B  U  S  I  N  E  S  S     F  I  R  S  T    M  A  G  A  Z  I  N  E


Grand Island and Clarence rank as the class of suburbia


Business First of Buffalo - 7:22 AM EDT Thursday
by G. Scott Thomas
Business First

If you're seeking the ideal home in suburbia, Grand Island and Clarence are the first places to look.

Grand Island provides the best quality of life of any inner suburb in Western New York, according to a new study by Business First. And Clarence holds first place among all outer suburbs.

<A HREF="http://dc.bizjournals.com/event.ng/Type=click&FlightID=15399&AdID=22744&TargetID=1101&Segments=1,16,178,1208,2020,2183,3135,3622,3730,3833,3842,3862,3901,3902,3922&Targets=3394,61,165,1101,1859,2014,2917,3381,3489,3590,3597,3619,3655,3656,3677&Values=25,31,43,51,60,72,78,84,90,100,110,150,155,202,283,325,473,565,736,778,830,872,927,949,959,960,961,962,980,994,996,997,1009,1064&RawValues=GEOMAJORMETRO%2Cbuffalo%2CDOMAINTYPE%2C25%2CST_VERT_TOPIC%2Creal_estate__residential&Redirect=http://wecanhelp.bcbswny.com/" target="_top"><IMG SRC="http://ll.bizjournals.com/ads/dc/healthnow/bcbs_cut_300.gif" WIDTH=300 HEIGHT=250 BORDER=0></A>

The study used 20 statistical indicators to rate the quality of life in every city, town and village across the eight-county region. Those communities were split into five categories, based on size and geography, to produce the final standings.

Results for two of those categories -- inner suburbs and outer suburbs -- are being released Thursday. Inner suburbs are defined as communities within 12 air miles of downtown Buffalo, while outer suburbs are farther away from the city.

Full details for all five categories will be available in the summer edition of Western New York Life, a regional magazine published by Business First. It hits newsstands Friday.

Affluence has some impact on the rankings, which reward places whose residents have large incomes, big homes and college degrees. But high scores are also given for qualities not directly related to earning power, such as racial diversity, short commuting times and the availability of affordable housing.

The overall goal is to identify well-rounded communities -- places that are generally acknowledged to offer an excellent quality of life.

The following is a closer look at the categories being unveiled Thursday:

Inner suburbs

Grand Island has the most clearly defined boundary of any Western New York community, surrounded as it is by the Niagara River.

It also ranks first among all inner suburbs, thanks to its high income levels, strong educational system and ample supply of large houses. One-eighth of Grand Island's homes have at least nine rooms.

And there's the additional benefit of the town's unique setting in northwestern Erie County.

"There's a great sense of community here," says Brooke Anderson-Tompkins, the president of Anderson Funding Ltd., who has lived on the island for nine years. "As with much of Western New York, there's a feeling of being at home. But I think it's heightened because of the island setting. There's a feeling of separation."