Quality of Life: Working Where You Want To Live

Millennials are looking for all of the excitement and amenities found in large urban centers, but at a much lower cost and with the better overall quality of life found in mid-sized cities.


https://businessfacilities.com/2020/12/quality-of-life-working-where-you-want-to-live/
Millennials are looking for all of the excitement and amenities found in large urban centers, but at a much lower cost and with the better overall quality of life found in mid-sized cities.
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Quality of Life: Working Where You Want To Live

Millennials are looking for all of the excitement and amenities found in large urban centers, but at a much lower cost and with the better overall quality of life found in mid-sized cities.

Quality of Life: Working Where You Want To Live

By the BF Staff
From the November/December 2020 Issue

Businesses and economic development organizations are vying to attract Millennials, who (at least until the pandemic hit) have had their choice of jobs in cities all across the country, making it crucial for talent attraction strategies to understand how they assess new employment opportunities and relocation decisions.

Affordability is a key concern for Millennials, so cities with a lower cost of living have a leg up in the competition for this key workforce demographic. So EDOs are analyzing the price points that entice Millennials to make a move.

quality of life
(Photo: PASCO EDC)

A number of studies have found that Millennials have high expectations from their employer regarding work-life balance, career advancement, training and development, meaningful work and career satisfaction. Work-life balance can be defined in this context as a 24/7 work/live/play environment.

What all of the above means is that Millennials usually decide if they want to live where the job is located before they decide whether to accept the position. So quality of life is front-and-center in EDO talent attraction efforts.

Locations across the country increasingly are making their recreational and entertainment assets the leading players in their recruitment programs, sending the message to the most talented workers that when the work day ends in their towns, the fun is just beginning. Here are some examples of the locations that are doing it right.

BETTER QUALITY IN FORT LAUDERDALE, FL

Better quality employees demand a better quality of life. They find it in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Everyone knows the best and brightest employees can chose to live anywhere they want. More and more often they’re choosing a locale based on overall quality of life. Which is why the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County area is seeing top employees arrive in record numbers daily, eager to refresh, re-energize and work in an area which quite frankly feels more like a vacation, with a quality of life second to none, while working in great careers.

It’s no secret Greater Fort Lauderdale is world-famous for its seemingly endless miles of warm sandy beaches. Countless waterways and the Atlantic Ocean also offer endless opportunities for boating, diving, paddle boarding, jet skiing and many other water adventure activities. More than 40 golf courses, from exclusive clubs to premier municipal facilities to renowned resorts, entice residents to soak up some sun and play in the great outdoors—which is easy to do year-round since Greater Fort Lauderdale has an average temperature of 76 degrees. A vast, well-maintained system of dozens of parks also offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including tennis, aquatics and boat rides to horseback riding, skate parks, campgrounds and everything in between.

Beyond the obvious lure of year-round outdoor activities adding to quality of life, there are inviting residential options for everyone, offering a wide-range of living and lifestyle options, including downtown communities,

family-friendly suburban homes, LGBT-friendly neighborhoods, waterfront condominiums and expansive ranches. Many Greater Fort Lauderdale cities have been recognized nationally for their high quality of life, “family friendliness”, top schools, recreational programs and housing programs.

Fort Lauderdale was named one of the top 25 best places to live and as having one of the top 10 downtowns in the U.S. by Livability.com. The city was named one of the country’s “100 Best Places to Live and Launch a Business” by CNN Money and the “2nd Happiest City for Young Professionals in the U.S.” by Forbes. Weston and Lauderhill ranked in the top 15 best small cities to start a business by Verizon, while South Florida overall (Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach) ranked top 10 in the nation for women to start a business by Business.com. Families enjoy the Greater Fort Lauderdale area as well. Pembroke Pines, Tamarac and Sunrise were recognized by Business Week magazine as best places to raise children, while Cooper City was named “One of the Ten Best Towns for Families” by Family Circle. A number of polls and accolades reached the same conclusion: quality of life is outstanding in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.

Many who move to the region are also lured by the vibrancy of the arts, culture and music scene. Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to many world-class performance venues, museums and multi-cultural festivals and events. One such venue is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which houses several smaller theaters and is one of the nation’s most-visited theaters. It’s home to the nation’s largest arts-in-education program of its kind and hosts many famous travelling Broadway shows. Bailey Contemporary Arts, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, also help the arts thrive in this very multicultural area. The Museum of Discovery and Science is a family favorite, with an airboat simulator, an otter exhibit, an aviation exhibit and the AutoNation IMAX Theater, while the NSU Art Museum is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs in the visual arts.

Each year residents also enjoy hundreds of local cultural festivals, including the Winterfest Boat Parade, Las Olas Art Fair, the Seminole Tribal Fair & Pow Wow and Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride parade. The area is also home to two beachfront music festivals, Riptide—featuring alternative rock music, and Tortuga—featuring a blend of country, pop and rock music. The South Florida Symphony Orchestra brings world-class musicians and performances to the region, and the Symphony of the Americas brings the best of classical music blended with new Latin compositions to the multi-cultural population of South Florida.

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners also place great importance on local green initiatives. One outstanding example is the Greenways System—a county-wide network of safe, clean bicycle and equestrian paths, nature trails and waterways that connect each neighborhood, from the Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean to conservation lands, parks and recreation facilities, cultural and historic sites, schools and business areas. Another transportation initiative is Broward B-cycle, a bike-sharing service with multiple rental stations.

Shopping is a favorite area pastime with everything from neighborhood boutiques to mid-sized suburban malls to very large malls like Sawgrass Mills. Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale is a favorite location for outdoor dining, shopping and entertainment.

Greater Fort Lauderdale sports fans also have easy access to professional football, hockey, soccer, baseball and basketball. The Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale and in Miami, the Dolphins, Heat and Marlins, give fans plenty of opportunities to cheer on their favorite teams and get caught up in the action.

All things considered, from its sandy beaches and smooth golf greens, to its professional sports, top museums and outdoor family festivals, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers an unmatched and attractive quality of life.

Shopping, dining, greenspace and a variety of housing options in both urban and suburban locations add to the region’s appeal as a great place to live, work and play. It’s no wonder the best and brightest employees in the country are willing and eager to call Greater Fort Lauderdale home.

COASTAL PLACES AND OPEN SPACES IN GROTON, CT

In times of accelerating change, outstanding quality of life remains quintessential. The shoreline community of Groton, CT, offers amenities and advantages that seem more on-trend than ever: open spaces and recreational trails, a burgeoning farm-to-table and artisan food scene, an array of welcoming neighborhoods and some of the most affordable coastal living in southern New England.

quality of life
The shoreline community of Groton, CT offers some of the most affordable living in southern New England. (Photo: Town of Groton)

Groton’s quality of life complements ongoing job growth above and beyond an already impressive workforce: scientists and researchers from Pfizer’s Global R&D Center; engineers, welders and pipefitters at General Dynamics Electric Boat; and US Navy Submarine Base service-members and staff. The emerging marine technology industry also promises growing demand for marine and computer science engineers.

At the same time, many from nearby metro regions are choosing to work remotely in a community that’s quiet, affordable and immersed in nature. Groton offers bandwidth and the modern amenities needed along with immediate highway access and direct train service to Boston, Providence, New York City and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.

Bounded by rivers, shoreline and woods, Groton is situated between the historic shipbuilding communities of Mystic on the east and Groton Bank on the west. Like many New England towns, Groton is a patchwork of villages and hamlets, each with its own unique personality and charm.

The jewel of southeastern Connecticut is downtown Mystic. Characteristic of a historic New England village, Mystic offers a walkable entertainment district set among neighborhoods reminiscent of the area’s peak shipbuilding era.

Farther down the Mystic River is the village of Noank. This quaint community of historic homes and local businesses sits on a small, steep peninsula overlooking Fishers Island Sound. With a long tradition of fishing, lobstering and boat-building, Noank village is home to seaside lobster shacks and oyster aquaculture operations.

Dotted along the shoreline and throughout the forested uplands of Groton can be found many residential neighborhoods of varying sizes and styles. In addition, construction of modern apartments with cutting-edge amenities is currently underway with hundreds of new housing units in the pipeline.

Recreational opportunities abound in Groton. The town’s location on Fishers Island Sound offers beaches for swimming, sunbathing, volleyball and music concerts. Marinas and public put-ins encourage sport fishing, boating, sailing and kayaking. The Donald Ross-designed Shennecossett Golf Course, ranked as a Golfweek’s Top Ten Best, leverages its shoreline setting for spectacular views.

Groton’s Fields of Fire Aerial Adventure Park offers 50 acres of outdoor recreation for all ages and abilities. Fields of Fire began as a paintball park and today features custom-designed aerial courses, making it a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.

Groton is home to three Connecticut State Parks—Bluff Point State Park, Haley Farm State Park and Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park—attracting more than 425,000 visitors each year. The state parks are part of a town-wide network that includes 32 public coastal access points, 30 miles of recreational trails and 100 parks open for active recreation. Over 3,500 acres of open space are preserved in Groton, equaling 17 percent of the total land area.

When Julia Roberts’ breakout film, ‘Mystic Pizza’, hit theaters 30 years ago, fans flocked for a bite of that “Slice of Heaven” and a photo with the iconic sign. Today a full-fledged foodie destination, Mystic is the perfect alternative to the regional metro areas: readily accessible by car, train or boat, offering a relaxed vibe and breathtaking views. Seafood is harvested directly from local docks while local meat, cheese, beer, wine and pastries abound. This vibrant community attracts culinary talent which perpetuates innovation, excellence and a constant stream of visitors.

Dan Meiser operates the Oyster Club, the top farm- and sea-to-table restaurant in the region. Sharing the vision he had when Oyster Club opened eight years ago, Meiser notes that in Mystic he has “access to not only world-class farms and fishing communities, but world class artisans, chefs, brewers and bakers.”

Food Network crowned Adam Young the Best Baker in America just as Young was expanding operations in downtown Mystic. Young’s Sift Bake Shop produces thousands of croissants and French macarons daily, while nearby Young Buns Doughnuts routinely generates lines of customers out the door. Mix, a rooftop small plate and artisan cocktail bar rounds out the offerings. Young shares, “Our goal is to provide a luxury experience for everyone and not just for those who can afford upscale dining.”

In Noank, Ford’s Lobster is open year-round and serves all types of local seafood, but their claim to fame will always be their namesake lobster. Nearby Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough and Costello’s Seafood are packed May-October as families return generation after generation.

Beer’d Brewing and Mystic Cheese Company recently opened in a shared site near the Groton-New London Airport. Aaren Simoncini of Beer’d Brewing says the two-hour wait on opening day validated his decision to expand into Groton near a beer-loving population, noting, “beer and cheese is a match made in heaven.” Other craft breweries in Groton include Outer Light Brewing Company and Barley Head Brewing.

Groton’s dynamic shipbuilding tradition put it on the map, but the town retains its seaside charm and connection to the surrounding farms and forests. More about the advantages of living, working and growing a business in Groton can be found at https://www.exploremoregroton.com/.

HERNANDO COUNTY, FL: GREAT PLACE TO START AND STAY

Hernando County, on the west coast of Florida in the highly regarded Tampa Bay Region, welcomes you with the perfect blend of business relocation, expansion and fulfilling/enriching lifestyle opportunities. Availability, affordability, accessibility and community, that’s what it’s all about.

The Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport & Technology Center (BKV) provides an abundance of opportunity just 40 minutes north of Tampa International Airport. Perfect for aviation-related businesses, the airport features a 7,000ft ILS equipment primary runway (with plans to expand to 8,000ft), an air traffic control tower, airside parcels and CSX rail access sites with sidings in place. The Technology Center is a premier business location and the epicenter of economic development in Hernando County. The BKV Tech Center is a 2,400-acre, master planned facility with features that include available manufacturing buildings, 1,000+ acres of land for development, sites with direct airside access and a Duke Energy Site Ready 285-acre parcel with infrastructure in place. With access to more than 300,000 workers within a 30-minute drive, a technical high school and adult education center just across the street, you can see why it is home to successful businesses such as Airdyne Aerospace, Pem-Air Turbine Engine Services, American Aviation Flight Academy, Accuform, Barrette Outdoor Living and Micro-Matic USA to name just a few.

On the east side of the county, just one mile from Interstate 75 and 40 miles from the Florida Turnpike, several hundred acres are ready for development. Situated on either side of a 1.5Msf Wal-Mart Distribution Center, these two sites are prime for manufacturing or logistics.

Accessibility and transportation are key to your business and with five major highways crisscrossing Hernando County, shipping and receiving is a breeze. North-south routes include Interstate 75, U.S. 19, the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41. The latter two run adjacent to the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport and Technology Center, providing a two-stop light connection to Tampa International Airport. I-75 is east of Brooksville and connects via the major east-west artery, State Road 50.

A business-friendly community, Hernando County is committed to growing industry. The County has invested in the BKV Tech Center by providing infrastructure-ready sites for your business expansion needs. Road, water and sewer are available throughout the park; drainage and water retention are master-planned, affording significant construction savings. By combining State of Florida incentives, workforce training programs and its Rapid Response Permitting Program, Hernando County is the ideal place for business to thrive.

Building the pipeline for your future workforce needs is a top priority in Hernando County and throughout the Tampa Bay Region. Its relationships with the local school system and post-secondary institutions help to influence curriculum and workforce training programs to suit your specific business requirements. Partnerships with Pasco-Hernando State College, St. Leo University, University of South Florida, University of Florida and University of Central Florida, along with a robust technical high school and adult education institutions like SunCoast Technical Education Center ensures access to any business expertise you may require as well as a pool of well-trained and motivated employees.

“All work and no play makes…” for an impossibility in Hernando County. Recreational activities are so abundant and varied, it is no wonder Hernando is known as Florida’s Adventure Coast. Your employees and business associates will melt at the picture-perfect sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, where the Hernando County coast will lure them to some of the best fishing, scalloping and shallow water boating in west central Florida. Inland, they will enjoy playing on championship golf courses and kayaking on a matrix of rivers. You may enjoy hiking, biking and horseback riding on some of Florida’s top-rated trails that meander through forests and nature preserves. For the more adventurous, spend the day in the trees and zip-line at FLG X Extreme Adventure Course or visit Croom Motorcycle Area and ride your ATV at this world-class compound. Find out why the Croom Motorcycle Area was once named “One of the 10 Coolest Places you’ve never heard of” by the World Wildlife Fund.

The metro markets of Tampa and Orlando are only a short drive away and residents in Hernando County have access to a wide range of professional sports venues, concert halls, cultural and fine arts and some of the top-ranked beaches in the United States. Residents here enjoy big-city conveniences while living in an active suburban community where the cost of living consistently ranks lowest of Tampa Bay’s seven county region.

With a reputation as the most affordable county in the Tampa Bay Region and offering lifestyle choices from beaches to country clubs to ranches to historic homes, Hernando County has something for everyone. These assets, combined with its business-friendly government, available land and abundant and well-trained workforce, make Hernando County a natural choice for business relocation and expansion.

BARRE, VT: COUNTRY COSMOPOLITAN

The state of Vermont is one of the most picturesque in the country. The small New England state’s name translates to the “Green Mountain State”, although throughout the year there is an abundance of color as spring turns to summer and fall turns into winter. For generations, Vermont has been a destination for tourists, families and industry alike. Migration from urban life to the pristine Vermont landscape is nothing new. However, the word is getting out and the state has seen an influx of new and returning residents in recent memory. Vermont’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is widely considered to be a model in the United States, has brought new attention to the region in 2020. This new normal has many looking to the Green Mountain State to make a better life. People—particularly younger families who are raising kids—are moving to Vermont from metropolitan areas like Boston, New York City and Philadelphia.

Located in Central Vermont, Barre is one of the state’s most cosmopolitan communities, surrounded by rolling hills, bucolic farms and wilderness that attract tourists to high quality cultural, entertainment and outdoor recreational experiences. The Granite Capital of the World is home to unique museums, diverse restaurants, vibrant visual and performing arts and one of the Top 10 mountain biking trail systems in New England. The character and architectural quality of the downtown National Register Commercial District make an important contribution to the city’s sense of identity and play a unique role in economic development. A lively entertainment, cultural and shopping district, the vibrant Downtown also appeals to people wanting to live in the hustle and bustle of a true walkable downtown. A host of entertainment and recreation options are available when it’s time to relax.

But why would you want to live in Vermont? Because it is considered one of the best places to live in the United States: #1 – Best Place to Live in America, CNBC (2018); #5 – Best States 2019, U.S. News (2019); #3 – The 10 States with the Best Quality of Life, USA Today (2014).

Not only is Barre a great place to live and play, but it’s also a great place to do business. It is in the second largest labor market in a state with a highly skilled workforce with the 5th most workers with a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. Barre is very welcoming to businesses big and small, new and established with one of the most vibrant business climates in Vermont. Smart business owners are realizing the tremendous value of doing business in Barre, and that means there are a wide variety of jobs available in the area. The support network for businesses in Barre is also quite substantial. Organizations such as Barre Area Development and Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation partner with the State of Vermont, with the Vermont Economic Development Authority and commercial lenders, commercial real estate brokers and technical assistance providers to provide the necessary support to existing businesses and new ones to ensure that their capital, facility, workforce and permitting needs are met.

During the past 10 years there has been more than $110 million of capital investment in the Barre Area. Private investment includes more than $32 million in Barre City, including City Place, a new 80,000-square-foot office building; the historic Blanchard Block (completed in 1905), 40,000 square feet of office and commercial space; the Miles Block (1898), storefronts, apartments and office space; the Aldrich Building (1910), offices, apartments and restaurant; and the Barre Fire Station (1904), former city firehouse renovated into a restaurant, lounge and overnight accommodation. The total investment has stimulated a revitalized downtown and resulted in many other buildings being renovated and restaurants established. In Barre Town, investments totaled $38 million, including building acquisition, construction and fit-ups in the Wilson Industrial Park that include the $23 million expansion of Vermont Creamery, new housing development and other projects.

Over $28 million in Public investments in Barre City and Barre Town include new public infrastructure in downtown Barre, including streetlights, parking, pedestrian amenities as well as investments in storm water control, water and wastewater improvements and recreation.

Another $15 million in building investments by non-profit institutions to serve the Barre Area Community.

Visit www.barrevt.com to see why people of all walks of life have been calling Barre and Vermont their new home or place of business.

PICTURE YOURSELF IN BEDFORD COUNTY, VA

If you are seeking a gorgeous, community-minded location for your business and employees to thrive, it is smart to look first at Bedford County. With a population of less than 100,000, and a cooperative private and public sector that comes together to create a welcoming community and low cost for doing business, you’ll discover why businesses love Bedford County.

Bedford County is a community with a diverse local economy, from nuclear engineering to advanced conveyor and robotics technologies that impact the world. It offers a proactive economic development program that provides support to existing and future businesses.

Here’s some of the top reasons we’ve heard why businesses have selected Bedford County.

Outdoor adventures. Bedford County was named Top Adventure Town in 2020 by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine and it’s easy to see why. From the 500 miles of shoreline at Smith Mountain Lake, to the breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter, you will always have exhilarating experiences to enjoy. Several 18-hole golf courses are located across the county, as well as five disc golf courses—two of which were designed by five-time World Disc Golf Champion, Paul McBeth, who chose to make this his home. Hikers have miles of trails, including the Appalachian Trail that runs through the County. Mountain bikers of all experience levels have dozens of county-maintained, winding trails to explore. Additionally, Bedford has incredible historic sites, such as Thomas Jefferson’s retreat home, Poplar Forest, and the National D-Day Memorial that brings in thousands of visitors to pay respect to the town that lost more men per capita than any other place in America.

EDA-owned business parks. The Economic Development Authority (EDA) owns three business parks that offer unique amenities and incentives for prospective companies. The gorgeous mountain views in the Montvale Center for Commerce have attracted four companies so far, and the EDA has plans to grade the remaining lots. The park which is located just 15 minutes to I-81 that runs north and south, features underground utilities.

The Bedford Center for Business is located in the heart of Bedford. The Bedford Center is fully served with public water, sewer, broadband, streetlights and a community college that can assist with your workforce training needs. The New London Business and Technology Center is a 500-acre Virginia Technology Zone development that combines modern day technology with environmentally friendly sites. With seven miles of new walking/running/biking trails and a championship disc golf course that weaves throughout, there’s a real “campus feel” to the park. The EDA recently cleared or graded several lots, and built a striking 40,000-square-foot speculative shell building for an advanced manufacturing company to build out to their liking. The New London park is also home to Liberty University’s Center for Engineering Research and Education—a knowledge-based R&D hub for the region—and three technical manufacturing companies that have located there.

Robust incentives. Bedford County offers new or expanding companies financial assistance associated with a start-up, relocation or expansion project. From cash grants and machinery and tools rebates, to reduced pricing and assistance with new site expenses, the county offers a variety of incentives to help make it easier for companies to reduce overhead.

Automation manufacturing. Bedford is well-known across America for its incredible concentration of conveyor and automation companies and talent per capita. This has spurred a large number of fabrication and machining firms to co-locate to Bedford County to assist automation and conveyor system firms, as well as other industries such as nuclear energy, wireless communications, advanced lighting technologies and non-destructive testing and inspection firms.

Quality of Living. National data reveals that Bedford’s cost of living is 15.9 percent lower than the national average, and the average home cost in Bedford County is less than $240,000. Whether you are looking for rural living, loft style living or single family “big yard” suburban living, you’ll find it throughout the county. It also has award-winning breweries owned by friends and neighbors, and a variety of restaurants, retail centers and entertainment options to enjoy.

Proximity to Colleges & Universities. Bedford County is 10 minutes from the fastest growing University in America, Liberty University, and is ideally situated between two metro areas—Lynchburg and Roanoke—allowing businesses to draw on a wide workforce of more than 500,000, with more than 10 percent employed in manufacturing. With five colleges and universities and one technical school located in the region, the specialized programs offered create a talent pipeline for local companies.

CLAREMONT, NH: A PLACE TO GROW

Hike, bike, canoe, fish, ski and golf…life doesn’t begin and end with the workday. Opportunities abound for passive or active recreation in Claremont. Launch your canoe from the boat launch on the Connecticut River, or take a leisurely hike on the miles of hiking trails in the city park system. Volunteer-run Arrowhead Recreation Area offers skiing and tubing as well as snowboarding. The Monadnock sports complex is easily accessible for runners of all ages and talents. Claremont Country Club provides a nice setting with a challenging nine-hole course that is open to the public seven days a week during season. You might finish your day with an evening at the legendary 1897 Opera House, one of the best examples of Italian Renaissance architecture in New Hampshire. Or just find a quiet spot on the Sugar River and drop your line in the water. A quality of life, second to none, can be found here in Claremont.

Nestled in the Connecticut River Valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Claremont is emerging as a hub of manufacturing and a flourishing arts district. Abundant land, low prices, a good transportation network and a strong infrastructure system have made Claremont a true land of opportunity for companies looking to locate or expand in New Hampshire.

Syd Clarke Park offers commercial/ industrial lots with water, sewer, power and fiber optic cable hookups. Ashley’s Landing Business Park, located in a picturesque setting along the Connecticut River, also offers ample business space. Both parks are located within an Economic Reinvestment Zone as well as an Opportunity Zone.

The Claremont City Council recently approved a $4.6 million bond to create a more pedestrian friendly, walkable Downtown. Slated for renovations beginning in the Spring of 2021, the plan includes widening sidewalks to allow for more outdoor dining, benches and landscaping. The now two-way thorough-fare will be changed to one way in order to slow down traffic, again making the area more pedestrian-centric. Residents, business-owners and building owners in Claremont were part of each design step of this new downtown model.

The Claremont MakerSpace (CMS) is a major addition to downtown Claremont. CMS is a coworking space, education center, creative hub and business incubator. CMS offers affordable access to a variety of specialty equipment and educational resources to help members put shape to their ideas, develop new skills, learn new crafts and launch businesses. Technology, arts, machinery and classroom facilities are located on the premises. The MakerSpace will be used for personal development as well as the promotion of business and workforce development through educational offerings, hands-on classes and activities, and active collaboration across multiple crafts, trades and professions. The Space is also a home and incubator for local hobbyists, artisans and small businesses seeking to promote their efforts and those of their community.

Construction will begin next Spring on another incredible adaptive reuse project in Claremont’s Historic Mill District. The Peterson Mill, a long vacant mill building, will be transformed into 85 market-rate apartments by Chinburg Properties. The Peterson Mill is just around the corner from the Claremont MakerSpace, down the street from Red River Technology and the Common Man Restaurant and Inn—all renovated mill projects.

West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts will begin construction in the Summer on a state of the art, performance studio, recording studio, practice space, gallery and all-around space for a growing creative community, a fully outfitted performance venue that can seat more than 100 people, classroom spaces for music and arts education, event and meeting rental spaces, visual arts exhibition space and a commercial kitchen.

While the end-product has changed over the years, Claremont continues to be the center of creativity for professionals of all ages. Claremont, NH, as well as Sullivan and Grafton Counties, are federally designated HUBZones.

PEORIA, AZ: RICH IN AMENITIES

Featured in Money Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and more, Peoria has earned a reputation for an amenity-rich quality of life. In conjunction with its world-class, sustainable, future-ready economic vision, Peoria is the place to live, work and play.

Peoria has been nationally recognized for its high performing school district and award-winning infrastructure, sustainability programs, parks and public safety. The P83 Entertainment District, Peoria Sports Complex and historic downtown areas have top-notch shopping, chef-driven restaurants, entertainment and thriving arts scenes.

Peoria’s economic growth is skyrocketing with recent developments. Valleywise Health, a state-of-the-art hospital, opened their doors this year in Peoria. Taronis Technology expanded to include a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Peoria. Bell Bank opened a new location in Peoria and TYR Tactical, an advanced military gear manufacturing facility, recently broke ground on an expansion alongside their headquarters in southern Peoria.

Additionally, the game-changing, innovative Stadium Point project in the P83 Entertainment District area is in motion and will be coming soon.

With an outstanding quality of life, a professional economic development team, pro-business city leadership and room to grow, Peoria, Arizona is the place for business and development.

SMALLER IS BETTER IN ROWAN COUNTY, NC

Companies seeking a quality of life for their employees that offers a rewarding lifestyle with lower risk, can find both in North Carolina’s Rowan County. Part of the Charlotte metro region, it’s a place where you can find both the advantages of quiet, open spaces and bustling downtown.

Rowan County is the kinda’ country, kinda’ cool place that people crave to be a part of. One part is engaging countryside with rolling landscapes, parks, lakes, wineries and outdoor recreation options. The other is faster paced—offering urban centers with access to fine arts, foodie hot spots, shopping and higher education institutions. As interest in living and working in less dense areas grows, it truly is the personification of smaller is better.

Residents of Rowan, or “Rowan Originals” as they are so dubbed, each adore something different about Rowan County. Jessica Ijames, Manager/Social Responsibility with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center and lifelong resident says, “Rowan County is a great place to live! The boutique shops, excellent restaurants and proximity to the mountains and beach are some of my favorite things about living and working in Rowan County.”

Elaine Spalding, President of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce, relocated to Rowan County with her husband seven years ago from Paducah, Kentucky. “We LOVE it!” she pronounces. Her favorites in Rowan County include: “The business community, the arts-friendly community—my husband is an artist; the outdoors—hiking and kayaking in the beautiful natural spaces; arts and culture; four higher ed institutions.” She pauses and then says with great emphasis: “We just think that Rowan County is the best place in the world to be.”

There are also a great variety of living choices in Rowan County. Among its communities, you will find housing that includes historic, older homes, downtown lofts, country residences with acreage and new housing available in one of five new developments being planned. Rowan County housing is also a great value, with average prices at 25 percent below the national average.

Outstanding healthcare is available from Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Atrium Health and the Hefner VA Medical Center.

Yes, Rowan County abounds with opportunities and amenities, no matter what you are seeking. It is even home to the second largest lake in North Carolina, High Rock Lake, which offers endless leisurely or adrenaline rushing activities.

One of the reasons that Rowan County is so appealing to businesses and residents alike is that it places a high priority on education, offering a mix of excellent public and private schools that help keep the talent pipeline flowing from early childhood development centers and elementary schooling to top-ranked higher education institutions.

The Rowan-Salisbury School System hosts 19,000 students and has the honor of being ranked “Top 10” for pioneering uses of technology nationally. This use of technology meant that when the pandemic hit, the school system was already prepared with all the resources needed to transition to remote learning. And as the first community in the nation to offer 10 gigabit internet speeds, Rowan County can provide the technology needed to learn or work remotely.

Continuing education and higher educational opportunities are available from Rowan County’s four colleges—Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (RCCC), Catawba College, Livingstone College and Hood Theological Seminary—which are home to over 20,000 students.

Not only does Rowan provide a good quality of life for its residents, but it’s also good for businesses. It was selected as one of WalletHub.com’s Best Small Cities to Start a Business. That accolade was shortly followed by a surge in new employers coming to Rowan in manufacturing and fulfillment centers, including Chewy.com. And a newly launched public-private partnership called “Forward Rowan” will accelerate the growth of job opportunities in the area.

Rowan’s strategic location is part of its appeal to both businesses and residents. Located on Interstate 85, 35 miles from Charlotte and Winston-Salem, Salisbury is one day’s travel time to any major city on the east coast. It is the approximate halfway point between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, GA.

The City of Salisbury is Rowan’s county seat and is home to a vibrant downtown area with unique shopping, cultural attractions, historical landmarks, breweries and local owned restaurants that range from casual to fine-dining. The community recently raised $12 million to develop the new downtown Bell Tower Green park, a three-acre green space haven where the community will come together to celebrate, connect and engage.

Rowan County has also seen new growth in restaurants, hotels and housing developments. All of this combined with its $166 million tourism industry make it a hot spot of economic growth, despite the challenges that 2020 has presented.

All of this adds up to an advantageous environment for those looking to relocate to a less populated area to escape the overwhelming circumstances of COVID-19.

Rowan County offers more than just an excellent business location, a diverse range of growing businesses and technological advancement. Here, you’ll also find a better balance between your work and personal lives. It’s home to open spaces and a dynamic arts community, where life includes a historic cultural center and the flavorful charm of quaint local communities with convenient access to the energy and amenities of multiple major metro areas.

For those looking for a business location that is competitive and that offers lower risk and a fulfilling lifestyle, Rowan County could be your next beloved place to call home.

WORK AND LIFE IN BALANCE IN SIERRA VISTA, AZ

Finding a natural work-life balance is easy in Sierra Vista, AZ. Sierra Vista offers the perfect balance of intelligent leadership, an affordable cost of living and a laid-back lifestyle. Whether you’re embarking on a new telecommuting life chapter, launching your own business or aiming for retirement, Sierra Vista offers an extraordinary lifestyle and uncommon opportunity.

A right-sized community of about 45,000, but serving a population four times greater, Sierra Vista has everything you need: big city amenities in a safe community, educational opportunities and an outdoor lifestyle.

Long known as a world destination for bird watching, Sierra Vista is quickly gaining notoriety for other outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and road cycling. Located in the foothills of the soaring Huachuca Mountains, residents can hit a mountain trail in minutes from their front doors. With nearly 300 days of sunshine and a temperate year-round climate, heading outdoors is only natural.

But outdoor activities are only part of Sierra Vista’s appeal. Residents also enjoy music and theater performances, its own symphony orchestra, art shows and galleries and many festivals and events—from athletic competition to food festivals, cultural celebrations to educational lectures.

Sierra Vista is positioned between Arizona’s two largest wine grape-growing regions. Nearly three dozen wineries and tasting rooms are within a two-hour drive, offering silver and gold medal-winning vintages, tours and tastings.

A robust commercial hub with diverse retail chains and small businesses round out the shopping landscape. A wide variety of restaurants are available, from well-known national chains to numerous independent dining establishments, including a surprising variety of upscale and international choices.

Sierra Vista is home to Fort Huachuca, the largest military installation in the state and the Army’s military intelligence and network enterprise command headquarters. Some of the brightest minds in the nation call Sierra Vista home, thanks to the tech-forward missions at Fort Huachuca and the attractive quality of life that makes separating soldiers and contractors stay in this southeastern Arizona community.

The average commute for Sierra Vistans is just 16 minutes, and Interstate 10 is an easy 28-mile drive. Nearby communities—like historic Tombstone and quirky Bisbee—are less than 30 minutes away and add to the richness of the Sierra Vista lifestyle. Tucson International Airport is just over an hour’s drive.

Sierra Vistans enjoy a lower cost of living than the state and national average, with the price of an average home at around $160,000, and a median household income at nearly $64,000—higher than the state’s average and nearly on par with the nation’s. Sierra Vista’s crime rate is below state and national averages, just one reason that the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live and work. It has been named one of the top 10 places in Arizona for young families, one of the best cities for telecommuting, one of the best places in the West to retire and one of the top five places in Arizona to live.

Healthcare services available in Sierra Vista include a newer, state-of-the-art hospital as well as multi-specialty physician groups, several extended care and assisted living facilities and numerous independent physicians.

Rich in educational opportunities, Sierra Vista offers a variety of public, charter and private schools. The public high school provides a high quality and meaningful education experience, with a graduation rate higher than the national average. The high school is part of the Cochise Joint Technical Education District, offering career and technical education programs such as marketing, culinary arts, sports medicine and engineering. Higher education opportunities include Cochise College, ranked the second-best community college in the nation, University of Arizona—College of Applied Science and Technology and Wayland Baptist University.

Cochise College’s cybersecurity program launched in mid-2020 and trains students using a cutting-edge data center modeled on military standards. Highly trained graduates complete the program with a Security + certificate and are ready to join the workforce or transfer into the U of A CAST’s cyber security program, located adjacent to Cochise College.

The U of A CAST curriculum includes both offensive and defensive cyber security training using a state-of-the-art learning environment that meets the most demanding academic and technical requirements. The cyber operations program is designated as a Center of Academic Excellence by the National Security Agency, one of only 20 in the nation, and its intelligence education program is approved by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Cochise College is also leading the nation with its latest certificate program: Virtual Reality Technologist, a program that was designed, and is being led, by a V/R developer who was recruited from a leading Department of Defense contractor.

Sierra Vista, founded in 1956, spread from the gates of Fort Huachuca, which was established in 1877, and the two have been intertwined from the start. For more than a century, thousands of soldiers have made this Arizona post their home before deploying to other parts of the world, only to return with a broader understanding of, and affinity for, world cultures. That global experience is mirrored in Sierra Vista’s demographic make-up, which is more diverse than sprawling Phoenix or Los Angeles.

TUCSON, AZ: VIBRANT AND GROWING

In Tucson, AZ, the deal to build the city’s second tallest building—a mix of retail, office and residential space—didn’t close years ago or in the early months of 2020. The deal was completed in September, during the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This victory illustrates a palpable confidence in Tucson’s future, also shared by Moody’s Analytics, which named Tucson as one of the “Top 10 Cities Best Positioned to Recover From Coronavirus.” In July, the Site Selectors Guild saw promise in Tucson and ranked the city one of the top 11 mid-sized cities for relocation and expansion.

Pre-pandemic, Tucson saw a great migration of big organizations to its doorstep in recent years. Corporations, including Amazon, Target and Home Goods, opened distribution centers. Caterpillar moved its Surface, Mining and Technology division headquarters to downtown. GEICO built a new office, creating 700 new positions. Southern New Hampshire University opened a new Southwest Options Center.

Mid-pandemic, Tucson’s appeal is capturing the attention of corporate leaders in several industries. Last month, Joey Rodolfo, co-founder of Wow Studios, a luxury technical sportswear company, announced the move of his Seattle-based headquarters to Tucson, saying the city “… is business-friendly and offers incredible partnership opportunities.”

In September, Nanomoneo, a biotechnology instrument company, selected the University of Arizona Center for Innovation for its new applied research operation. The president of Nanomoneo said Tucson was selected after a competitive process “… because of the technical infrastructure, services available to early-stage companies, reasonable regulatory environment and social stability.”

Also in September, Sandvik Materials Technology, a developer and manufacturer of advanced stainless steels and special alloys, announced plans to expand its operations of precision medical wire and wire-based components to Tucson. Sandvik, based in Stockholm, has only one other U.S. location, located in Palm Coast, Florida. The company praised Tucson for its “superior technical workforce.”

Tucson business leaders have continued growth and expansion efforts throughout this year as well.

Tucson International Airport recently broke ground on the largest construction project in the airport’s history. The $300 million airfield safety enhancement project will include a new runway and aircraft taxiways, a new emergency aircraft landing arrestor cable system and sound insulation in some area homes.

In downtown Tucson, economic development hasn’t slowed during the pandemic. Rio Nuevo, the tax increment finance district that drives urban investment, has “advanced about $350 million of new construction.” Chairman Fletcher McCusker said in a recent edition of BizTucson, “… much of it (is) financed by out-of-town lenders who express real optimism about Tucson’s future.”

In anticipation of new residents and visitors, hotel and apartment buildings have continued to rise during the pandemic. A DoubleTree by Hilton is being built next to the Tucson Convention Center. New Hampton Inn and Home2 Suites facilities going up will offer 200 rooms. And a new Marriott Design Hotel opened in July, well before other hotels re-opened. In August, more than 1,700 housing units were under construction in Tucson, with another 1,342 in the planning stages.

The city’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub, Startup Tucson, has laid plans for continued expansion. Startup Tucson launched its Remote Tucson program this fall to lure remote workers from other locales to the city. Startup CEO Liz Pocock told BizTucson, “Even before COVID, Tucson was being recognized nationally as an up-and-coming hot spot for those looking for a different quality of life and lower cost of living than available in large metros like Silicon Valley.” Startup Tucson also published an Ecosystem Guide, highlighting the organizations and groups that support the growth of small businesses and startups.

Tucson’s startup incubator network, The University of Arizona Center for Innovation (UACI), has seen successful outcomes during the pandemic. Eric Smith, executive director of UACI, told BizTucson startup activity did not stop. “Across the nation, incubators saw 40 to 60 percent of their startups go out of business, but we have not lost one to date here at the UA Center for Innovation.”

Small businesses in Tucson got a boost from the City, which authorized the distribution of $2 million in grant money in July with subsequent rounds of funding authorized again in September. Through the We Are One | Somos Resiliency Fund, the program aims to help small, local businesses with continuity grants up to $10,000. In April, the City authorized $1 million to fund small business loans at 0 percent interest to help them through the pandemic.

For businesses and their customers, the health department in Pima County—where Tucson resides—launched a media campaign in July to help navigate re-opening safely. The program, called “Ready for You” helps businesses attest to following special COVID-19 operating rules to slow the spread of the virus. Businesses are then given “Ready for You” marketing materials, including stickers and posters.

The stickers and posters, now adorning many Tucson business windows, look like blue award ribbons. They are a perfect symbol for a city well poised to recover from the pandemic and forge ahead.

AVONDALE, AZ: ENDLESS CHOICES

Avondale, AZ is a fast-developing suburb in Metro Phoenix and boasts endless choices for sports and outdoor enthusiasts, as well as an eclectic mix of shopping options for the region’s residents. Avondale offers a full spectrum of housing options to support its burgeoning growth and a rapidly expanding economy.

Avondale is a world-class sports destination anchored by Phoenix Raceway, and host to the 2020 and 2021 NASCAR Championship Cup. Visitors and residents enjoy convenient access to all four of the Valley’s professional sports arenas, with NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL teams within a 30-minute drive. The Valley’s Cactus League spring training attracts MLB fans from all over the country. Avondale is located near many of these facilities, including those for the 2020 World Series Champions, Los Angeles Dodgers. Golfers enjoy over 300 days of sunshine and proximity to various course options, such as the Wigwam Golf Resort, Verrado Golf Club, the Golf Club of Estrella and Avondale’s own Coldwater Springs Golf Club.

The BLVD, Phoenix Metro’s newest mixed-use development, is segmented into districts to encourage a retail, restaurant, entertainment, hospitality and residential mix. The Park Avenue District, the nucleus of The BLVD, will feature retail, entertainment and placemaking amenities, including multiple water features and a pristine pedestrian lake. This district will be surrounded by other districts that will contain office, hotel, retail and residential uses.

The American Sports Center (ASC) is Arizona’s largest indoor multi-sports facility and is centrally located within The BLVD. More than a half million visitors and athletes from around the country come to the facility to participate in basketball, volleyball and soccer tournaments each year. Hilton, Marriott and MyPlace hotels support the ASC and business travelers with over 411 rooms within walking distance of the facility, and more rooms will be added with the addition of Avid Hotels in 2021. Coffee aficionados will patronize Dutch Bros Coffee, which is locating in this high-impact district. Those looking to live within walking distance of The BLVD will be able to do so with 541 units planned at the Village at The BLVD and Avari Apartments, and more single-family homes on the horizon.

Avondale provides a broad spectrum of housing options to its 86,000 residents, and its modern multi-family, historic neighborhoods and premier master-planned communities fit everyone’s lifestyle. To keep pace with its rapidly growing population, Avondale has over 9,500 units planned to be delivered in the near future. Alamar, the City’s newest master planned community, offers dozens of parks and hiking trails across its 1,130 acres and will offer 3,695 homes at full buildout. Those looking for a new build that offers a prime location, thoughtful community designs and premier amenities have several options between Mattamy’s gated Roosevelt Park, Marbella Park by KB Home, Val Vista Verde by Richmond America and Del Rio Ranch by Beazer Homes. With its young-family demographic, Avondale’s entertainment and family activity bucket list is endless. Main Event Entertainment, Harkins Theatre and The Room Escape Games, provide the perfect option to cap off a date or family night, while Board and Brush can satisfy a creative outlet with the make-and-take craze.

Those seeking outdoor adventure have several options to explore paths less traveled. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to do in the city’s many parks. The recent $19M renovation of Festival Fields Park and newly added splashpad, dog park and playground amenities to Friendship Park, bring out residents in droves. Hikers and naturalists appreciate quick accessibility to regional parks like Estrella Mountain Regional Park that encompasses over 20,000 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert. Tres Rios Base and Meridian Wildlife Area is an ideal area to experience wildlife in their natural habitat. Birdwatchers, paddleboarders and outdoor enthusiasts gather annually to celebrate the Tres Rios Festival. Monument Hill, a historic landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, marks the original land survey point in the State, and also offers a unique perch to view the Phoenix Raceway track.

As the City’s original downtown, Historic Avondale is lined with dozens of quaint, locally owned businesses. Touted as the Best Burger in Arizona by BuzzFeed and Yelp, Laura’s Burgers is always a popular spot. Those seeking an authentic Mexican dining experience have several opportunities to sample the best chips & salsa, burritos and tacos. No trip to Historic Avondale is complete without a visit to a panaderia, to sample local Mexican favorites like savory empanadas and paletas. Sprinkled between these uniquely Avondale establishments are vibrant street art and murals that only add to the area’s charm.

Discover all Avondale has to offer by visiting AvondaleEDGE.com and contact the Avondale EDGE team today for your business expansion needs.

UNBEATABLE QUALITY OF LIFE IN HENDERSON, NV

It’s an exciting time for Henderson, NV, with significant business development activity taking place all throughout the city. The community’s allure as a pro-business destination is just the beginning of the advantages companies will experience when they choose Henderson for expansion or relocation. Whether it’s flight from the high regulations and costly tax environments of California, or the need to set up a west coast presence, Henderson is seeing exponential growth and it’s only the beginning of success to come.

In addition to being one of the easiest places to do business nationally, Henderson boasts a highly-skilled workforce, low cost labor pool, strong education pipeline, incredible connectivity and low cost of living. But did you know Henderson attracts company decision-makers and leadership due to its unbeatable quality of life? It’s truly a work, live and play location for business leaders and company employees, offering experiences and amenities to recharge and reinvigorate, creating an energetic workforce to maximize engagement throughout the work week.

While Henderson is just 15 minutes from the famous Las Vegas Strip and all the dynamic experiences it has to offer, the two cities are worlds apart. Company leaders note that Henderson is a progressive city with traditional values, where singles, couples and families alike can find entertainment, dining, education and recreation that makes Henderson feel like home. It’s a comfortable, welcoming place, with energy and excitement in the city and throughout the region.

Despite Henderson’s phenomenal growth over the past two decades and its emergence as a center for business in the Las Vegas Valley, Henderson has maintained its hometown feel and according to survey results, the majority of residents believe Henderson’s high quality of life has been maintained or even improved due to growth and recently, Money Magazine named Henderson as one of “America’s Safest Cities” in a nationwide study.

Part of the city’s hometown charm can be found in an area of Henderson that is evolving and growing every day. The Water Street District is on the move and becoming the destination for dining, shopping and entertainment. Surrounded by unique architecture and facades, these quaint, walkable blocks evoke an authentic small-town feel coupled with some really big-city amenities. The Water Street District brings together everything from arts and performances to parades and civic activities.

The cost of living in Henderson is a refreshing departure from high-cost locations on the west coast and beyond. In addition to residents having more buying power, the quality of communities and residential areas is second to none. Beautiful landscaping, outdoor experiences, hiking and biking trails, water recreation and golf courses are just the beginning for company leaders and their employees when they call Henderson home. Just like the city is known for its successful business development results, it is renowned for its exceptional master-planned, residential areas. As one of the nation’s most dynamic communities, the city of Henderson has distinguished itself as a place where residents want to live, work and play. Regardless of which area you settle within, every community is a short commute away from the city’s business centers, including offices, business parks and industrial parks.

Henderson is Nevada’s leader in education. Public and private education institutions in the city provide excellent opportunities to meet the needs of businesses and residents alike as part of the Clark County School District. Henderson’s K-12 schools consistently outrank all other Nevada schools for achievement, preparing students for successful careers, according to research experts at Applied Analysis.

When it comes to talent pipeline creation, Henderson delivers with several public and private colleges and universities. Nevada State College at Henderson, College of Southern Nevada, Touro University and Roseman University of Health Sciences are higher-education stand-outs and work with businesses to ensure the workforce of the future is being created today.

Did you know that the City of Henderson boasts more parks and recreation facilities per capita than any other community in the region? It’s true. Their award-winning parks and recreation program is committed to providing residents with life-enriching classes, workshops and events. The city has 64 parks covering more than a 1,306 acres, including 105 athletic fields, 64 tennis courts, 10 swimming pools and 124 miles of trails within the city.

Henderson has quickly become a golfing haven and is home to some of the most exciting courses in the Southwest. Thirteen public and private golf courses provide a full range of challenges that, when combined with comfortable year-round temperatures and the beautiful natural desert landscape, produce a heavenly place to tee up and spend the day on the links.

QUALITY OF LIFE IN CAÑON CITY, CO

Colorado is a great state for business expansion and relocation. While most businesses will look to the front range communities of the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs or Pueblo, quality of life abounds in rural Colorado as well, especially historic Cañon City.

Quality of life in Cañon City can be summed up in two words: balance and location. One of the oldest and most historic cities in Colorado, Cañon City is located in a part of the state that provides several quality of life benefits not found in other parts of Colorado, including the urban front range. Some of these benefits include easy access to urban amenities, the best weather in Colorado, vast open spaces, quick access to outdoor recreation and social distancing, and access to both east/west and north/south reliable interstate highway systems.

Location, Location, Location: Cañon City is a rather unique rural community because while it has vast open space minutes from town, it still sits in close proximity to all of the amenities common in larger cities, such as shopping, large-scale arts and entertainment districts and national and international travel. Just one hour from Colorado Springs and two hours from the Denver metro area, Cañon City residents enjoy drive times to amenities that are comparable to those living inside those urban areas, while enjoying a much slower, small-town lifestyle.

Referred to by some as the playground of the front-range, Cañon City is where many from those communities come to play. Visitors come to Cañon City’s vast open spaces and recreation areas to escape the hectic pace of population centers. It is common to see hikers, mountain bikers, rafters, kayakers, campers and rock climbers enjoying the slower pace of Cañon City.

And considering the new realities of COVID-19, Cañon City has proven to be a great location for social distancing with lower risk of contracting the coronavirus. Businesses who set up shop in Cañon City experience a unique work/life/play balance that allows them to be more collaborative, productive and profitable, with employees who are more satisfied and content with their quality of life.

A unique location-related benefit to choosing Cañon City is what’s known as a Banana Belt: any segment of a larger geographic region that enjoys warmer weather conditions than the region as a whole, especially in the wintertime. While Colorado as a state is known for great weather and abundant blue skies, Cañon City sits in the heart of a banana belt created by the Arkansas River valley and surrounding mountains that provide even milder weather than the state as a whole.

Dubbed the Climate Capital of Colorado, Cañon City generally has warmer temperatures and dryer conditions than even its neighboring front range communities. Consequently, employees and businesses alike experience fewer disruptions due to inclement weather than in other parts of the state. Better winter roads make for safer driving conditions for employees who are less likely to miss work due to weather. And with the ability to enjoy outdoor activities and community interaction year-round, employees experience less seasonal affective disorder common in colder climates.

On the business side, the banana belt helps keep commerce flowing. Cañon City businesses experience far fewer delivery delays than those on the front range and northern communities. As a comparison, there are two major east/west routes through Colorado: US50 passes through Cañon City and the southern mountains and I70 runs through Denver and the northern mountains, with most commerce traveling via I70. There are real benefits to traveling US50, however. According to Colorado Department of Transportation, in 2018 alone, US50 recorded 27 road closures compared to 352 experience by travelers on I70. With the longest closure on I70 being over 39 hours long, Cañon City offers some real peace of mind and savings.

Cost of Living: One of the most researched factors in the analysis of quality of life is cost of living. What does it cost for a person to live in a community, and what kind of wage is necessary to provide for a content life and happy employee? Being close to the populous Colorado front range, it is easy to assume that the cost of living in Cañon City is comparable to that of Colorado Springs or Denver. In fact, the opposite is true. According to bestplaces.net, in 2020 the overall cost of living index for Cañon City was 88.4 compared to Denver at 128.7.

The cost of housing makes up the biggest differences. With the front range experiencing rapid population growth, the cost of housing has risen dramatically over the last decade as inventories have depleted. On the contrary, housing prices in Cañon City have experienced slower growth resulting in more affordable housing options.

Putting It All Together: Quality of life in Cañon City is a factor of balance and location, location, location. It’s a balance of proximity to urban life and vast open spaces. It’s a slower pace of life but with access to urban commerce. It’s living in a climate that allows for year-round outdoor activities. “Cañon City is a rural community but it offers the best of both worlds,” says Rick Harrmann, Economic Development Manager for the City of Cañon City. “On one hand, you’re close to population centers and all the benefits they provide, yet on the other hand you get the relaxed pace of a small town. Where else can you work ‘til 5:00 and be on the trails at 5:15? It’s just a great place to live, work and play.”

WHERE BUSINESS MEETS PLEASURE IN PASCO COUNTY, FL

If you are wondering where your company can expand or relocate to, look no further than Pasco County, FL, in North Tampa Bay. Located just 30 miles north of Tampa and about 50 miles west of Orlando, it is easy to enjoy all that West Central Florida has to offer. As one of the fastest growing areas in the Tampa Bay region, Pasco County features a unique blend of undeveloped, open spaces in close proximity to modern, vibrant communities with ready access to major interstate highways, CSX Rail Line, Tampa International Airport and Port Tampa Bay.

Pasco County government works cooperatively with business leaders and residents to balance economic growth and job creation, with planned growth that protects the environment and preserves Pasco’s beautiful green space. The resulting quality of life and a supportive environment for business and industry has helped Pasco County become one of the top 40 fastest growing counties in the United States.

Schools. Labor is either fostered or imported and Pasco County has both. Its K-12 schools recognize the importance of fostering young minds with 32 Career Technical Education programs and the state-of-the-art manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, also known as AMSkills. The higher education schools in the region, including Saint Leo University, Pasco Hernando State College, University of South Florida and University of Tampa, all infuse an educated workforce into the community.

Explore Parks and Trails. In Pasco County, there are limitless outdoor activities. There are dozens of parks and bike trails to explore throughout the county. The Suncoast trail is a 42-mile trail in Pasco County that connects users across Tampa Bay. The Suncoast Trail is also a part of a trail that will connect trails all-across Florida through the Coast to Coast Trail. In northeast Pasco many cyclists enjoy the rolling hills of San Antonio and historic downtown in Dade City.

Many new developments are incorporating a mixture of residential living, small and large businesses, trails and excellent dining and entertainment options. The idea helps promote a healthy and balanced lifestyle with safe walkability and community engagement.

Sports and Shopping. Wiregrass Ranch Sports Campus of Pasco County is a state-of-the-art athletic center for local, regional and national competitions. Located in Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass caters to players, coaches, referees, families and planners looking for quality venues. The 98,000-square-foot campus features a hotel on site, 16 volleyball courts, eight basketball courts, 16 pickleball courts, mats for martial arts and cheer competitions and more.

The retail and dining options in Pasco County are continually growing. Tampa Premium Outlets and Wiregrass Mall feature the top brands and stores you are looking for with a plethora of dining options for after your shopping adventure.

New Port Richey, Dade City and Zephyrhills downtown districts feature historic buildings with excellent local dining options and unique experiences. Local shops and artists occupy many of the storefronts, where they hold special events monthly for the community. Residents enjoy the river walks, bike trails and parks nearby.

Water Adventures. If trails and inland parks aren’t your style you can tackle your next unforgettable fishing or scalloping trip on Florida’s Sports Coast in Pasco County. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, it is the perfect place to go for an angling adventure. With key sport fish like red drum, spotted seatrout and common snook, Pasco’s temperate coastal waters have been luring scores of fishermen here for years.

Explore the waterfront by kayak, boat or fishing charters. Anclote Island State Park is a tropical paradise just off the coast of Pasco County. Residents have been boating and exploring the island and nearby sand bars for years. A 15-minute boat ride makes you feel like you are on a tropical vacation in your own backyard.

There are many waterfront dining options up and down the Pasco coast.

In Port Richey, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park is a gorgeous place to kayak and explore by water. Just up the road you can wakeboard at a course, and bounce on a giant inflatable park on the water at Sun West Park.

Enjoy a fun-filled timeout from reality year-round in Pasco County. Whether you’re exploring your wild side during a safari-style tour, testing your limits on one of the County’s aerial obstacle courses, or just enjoying some playtime outdoors, you’ll discover endless ways to create lasting memories. Pasco has everything you need for a quality of life you can enjoy.

Want to learn more about corporate expansion and quality of life?

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