
For more information on how to serve on a committee, go to the City of Sun Prairie’s website, https://cityofsunprairie.com/418/Boards-Commissions-Committees .