No. 1 Mountain City? Colorado Springs, Money magazine declares

October 6, 2016 Updated: October 7, 2016 at 9:56 am
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Monday's storms left fresh snow on Pikes Peak and standing water all around town. Jim McCall is reflected in a puddle at the Mesa Road overlook after stopping to take a photo of the fresh snow Tuesday, August 30, 2016. McCall is in the process of moving from Manitou Springs to Oklahoma and wanted to take a photo before leaving town. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Choosing the best big U.S. cities in six regions, Money magazine has deemed Colorado Springs "Best in the Mountains."

Take that, Denver!

Colorado Springs is one of the six hottest spots for urban dwellers nationwide, said Money, citing a population of 444,776, median home price of $227,500, average property tax of $1,100 and unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.

It's also the easiest place to live, even compared with the five other top cities.

"It's flattering to see national publications taking note of what our citizens already know; that Colorado Springs is an incredibly desirable place to live," Mayor John Suthers said Thursday. "We know our identity as Olympic City USA, our healthy economy, our beautiful natural scenery and the growth we are experiencing economically are all positive signs for the future of our city. It's great to see that the nation is becoming aware."

City employment is surging at its fastest pace since 2000, outpacing the rate not only in Colorado, but also across the nation, Money reports.

Aerospace and cybersecurity are robust industries in Colorado Springs, and Colorado College is a top liberal arts school spurring more cultural offerings for residents, the magazine notes.

"Low crime, good schools, easy commutes, health care options, and increasing but still affordable home prices have earned Colorado Springs the top ease-of-living rank among our Best Cities," Money reports.

It singles out Old Colorado City as "one of the most eclectic neighborhoods," mixing Old West charm with modern amenities and affordable homes.

And our "sun-drenched" city also is known for athletic and outdoor activities. Olympic City USA is home to the U.S. Olympic Training Center and hundreds of miles of "stunning" hiking and biking trails.

We won't dispute those findings, but one correction must be made. Pikes Peak - aka America's Mountain - stands 14,115 feet high, not 14,000. Those who have climbed those final 115 feet above timberline know that all too well.

This isn't Money's first valentine to Colorado Springs. The magazine named it the No. 1 best place to live in America, period, in 2006, above Austin, Texas, New York City and San Diego. Its low housing costs and high education scores played a big part in that decision.

A year later, Money limited its "best places to live" to communities of 7,500 to 50,000 people.

Still, two No. 1 rankings from Money beat the fifth best place ranking bestowed on the city by U.S. News & World Report last March.

Thanks to Money, we're now defined as being on a par with Boston; Raleigh, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Arlington, Texas; and Portland, Ore.

As far as we're concerned, the magazine is right on the money.

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