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Credit: Larry Johnson, "Denver Skyline at Sunset," December 17, 2009

New West Daily Roundup for Mar. 2, 2016

Today in New West news: best cities to live in, 2016’s hardest working American cities, and hearing planned for Syringa Valley housing project.

U.S. News & World Report has released their list of “Best Places to Live in the USA,” and the results are good for New West cities. Indeed, Denver took home number one, and the Report’s assessment was positively glowing:

Founded in the mid-1800s as a mining hub during the gold rush, Denver has come a long way since its Wild West days. Over time, its citizens have evolved from gun-slinging gamblers into an easygoing crowd of ambitious, progressive-minded fitness fanatics and nature lovers who are eager to push the envelope on everything from civil rights to drug laws. Nicknamed the Mile High City for its 5,280-foot elevation (although officially reported as 5,279 feet), Denver’s location at the base of the Rocky Mountains provides a gateway to a slew of outdoor pursuits, although it is probably best known for its devout ski and snowboard enthusiasts.

Colorado Springs also ranked high, taking home fifth, with the Report noting that while it’s comparatively paler than nearby Denver, it nonetheless offers “a low cost of living, a low unemployment rate and a variety of recreation and entertainment options.” Boise, meanwhile, ranked sixth, with the Report calling it “a recreationalist’s paradise.”

The Best Places to Live list used several metrics to come up with its rankings, each taking up different shares of the final tally: the Job Market Index (20 percent), Value Index (25 percent), Quality of Life Index (30 percent), Desirability Index (15 percent), and Net Migration Rate (10 Percent).

Keeping with city rankings, Wallethub has released a new survey detailing “2016’s Hardest Working Cities in America. Taking into account six metrics, split into two factors (Direct Work Factors, including Average Workweek Hours and Labor Force Participation Rate; and Indirect Work Factors, comprising Commute Time, Workers with Multiple Jobs, Volunteer Hours per Resident, and Leisure Time Spent on an Average Day).

Source: WalletHub

You can see the full breakdown above, but we’d like to draw attention to some of the most interesting findings. Cheyenne, WY, for instance, landed eighth, beating out cities like Houston and Washington D.C., while Billings, Montana place fourteenth. Meanwhile, the usual suspects among New West cities came in strong (Denver took home thirteenth, with Aurora coming in at twenty-first, Colorado Springs took home thirtieth, etc.).

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Source: WalletHub

And overall, as you can see from the map above, labor force participation was strong across the New West as a whole, especially in Montana and Wyoming.

Finally, over in Boise, the City Council has announced a hearing March 29 over a 600-acre 20-year residential project planned for the southwest corner of the city. We previously reported on the project, entitled Syringa Valley, and potential problems that could arise, including tentative objections from the Ada County Highway District. Indeed, according to the Idaho Statesman, traffic on South Cole Road is a driving concern for the hearing:

City Council President Elaine Clegg said traffic is a concern for her whether Syringa Valley becomes a reality or not. She said the number of intersections in the area managed by four-way stops is causing traffic to back up at peak times. She wondered if roundabouts could reduce that congestion, at least in the short term.

Long-term, however, Clegg said extensions of Lake Hazel Road and Orchard Street —anticipated requirements for Syringa Valley’s developers — should help traffic in the area flow better.

The March 29 public hearing on the Syringa Valley rezone is set to start at 6 p.m. at Boise City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd.

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