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Two Wisconsin cities ranked among top 50 Best Places to Live: Money

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Many neighborhood leaders — who affirm Menomonee Falls “has all of it” — have been not stunned the village was not too long ago ranked No. 15 in Money’s Best Places to Live for 2020 in America.

Sun Prairie, the one different Wisconsin municipality on the checklist, got here in at No. 40. 

Money, previously a month-to-month journal, is an online supply for private finance information and data, in accordance to its web site.

Chamber of Commerce director Toni Gumina stated Menomonee Falls has been “very resilient through the pandemic” and stated the village has sturdy retailers, various companies and an distinctive police division.

But others say surveys like this don’t account for folks of colour.

“A number of instances I see the headlines, and we (folks of colour) know the ballot was not taken by us,” stated Sean Lowe, who’s Black and treasurer on the National Urban League Young Professionals.

Lowe, who can also be chairperson of Wauwatosa’s fairness and inclusion fee, helps to begin an identical fee in Menomonee Falls, he stated. He additionally helped with a few of Menomonee Falls’ latest marches for racial equality.

“Did they get a minority outlook on this?” Lowe requested. “I believe lots of the suburbs don’t equate to a Black expertise.”

Quintin Handy, a 2015 Menomonee Falls High School graduate who coaches soccer and monitor at the highschool, additionally questioned the rating.

“Obviously, the vast majority of folks residing right here is white,” stated Handy, who’s Black. “I really feel like it could possibly’t be correct if you happen to don’t embody everybody right here. They ought to embody everybody’s suggestions, not simply the bulk.”

The methodology

To make Money’s Best Places to Live, all municipalities wanted a inhabitants of a minimum of 25,000; no more than double the nationwide crime threat and a median earnings of 85% or greater than the state’s median. Municipalities with little to no ethnic range have been faraway from consideration. Money additionally thought-about house costs.

From 1,890 areas that made the checklist, knowledge was collected on the native economic system, housing market, value of residing, range, public schooling, well being and security, climate, life-style and facilities.

Money known as Menomonee Falls “pleasantly walkable, with a bustling downtown full of outlets and eating places.”

Money additionally famous the village’s 8% unemployment charge in June through the pandemic, barely decrease than the statewide unemployment charge of 8.5% throughout that very same time, in accordance to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other favorable components Money listed: the village’s weekly summer time beer gardens and median earnings of $83,000.

As for Sun Prairie, Money famous the town’s varied festivals, which embody the annual Groundhog Day celebration, Taste of the Arts Fair, the Sweet Corn Festival, the Flags of Freedom marching band present and the Georgia O’Keeffe celebration. Sun Prairie’s unemployment charge was 7.3% in June, in accordance to Money.

How ought to range be measured?

According to Money’s web site, range was measured by the racial make-up of a neighborhood, the variety of earnings brackets and the extent of integration of each of these components inside the inhabitants.

In Menomonee Falls, in accordance to the American Community Survey, 88.01% of the inhabitants is white; 3.47% is Black and 1.31% are two or extra races.

But how ought to range be measured on this or comparable polls?

“They do not point out native points,” stated Robyn George, a 2020 Menomonee Falls High School graduate who based the nonprofit Suburbs for Equality. “These are all vital indicators of what life is like for folks of colour in municipalities.”

George, who’s Black, stated extra qualitative questions needs to be requested in relation to whether or not folks really feel like they belong, really feel welcome and if elected representatives have their greatest curiosity. Lowe stated he would additionally add questions in regards to the range of the police division and how youngsters and households of colour really feel in class. 

He added that if solely folks of colour accomplished the survey, the outcomes might need been totally different.

“These surveys don’t equate to our expertise,” stated Lowe.

Community leaders weigh in

Village President Dave Glasgow stated a rating from Money is a “nice feeling” as a result of it’s a good supply. 

“Menomonee Falls is a quaint village like no different,” he stated, noting that the village has huge companies in addition to a vibrant downtown.

“Not many locations have each,” stated Glasgow.

Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald added that Menomonee Falls offers hundreds of jobs by native companies and companies.

Fitzgerald additionally stated the village has housing accessible for folks of all ages.

“More and extra households are coming right here,” Fitzgerald stated. “We have a various vary of housing, every little thing from starter housing, excessive finish and every little thing in between. That opens up for extra folks to grow to be residents.”

‘I do imagine within the Falls’

Some neighborhood leaders who’re engaged on range in Menomonee Falls stated the village is headed in the correct route. 

Lowe stated the village appeared open to having an fairness and inclusion fee when neighborhood members spoke about that want on the Sept. Eight board assembly. 

“The village will go a good distance if this fee is authorized there,” stated Lowe.

Another asset that Lowe talked about was the Suburbs for Equality nonprofit, incorporated Aug. 17, which helps enhance equality initiatives within the suburbs.

“The Falls could possibly be much more various than what it’s. But they’ve come a good distance, for certain,” stated Handy.

Despite that, Handy stated that at instances he has confronted uncomfortable conditions right here due to being Black. 

“Yeah, I do imagine within the Falls,” Handy stated. “I need to change the tradition right here and make the youngsters really feel comfy and welcome. So I’ll do no matter I’ve to to make that occur. Even if I don’t have the most important platform to achieve this, I’d like to assume I’m doing every little thing I can.”

Cathy Kozlowicz may be reached at 262-361-9132 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @KozlowiczCathy.

Our subscribers make this reporting attainable. Please take into account supporting native journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.


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