Alabaster, Calera, Helena among America’s best small towns

The cities of Alabaster, Calera and Helena are among America’s 100 best places to live, according to Money magazine.

Of the three Shelby County locales, Calera ranked the highest at No. 83, Alabaster ranked at No. 85 and Helena ranked at No. 90. The city of Madison, located Limestone and Madison counties, is the only other Alabama city to make the list.

Money magazine ranked the cities based on its schools, affordable housing, job growth and low crime rates.

The magazine describes Calera as a city that is “fiercely loyal to its local stores.” The city of Helena is lauded for “combining small-town charm with natural beauty,” and the city of Alabaster is noted for its sprawling growth, new construction and low unemployment rates.

State Rep. Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) said the rankings are well deserved.

“By having three of the four cities in Alabama on this list, I think it shows how much Shelby County has progressed despite of the national economic downturn,” Ward said. “Whether it is the community spirit of Helena, the shopping centers of Alabaster or the Heart of Dixie Railroad in Calera, these rankings prove our area is still one of the best areas of the country to live in and we should all be proud.”