Recently Money Magazine listed the top ‘Best Places’ to live, and Naperville ranked #53. That sounds good unless you are one of the 52 cities ranked better than Naperville. Additionally Naperville’s ranking is only for cities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000. If you were to include all cities of any population, Naperville most likely wouldn’t rank in the top 500.
Most concerning about Naperville’s #53 ranking is that just four years ago in 2008, Naperville ranked #3. Naperville plummeted 50 positions in that short span of time. If the trend continues, Naperville would drop off the list before the next census. The top three ‘Best Places’ to live in that population category are: 1) Carmel, In., 2) McKinney, Tx., and 3) Eden Prairie, Mn.
If you listen to Naperville city manager Doug Krieger, you would think a ranking of #53 is a wonderful accomplishment. It might be if Naperville improved its ranking from #83 to #53, or even #54 to #53, but dropping down 50 notches is another awareness that things aren’t right in Naperville. Doug Krieger’s celebration of this achievement is like being acknowledged as the tallest dwarf in Muncie, Indiana.
So what went so wrong, that Naperville went so low on that listing. One reader to our recent posting “Naperville’s population growth is stagnant”, may have found the answer with following comment:
“The city council and city manager continue to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the problems facing Naperville. Doug Krieger touted Naperville placing #53 in Money Magazine’s best cities in which to live. I’ll ask the obvious question– why did Naperville plummet from 3rd place to to 53rd. Was it the arrogant city council. The city government run for the benefit of its employees, not the taxpayers. Was it for violations of the Illinois Open Meetings Act, denying taxpayers access to the ballot box. Or is it the abundance of liquor licenses in the downtown area that has resulted in more crime and fewer families on the streets.
Whatever the reasons are, Naperville needs better leadership at the city council and city manager level. A ranking of #53 might be considered ‘good’, but if ‘better’ is possible, then ‘good’ is not good enough.