The Parsons ranks first in the state as the most affordable place to live and ranks 38th nationwide. That’s according to a study conducted by the online financial service, Smart Asset.
“I think if it says anything, I think it says hope. What it does is it shows small town living is not dead in the United States of America,” said Jim Zaleski, Director of Economic Development.
For years now, rural America has seen a decline in its small towns, but according to the study, affordable housing in Parsons is to thank.
“You’ve got closing cost, insurance, taxes and your mortgage extrapolated over several years that you have to pay that. When you look at our median income, which we understand isn’t necessarily the highest, but all these other costs when they’re put together, much, much lower then living somewhere else,” said Zaleski.
In a second study conducted by the college and career website, Goodcall, Parsons ranked 46th as one of the best cities for K through 12 teachers to live and work throughout the country.
“This is a great place to maybe have your first experience and kind of cut your teeth. It’s also a great place when your at the other end of your career and you come back. And as I said, be with your grandchildren, live in the small town, slow down a little bit,” said Shelly Martin, Superintendent of Schools.
More then 900 U.S. metro and micro areas were evaluated on local teacher salaries, job market, housing affordability, lifestyle and more. Martin says for her personally, she enjoys the family orientated community.
“I go to a restaurant my students wait on me, I go to downtown and I see my students and think that teachers really enjoy seeing their students like that, and students really seeing their teachers as people that are involved in their community,” said Martin.
While the Goodcall study was a national project, no other cities in Kansas ranked higher than Parsons. City officials say their trick is to provide opportunities for residents.
“We’re trying a little bit of everything. We’ll try a program if it works, we keep it going. If we have to tweak it along the way, we tweak it along the way and better, but we’re constantly going back to the drawing board. We’re constantly looking at new ways to help our citizens better themselves, therefore we better the entire city,” said Zaleski.
Zaleski and Martin both say it also helps that everyone supports and takes care of one another.