FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKYT) - Lexington ranks as the fifth best college town in the country, according to a website that rates the best places to live.
In its four annual list, Livability.com looked at college towns and their appeal not just to potential students but to potential residents and businesses looking for strong economies and opportunities to grow.
In naming Lexington fifth on the list, the website says strengthening the already tight bond between Lexington and the University of Kentucky, state and city officials recently announced the decision to use Rupp Arena as the focal point of plans to reinvent downtown by creating a new arts and entertainment district.
"The university continues to be the driving economic force in Lexington, where residents enjoy an eclectic mix of shops, southern-style cooking and rolling hills often graced with thoroughbred horses," says Livability.com. "The university also plays a large role in helping the community. College students spent a combined 96,000 hours helping off-campus agencies in 2012."
Editors narrowed their search to cities with a high quality of life based on a range of factors from cost of living and walkability to cultural amenities and pollution levels. They then focused on those cities where a university is the top employer and key economic driver.
And finally, they considered student to resident ratios, educational attainment, college-led community outreach programs and the percentage of 21- to 34-year-olds (to show that people stick around or move in after graduation).
"For a small to mid-sized town, having a great college or university can add immeasurably to the livability," said editor Matt Carmichael. "Schools provide a level of economic stability, a constant influx of new residents and cultural and sporting events at cities couldn't produce on their own."
Top 10 Best College Towns 2013
1. Boulder, Colorado
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
3. Gainesville, Florida
4. Columbia, Missouri
5. Lexington, Kentucky
6. Iowa City, Iowa
7. Missoula, Montana
8. Madison, Wisconsin
9. Fayetteville, Arkansas
10. College Station, Texas