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Old 12-13-2017, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Riley Co
260 posts, read 194,163 times
Reputation: 308

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Emporia, Kansas Named Best Small Town In America To Escape From


EMPORIA, KS—Calling it a tough decision with hundreds of other dispiriting options available, a report released Monday by Forbes magazine declared Emporia, KS the best small town in America to escape from. “After examining a wide range of quality-of-life indicators, we determined that there was no better place in America to get the hell out of and never look back,” said editor Martha Collins, adding that factors such as housing conditions and the overall health of residents made it ideal for packing one’s bags for the big city and never looking back. “The school system is perfect for someone who wants to jump on the first bus out of town so they never have to see those people’s faces again, and the local economy provides a range of dead-end jobs for people to quit because they don’t want to wake up 40 years from now having wasted their lives like their old man—ultimately, there was no better town for dreaming of a better life somewhere, anywhere else.”

Emporia gets The Onion treatment (Disclaimer: The Onion is a well-known satirical publication).

https://www.facebook.com/theemporiag...96009067119379

When I told my wife the winner was in KS, her quess was Manhattan. Turns out it is her home town. IF one were to reject satire, it's true that jobs @ Twinkie & Hills Pet Foods are similar to the BEEF & Hostess 40 years ago. I wouldn't want to compare today's salaries with those of the 1970s.

There is https://www.dynamicdiscs.com/visit-emporia_a/317.htm

There's a trace of culture => Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd & Trace Adkins @ the Granada Theatre. And Bluestem for shopping.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Kansas
19,185 posts, read 15,545,059 times
Reputation: 18287
So, I checked it out in the Emporia Gazette who feels that The Onion meant it to be "satirical". Having lived in the area, I can back up the statements that they said and add many of my own.

Emporia gets 'The Onion' treatment | Area News | emporiagazette.com

They say the photo is not in Emporia, which is most likely true, I can't remember an area this clean looking here. The last figure I saw on the poverty rate was 25%.

Let's break it down: They have a lot of housing that should be condemned, but slumlords can take advantage of both illegal aliens and students. We have those trailer parks with trailers from the 1960s next door to the industrial areas. The school system is overwhelmed with non-English speaking children and the schools are rated poorly, I was actually shocked by this since the state teacher's college in located right here! As a plus, they do have a vo-tech here that draws people from out of the area for training. All of the employers here have constant turnover, even the couple with higher wages. We seem to have "rich" and "poor" with very little in between.

Crime is hidden away all too often. I did notice upon moving here that there was a high number of dog bites and "hit and runs" which is typical of a town with a high number of illegal aliens. A month after buying our house, 2 pit bulls attacked our dogs on a walk - never be without a stun gun!

This US Census data paints a pretty accurate picture of conditions: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fa...nsas/PST045216

One of the big issues is illegal aliens here. It is just a fact.
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Old 12-13-2017, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,898,025 times
Reputation: 15722
I thought the only people who voluntarily live in Kansas are in the Federal Witness Relocation Program.
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Old 12-13-2017, 01:01 PM
 
4,665 posts, read 2,792,540 times
Reputation: 3367
I know I can be quite critical of Emporia and I realize the article isn’t satirical, but I just want to say there are tons of cities equal in size that are much worse then Emporia all over the south and throughout the rust belt. Emporia was never a great place and is known as a meat packing town. Those plants are always going to pay very low wages and are always going to attract low quality citizens or illegal workers.

All that said, in my opinion, as someone who only visits maybe 1-2 times a year, I think Emporia is better now then it was when I was a kid. I remember it was such an absolute garbage place and for a kid to recognize that says something. My brother went to ESU for 2 years and I would go visit him frequently as I only live about 40 minutes away. The town is trying to redevelop itself, but it’s hard to get rid of that stigma and of course the city can’t just remove the bad characters.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Cleverly concealed
1,023 posts, read 1,585,159 times
Reputation: 1063
The photo is a stock image from North Dakota, in case anyone wondered.
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Kansas
19,185 posts, read 15,545,059 times
Reputation: 18287
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioSilence View Post
The photo is a stock image from North Dakota, in case anyone wondered.
I wondered where it might be from, and wondered if it could have been somewhere in western Kansas by the scenery in the background.
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Old 12-15-2017, 03:51 PM
 
192 posts, read 87,160 times
Reputation: 424
Emporia could and should be doing better. It is a hub that is centrally located between Wichita, Topeka, and KC. Lots of highways run through it, and the CoL is low. The biggest issue, is the lack of work for college educated individuals. Not sure how that can be resolved, other than doling out huge tax incentives to attract these businesses. I had a great time growing up there, but cannot imagine raising a family there at this time.
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Old 12-18-2017, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Near Wichita, KS
121 posts, read 69,070 times
Reputation: 121
Has a lot of burglaries surprisingly. Was really interesting googling the address of affordable house I saw listed for sale. Former owner was burglar moved...
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Old 12-19-2017, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Overland Park, Kansas
743 posts, read 960,014 times
Reputation: 712
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezball View Post
Emporia could and should be doing better. It is a hub that is centrally located between Wichita, Topeka, and KC. Lots of highways run through it, and the CoL is low. The biggest issue, is the lack of work for college educated individuals. Not sure how that can be resolved, other than doling out huge tax incentives to attract these businesses. I had a great time growing up there, but cannot imagine raising a family there at this time.
They should be, but there is a reason that they aren't. The town itself is too close minded, even with having been the home to several institutions of higher learning since the town was incorporated. Emporia had every chance to be a better version of Garden and Dodge City, but they squandered it on multiple occasions. Garden and Dodge would kill to be at the intersection of two interstates and host a regents university. If you want to know where Emporia went wrong in the last 10 years, dig up some of the articles on how inhospitable the town was to the Somalian and Burmese refugees, mostly the Somlaians, when Tyson brought them to town. The civic leaders did almost nothing to help the refugees and when Tyson felt like they couldn't bring in an adequate workforce, they transferred the employees and work to plants in Lexington, NE and Garden City, KS where the civic leaders were more than happy to accept the new residents because population growth from refugees is population growth. The town also just looks dirty in places like Pittsburg, Junction City, and Liberal do. There are quite a few homes that should have been condemned or cited for code violation 10-20 years ago, especially near north downtown/ESU. I'd rather see the empty lots of east Dodge and south GC than what you see in those three communities (also in Wellington, Arkansas City, Coffeyville, Parsons...). It doesn't help that Emporia residents don't seem to have much civic pride and run to Topeka and KC for everything rather than supporting what they have locally. I'm surprised that Hobby Lobby has survived this long when Staples almost immediately downsized after opening, Hasting closed before the company was in trouble, Stage closed (it's hard to kill Stage), Big Lots closed (also a hard company to kill), and many others as well. Dodge, Hays, and Hutchinson shot themselves in the foot in the same way and allowed competing cities to grab up all the development as a result.

I try to defend most towns in Kansas, but we have a few that did nothing but dig their own graves and a few like Garden City, Manhattan, Salina, and Lawrence that were willing to take risks or rick ending up stagnated in growth like Wellington, Ulysses, Pratt, Great Bend, Ft. Scott, etc.
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Old 12-20-2017, 07:31 AM
 
9,937 posts, read 10,533,411 times
Reputation: 7481
Small college towns like Emporia and Pittsburg have too few owner occupied housing. Pittsburg is the worst with only about 45% of the houses are owner occupied that means all the rest of the homes are slums. Landlords don't like property taxes so they rarely keep up the exteriors of the property. Incentives to increase low income home ownership instead of low income housing would be a welcome change to the landscape and increase the overall wealth of the citizens. It might even result in more tax revenue. I would like to see an independent outside economist study the effects of rental businesses keeping cheap homes out of the reach of moderate income people. Some one from Pittsburg told me that owning 80 run down houses would not make you the largest landlord by a long shot.
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