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Fairlawn named one of 10 cheapest (yet great places) to live in Virginia

111FairlawnBy Lynn Adams



Have you moved lately? Has someone moved into your neighborhood recently?

What went into that relocation decision?

Well, there’s a website that has a formula for finding the “best” place to live. And that website says Fairlawn – and a bit further down, Christiansburg – is one of the 10 cheapest (yet great places) to live in Virginia.

“Fairlawn is one of the gems of Pulaski County with the Heron’s Landing Development, the Pete Dye signature golf course, a new elementary school, a Walmart and Lowe’s along with specialty stores such as Matt Hagan Outdoors,” observes Joe Sheffey, chairman of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “Radford University being next door provides unique sports and entertainment opportunities along with drag racing, NASCAR racing and concert events at the Motor Mile Speedway.

“The combination of Radford and Pulaski transit systems allows for car-free living opportunities, and the Pulaski County Sewerage Authority is investing significant resource in rebuilding a critical portion of the sewer infrastruture, while the newly completed Peppers Ferry Bridge provides easier access to the New River Valley Mall,” Sheffey says.

“In summary, Fairlawn has the benefits of town living without the additional layer of property taxes. The Pulaski County Board of Supervisors, Pulaski County School Board, the Pulaski County Sewerage Authority and the Industrial Development Authority of Pulaski County are proud to have been a part of the development and growth of the Fairlawn area as a great place to live, work and play.”

AreaVibes, an organization that looks at states, cities and neighborhoods, uses a special algorithm that analyzes the area’s access to amenities, overall cost of living, crime rates, education, employment, housing and weather. From that list, a livability score is calculated. (www.areavibes.com)

Financial considerations, of course, are always a major factor wherever one lives.

So to determine the most affordable, yet most livable cities and towns in Virginia, the commonwealth’s Top 100 communities as ranked by their livability scores were used to find the 10 cities and towns that offer the top cost of living scores. Those cost of living scores are determined by analyzing goods and services, groceries, health care, housing, transportation and utilities.

Based on the website’s calculations, Fairlawn ranks fourth in Virginia for cheapest places to live, which does not diminish it being a great place to live. With a 65th spot in the overall livability rankings, Fairlawn earned a grade of A for cost of living. With its proximity to Radford, Fairlawn offers plenty of amenities, low crime and good scores for housing and education. While employment isn’t at the top of the rankings, the overall cost of living more than makes the grade.


The top 10 cheapest (yet great places) to live in Virginia


  1. Salem


Although ranked 41st in Virginia’s livability rankings, Salem comes out on top when it comes to affordable cost of living. With all the amenities of Roanoke close by – affordable housing, low crime and good education – Salem is one of the best places in Virginia to get the most bang for your buck. In fact, Salem earns an A+ from AreaVibes for overall cost of living.

  1. Cave Spring

Perhaps it’s no small coincidence, but the census-designated area of Cave Spring in Roanoke County comes in second for affordability in Virginia. It certainly seems that the Roanoke area is a winner when it comes to offering ample housing, easy access to amenities and, in the case of Cave Springs, an A for overall cost of living. Cave Spring is 43rd on the livability scale.

  1. Onley

With a population of just more than 600 people, this small town in Accomack County boasts an impressive score when it comes to cost of living. Coming out with an A on AreaVibe’s cost of living scale, this Eastern Shore gem also provides very low crime rates and great scores in housing, education, employment and amenities. Onley ranks 60th in livability.

  1. Fairlawn

With a 65th spot in the overall livability rankings, Fairlawn earns an A grade for cost of living. Located adjacent to Radford, Fairlawn also offers plenty of amenities, low crime and good scores for housing and education. Employment isn’t at the top of the rankings for the area, but the overall cost of living more than makes the grade.

  1. Forest

Located in the county of Bedford, this census-designated area is home to just less than 10,000 residents. Thanks to its close proximity to Lynchburg, there are plenty of amenities in this central Virginia community. With an A grade for cost of living, Forest is home to Thomas Jefferson’s historic home, Poplar Forest. Other perks of living in Forest, which is ranked 67th in the state for livability, include a top grade for schools as well as good scores for crime, housing and employment.

  1. Staunton

This charming little town is no stranger to praise. Called “One of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations in the United States” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “One of the Best Small Towns in America” by Smithsonian magazine and “The Most Beautiful Small Town in Virginia” by TheCultureTrip.com, Staunton also receives high scores for affordability. Coming in 72th in the livability rankings, Staunton offers many amenities and cultural opportunities of a larger town, while also providing good scores for crime, housing and education.

  1. Chatmoss

For a town that has barely 1,500 residents, Chatmoss comes in with an impressive seventh-place finish. While Chatmoss is often considered part of Martinsville, it is actually in Henry County, just outside the city lines of Martinsville. Chatmoss receives a lower grade for amenities, but it did score well for housing, education and low crime rates. Chatmoss gets its name from the Hairston Family plantation that once comprised the area. Today, the Chatmoss Country Club sits at the center of what once was the plantation and serves as a social center for many of the residents. The town’s livability score ranks 79th.

  1. Christiansburg

Christiansburg shares many amenities with neighboring Blacksburg and Radford, both of which are home to colleges. However, with around 21,000 residents, Christiansburg, by itself, is a charming small town. Surrounded by Southwest Virginia’s mountains and full of rich history, the town also offers strong ratings in each category, dipping slightly for employment. But, with housing costs much lower than Blacksburg, it offers a nearby residential option for many professors, students and professionals. Christiansburg ranks 84th in livability.

  1. Hollins

Yet another community in the Roanoke metropolitan area to make the list, Hollins is a census-designated place in Botetourt and Roanoke counties. With approximately 15,000 resident, Hollins is also home to Hollins University. In addition to being the only other place on the list that received AreaVibe’s A+ grade for cost of living, Hollins also scores high for amenities, with good scores for housing, education and employment. Hollins is ranked 86th on the livability scale.

  1. Elkton

Elkton offers its residents a little bit of everything, including some of the state’s most scenic landscapes. Located in the Shenandoah Valley between Massanutten Mountain and Skyline Drive, Elkton scores an A for cost of living, and is the state’s 90th for livability. With another high score for low crime rates, Elkton dips a bit in the employment category, but offers easy access to I-81 between Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.



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