So, what is a small town anyway?
To the editor:
Wanted: a house to live in in a small town.
It would seem this would be a relatively easy task with so many listings on the market. What is your problem? Well a lot of people gathered last night at the forum presented by the Ledger-Transcript and supported by the Monadnock Center for Culture on this very subject.
It didn’t take long in the conversation before many started to question —What is a small town or a town that looks like a small town, with telltale signs of small-town features? The idea that you can just go out on the street in any town and know you are in a small town becomes crystal clear that it isn’t as simple as it looks.
First I need a definition — what is a small town? Try these indicators and see if they might fit your needs: The population is 1,000 residents or less, no street lights, no red lights, no water and sewer lines, no curbs, some dirt roads, no shopping center, no parking lots, no traffic, a small library, few births, no hospital, no theater, few apartments, no voting machines, a volunteer fire department, no manufacturing plants, and it’s quiet.
Everybody knows everybody and everyone goes to town meeting.
Recognize any place you know in New Hampshire? I think there might be a 100 or more towns that would fit your description. Your job is going to be easy.
Some people might say this is “deadsville” — no growth, no industry, but others might love the peace and quiet.
Now that you have picked your dream town — you fear it might change after you buy your house. So you pick up a Ledger-Transcript and get serious about your search. First thing you look at is the police log. If you end up laughing, that’s a good sign. But next thing you look for is the obituary column.
But there is nothing to upset me, so we move to the sports section. Boy they have a lot of kids - that’s a good sign.
Finally we look at the real estate page — your town doesn’t seem to be in a sell out and no outlandish giveaways.
Oh I forgot schools. Do the people support the budget? Is there a regional school where so much of the cost is carried by the other towns with all the plants and shopping centers? Your town only pays 10 percent of the school budget. Enough soul searching. It’s time to look at some houses.
But wait a minute, is there enough business activity in the area to keep my town taxes low? Great, where do I sign? Wait a minute, I’m a Lion, is there a Lion Club in town? Good.