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Downers Grove ranked among nation’s ‘friendliest’ communities

DOWNERS GROVE — If Downers Grove seems like a friendly place to live, it’s not just a feeling — now there’s research to back it up.

An article from Forbes.com published this week lists Downers Grove as one of America’s “friendliest towns.”

Downers Grove appears at No. 8, joining such communities as Fishers, Ind., and Hamilton, N.Y.

The accompanying article notes that friendliness can be hard to quantify, but the list is based on measurable factors, including census data, FBI crime statistics and information from the Chronicle of Philanthropy on charitable giving.

Finally, Forbes partnered with Nextdoor.com, a neighborhood social networking site, to help finalize the rankings.

“Many of the towns that made our list have certain commonalities beyond the factors we rated them on,” the Forbes article stated. “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.”

At No. 8, Downers Grove was sandwiched between Alpharetta, Ga., and Huntington Woods, Mich. The rankings noted the Downers Grove’s “more than 140 community events and festivals" as well as a roughly 80 percent home ownership rate and a highly education population.

The rankings also noted Downers Grove’s atmosphere.

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

The list of 15 included several Midwestern communities, but Downers Grove was the only one in Illinois that made the cut. At No. 1 was Sammamish, Wash. — population 46,700 and a town that, in addition to picturesque mountains, features a high rate of homeownership and low crime and unemployment figures, according to Forbes.

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