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Downers Grove Launches Campaign to Promote 'Friendliest Town' Title

Mayor Martin Tully unveiled a new logo for businesses, non-profits and governmental bodies that touts Downers Grove's ranking in Forbes Magazine's "Top 10 Friendliest Towns in America."

Downers Grove has launched a new campaign to promote its recent recognition as one of the "friendliest towns in America."

Mayor Martin Tully unveiled a new logo during his State of the Village address Tuesday night that promotes last year's Forbes Magazine article that ranked Downers Grove among "America's Friendliest Towns."

The logo was a joint venture by the village, Downers Grove Park District,the Downtown Management Corporation and the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation. It can be used by local businesses, non-profit organizations and government bodies, according to village officials.

“Many in the community agree that efforts designed to keep Downers Grove a great place to live, learn, work and play are important,” Tully said. “The honor of being recognized as one of the nation’s ‘friendliest towns’ demonstrates that those efforts not only are essential, but have been very successful.”

The December article was based on a joint venture between Forbes and Nextdoor.com, a San Francisco-based social network for neighborhoods, to assess 500 small metro areas with populations between 5,500 and 150,000. Their findings ranked America's friendliest towns based on four data points: percentage of owner-occupied homes, crime rate, charitable giving and and the percentage of college graduates.

Downers Grove ranked No. 8, joining communities like Seal Beach, CA; Huntington Woods, MI; and Hamilton, NY.

"Located about 25 miles outside of Chicago, this Midwestern suburb peddles more than 140 community events and festivals," the article states. "About 80 percent of residents own their own homes and the population is highly educated."

Friendliness can mean different things to different people, but there are several measurable factors that are associated with a strong sense of community or that promote good-feeling among neighbors, according to Forbes.

For example, studies have shown a direct correlation between homeownership and neighborhood stability, and that college-educated people typically display more civic engagement, along with higher rates of voting and volunteering.

Using data from the U.S. Census, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and City-Data.com, Nextdoor.com and Forbes studied towns' housing statistics, crime rates, education and charitable history.

Qualitative surveys were conducted among residents in the towns that rated the highest, which helped finalize the top 15.

"Many of the towns that made our list have certain commonalities beyond the factors we rated them on," the article states. "Nearly all boast tracts of public open spaces (like parks, beaches and outdoor recreational trails) and a central downtown or main street hub that lends itself to town-sponsored events and parades. All of these places host a bevy of festivals, concert series, and street markets."

Downers Grove was strong in many of these categories, according to Forbes.

"In addition to a boutique and restaurant-filled downtown, this suburb has about 600 acres of parks and green space," the article states. "On Saturdays during the summer, neighbors partake in a farmers market and auto enthusiasts gather on Friday nights for an informal classic car show."

What do you think of the ranking? Tell us why you think Downers Grove is the friendliest town in the U.S. in the comments below.

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Tony Pedretti February 07, 2013 at 08:55 PM
This is really great considering how many other quality towns are in the area yet Downers Grove stands alone as the only one in Illinois to make the list.
J. Geoff Rove February 09, 2013 at 12:59 AM
A check of houses for sale in Dixon IL shows a 2400 sq. ft. single family home with property taxes of only $3000. Clearly the Dupage suburbs have some mega-Crundwells in charge.
Susan B. Partridge February 09, 2013 at 11:47 PM
We only visit Downers Grove because our daughter and her family live there. However, if we were to move, it would be an ideal place for us to live. Our kids are so happy there because of the things mentioned--festivals, shopping, restaurants, great schools, and larger shopping areas nearby if they can't find what they need in town. We have been to the antique car shows in the summer, and delight in the holiday feeling of downtown at Christmas time. They show the movie classic 'It's a Wonderful Life" every Christmas at the theater, and you can hear seasonal music as you walk downtown, not only at holiday time, but at other times during the year, as well. Downers Grove is a lovely place, a family-oriented town, with a mixture of socio-economic classes who don't seem to notice any difference among them. When we visited the first time, we thought, 'This truly IS a wonderful town!'

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