The Lenexa Civic Center envisioned 20 years ago opened in July. The 5-acre site includes a new City Hall, the Lenexa Rec Center, a market area, a five-story parking structure and outdoor public use spaces. Jill Toyoshiba |

Money magazine picks the best places to live, and one KC area city made the cut

What’s the best place in each state to live?

Money magazine will tell you, and you might be surprised.

The publication looked at economic and educational performance, affordability, convenience, safety and a pleasant way of life.

“Every year MONEY picks the Best Places to Live in the U.S,” the magazine says. “Yet because our strict requirements require towns to thread the needle, some parts of the country tend to show up more than once, while other states miss the list entirely. High-cost areas wind up underrepresented, as do regions that struggle with declining economies.”

That said, Money magazine has determined that Lenexa is the best place in Kansas to call home.

The city has a population of about 54,880, a projected job growth of 5.4 percent and a median household income of $76,505.

“Just 15 miles from Kansas City, Lenexa is working hard to give locals more to enjoy within its own borders,” the magazine said. “The Lenexa Public Market, an 11,000-square-foot food hall, opened last year on the first floor of Lenexa City Hall. The town also has plans to open a farmers market this spring that will offer fresh local vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, flowers and baked goods. Residents can also take advantage of a rosy employment outlook, 33 parks, 26 miles of biking and hiking trails, and rotating art shows in the City Hall art gallery.”

A citizen survey administered by ETC Institute shows people who live in Lenexa know how good they have it.

The random survey filled out by more than 800 people late last year revealed that, on a scale of 1 to 5, 96 percent responded with a 4 or 5 rating for Lenexa as a place to live and 95 percent as a place to raise kids.

Not bad. Now what about Missouri?

Money says you can put your money on the St. Louis suburb of St. Peters.

It has a population of 57,278, a projected job growth of 10.24 percent and a median household income of $71,718.

“St. Peters is an ideal place to start a family in the greater St. Louis area,” the magazine said. “It’s just 25 miles from downtown, and the cost of housing is very affordable, with median home prices clocking in at $208,666. The school district has a good reputation; students outperform the state averages in test scores on both reading and math. And while nearby St. Louis provides plenty of arts and dining opportunities, St. Peters aims to bring some culture closer to home. The St. Peters Cultural Arts Centre is devoted to promoting the arts through classes, day trips, art shows, and events like its Time for Tea speaker series.”

Matt Campbell: 816-234-4902, @MattCampbellKC

Money magazine picks the best places to live, and one KC area city made the cut