Just last month, community leaders announced an ambitious marketing campaign to capitalize on the fact that Tallahassee was deemed a great place for retirees.
That campaign followed a study by a Coral Gables-based group that listed 20 cities most popular for retirees, based on a number of factors, including weather, access to recreational opportunities, universities and access to health care. Tallahassee came out on top.
Well, now the city is earning bragging rights from the other end of the age spectrum.
The website 247wallst.com recently reported on a study by Moving.com that listed Tallahassee as one of the top 10 cities in the country for millennials, that 18- to 29-year-old group that is the focus of untold studies by sociologists and marketers who are interested in everything about them, from their views on making money to politics to their inclination to get involved in communities and public service.
It makes you wonder why anyone ever had the notion that Tallahassee was this sleepy Southern town. The latest top 10 list is just one of a string of accolades that this city enjoys — “best utilities,” “best parks and recreation facilities” and on and on. Of course, we can’t forget, “one of the best cities in the country with two outstanding football teams.” Well, that one has yet to be announced, but the season is just around the corner.
According to the 247wallst.com report, the cities in Moving.com’s ranking all can’t boast on having the lowest rents, home prices or unemployment rates, so they are bargain locations.
Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Moving.com, was quoted, “The cities on this list encompass the best of both worlds — they have affordable housing options and lower unemployment rates when compared to many big cities in America, as well as great nightlife, universities, and many things to do.”
Look out, Tallahassee!
For the record, Athens, Ga., was ranked No. 1, followed by Chapel Hill, N.C., and so forth. Tallahassee came in 10th, right behind Tacoma, Wash. The ranking noted Tallahassee’s accessibility to higher education, the nearby Gulf, its nightlife and venues for music.
This latest bragging tool is good for many reasons. It shows that efforts in this community to stop the brain drain are right on target. It also shows that Tallahassee’s universities are viewed as major drawing cards, beyond college sports, and that people are paying attention. And, it shows that those planners with the vision for reinventing Gaines Street, creating Cascades Park and bringing new life to Midtown all are on to something that is going to have a major impact on this community.
It also means that Tallahassee is growing a new generation of community-spirited residents who are particularly interested in supporting initiatives that reflect their interests.
This age group already contributes through many volunteer efforts and business ventures and even hosts its own fundraisers through networks that cater to new, young professionals.
The Moving.com report is making its rounds among many here who typify the ranking.
Take Sarah Duncan, 27. She moved to Tallahassee three-and-a-half years ago from Atlanta to take a job. She now works from her home base here for Polycom, a computer software company.
“I’ve embraced it like it’s home,” she said of Tallahassee. “I’d never been here, and I fell in love with the lifestyle that Tallahassee offers. It’s the ease of networking, connecting with others with common interests.”
As a runner, she enjoys the community’s parks and recreation opportunities. She’s involved with the Junior League of Tallahassee, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Knight Creative Communities Institute.
“I think a lot of young professionals are moving for their jobs. They want a good place to stay, to enjoy life and work.”
And there’s Jay Revell, 25. Unlike many friends who graduated in his class of 2009 from Florida State University, Revell decided to stay here. He works as an aide to Leon County Commissioner John Dailey by day, and is involved in several initiatives such as future plans for College Avenue and Midtown. He, too, remains involved in the Knight project, a springboard for many talented young people here.
“If you have a dream, you can do it in half the time and for half the money (in Tallahassee),” he told me. “If you look at everything going on, there’s amazing momentum in Tallahassee. The whole downtown is under construction.”
He disputes the image that is sometimes attached to millennials, such as their attitude toward the down job market.
“The people who are my age can take jobs at a lower level of pay, but it helps you get your foot in the door,” he said.
As for the quality of life, he said, “If you go to these big communities, you can enjoy their amenities, but in Tallahassee, you can bring them here.”
Yes, that’s Tallahassee he’s talking about.