Last month, Troy made number seven on the list for happiest Ohio cities to live in. Posted on www.onlyinyourstate.com, the recent study was conducted by Credit Donkey and based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and FBI Uniform Crime Reports. “Only cities with populations of 20,000 or more were analyzed, and rankings were calculated via restaurants, crime rates, average commute time, departure time, income, divorce rates and housing,” according to the website.
A journalist friend posted the link on my Facebook page, because I am constantly bragging about how wonderful Troy in specific and Miami County in general is, since moving to the area over two years ago. The rating only confirmed what I already knew, but like most studies, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
For instance, if you ever transferred to a school during your youth, no matter how great the school was, maybe you can remember the awkward sense of displacement that being the new kid in class creates. You’re not sure where you belong, where to sit in the cafeteria, or who to play with on the playground. So, unless a compassionate classmate befriends you, you probably eat lunch alone, or stand against a building during recess aching for someone to invite you to join their game.
Well, in an allegorical way, that’s what it’s like moving to an established community. Especially, in a place where for years everyone has known everyone else, but suddenly with an explosion in population the county dynamics have changed rapidly. Information on www.city-data.com reports that in 2013, Troy’s population was 25,445, which is a 15.7 percent increase since 1990 when the population was about 19,500. Tipp city has increased from 6,400 to 9,800 in this same time frame, while Piqua has held steady at just over 20,000 per data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
To unpack these statistics, in the past quarter century in Troy at least one out of five people is a transplant, while in Tipp City that would be one out of three. Of course, there are individuals moving out of these cities, but the bottom line is Miami County is in a state of positive growth.
Innovative city and county leaders have been able to bring economic development resulting in employment to much of the area during a season when other Midwestern regions are in decline. Career opportunities are probably the number one reason individuals migrate to an area, but the demographics and catalysts are varied.
There are also individuals like my husband and myself, empty nesters who were enticed by the amenities offered. Benefits like: free outdoor concerts, local museums, the Troy Hayner Cultural Center, Hobart Arena happenings, farmer’s markets, cutting-edge public libraries, the Tipp City and Troy Aquatic Centers, a thriving downtown, and other community events and festivals galore. Young families are also looking for academically excellent schools, top-notch daycare, and a nurturing environment for their children, while we all rate safety high on our priority list.
When you move, suddenly you require a plethora of resources like: a family physician, dentist, hair stylist, shopping outlets, gym, church, favorite restaurants, auto maintenance, a place to get a good cup of coffee, and the list goes on. Business owners are in competition for these new customers, but what does it take to have someone want to frequent your establishment?
I spent some years studying church growth, and was surprised to learn that one of main ways to expand a fellowship of believers is simply to be friendly. Not overly friendly, like the lady who once chased my hubby and me into a church parking lot, but helpful to visitors who don’t know how to find a seat in the sanctuary or where the restrooms are located.
Businesses and local organizations can glean from this methodology. A little hospitality could mean more than you can imagine to a newcomer. Something as basic as learning a customer’s first name could make their day. It might also result in repeat business.
Many people relocating to Miami County will have left their extended families behind, and will be looking for a way to fit into their new community. Some will bring incredible talents requiring open doors of opportunity. Others will have unique challenges necessitating more public services, and assistance from a community that cares.
In the end, I’m proud to be a Miami Valley girl now. For me personally, Troy truly is a very “happy” place to live, even if there are a lot of other new kids in town to share it with.
Christina Ryan Claypool is an award-winning freelance journalist and inspirational speaker. Contact her through her website at www.christinaryanclaypool.com