Livability.com has released a statement noting in their opinion the 10 ten most livable cities in the US for college grads. Even though I graduated college 25 years ago, I don’t exactly fit into its given rubric, I agree with the assessment. It was 21 years ago that my new wedded wife and I moved to Lincoln, thinking we would stay a few years and move on to bigger and better horizons. But two kids, several cars, a house, and a thriving young restaurant later, the future looks even brighter for our Midwestern city. It’s why we want to continue to invest ourselves here.
When asked what I thought of the new arena and other economic development planned for Lincoln, I told the friend that I believe in five years we will be living in a most favorable city in the nation. I predicted that publications like US News and World Report or Consumer Reports will be writing stories about the best cities in American and that I believed Lincoln would rank among the top. This website is a foreshadowing of that prophesy.
Here’s why I think a college grad should consider sending down roots here.
- I can speak for myself and my industry here, but it amazes me that in a city our size, how few the number of independent, locally owned, chef-driven restaurants there are. If I ever have the good fortune to open another place, I will first consider here in Lincoln, rather than fishing in other waters. If I wanted to move to Austin, or Portland where opportunities for local food are abundant, I might get lost in the crowd.
- Instead of thinking about what Lincoln lacks, the young entrepreneurial mind should be saying, what can I create? I love the story of Ryan Starr in the May 29 edition of the Journal Star, who wants to bring “zorbing” to Lincoln. Instead of complaining that there is nothing fun to do, he takes the attitude, “I’ve always wanted to sell fun.” He’s a contributor and void presents him with his opportunity.
- I was most impressed by the campaign to build the arena, and how it was filled at the top with agreement from leaders across political and economic lines. It is unusual to find that of unity in a city our size. Sure, we will wrangle over the details and deal with the detractors, we have leadership in place that will move us forward. As a businessman and entrepreneur, I want to incubate my new ideas in this kind of environment.
- Big urban cities are fun, vibrant playgrounds for big people, but not so much when it comes to raising a family. It can be done, obviously, but when Junior comes along, the little one has a big effect on the choices Mom and Dad make to ensure proper attention can be given to raising that child. The pace of life here helps, as does the number of great kid-friendly parks, events, and leagues that cater to children. Our schools rival other parts of the nation that may appear sexier and more hip, but hip doesn’t really matter when tucking a toddler snugly in bed, feeling the security of stable surroundings.
I hope the college grads can see this and take it to heart, to believe we are a livable city and not succumb to cynicism and mere consumption. Take that degree and become a contributor, and reinforce Liveable.com’s belief that Lincoln is a great city to live.