June 3, 2014

Editorial: An unfortunate comparison

Plattsburgh has the misfortune — or, to some, very good fortune — to be situated practically within shouting distance of Burlington, Vt.

It’s good fortune, because there’s plenty to do in Burlington. It’s bad fortune, though, because the proximity compels comparisons, which usually wind up disadvantageous to this side of the lake.

The American Association of Retired Persons, AARP, does a wonderful job of looking after its constituency. It is always pointing out ways for retirees and other seniors to get the most out of life.

Recently, AARP published its picks for 10 best cities below 100,000 population in which to retire. Which city do you suppose led the parade? Right: Burlington.

Although it’s expensive (mean price for a house is $315,000) and cold, AARP says, it has enough going for it to rate the city a pass on those liabilities. But the taxes and prices are high, the organization acknowledges, and winter does have a bite.

Nevertheless, Burlington has plenty going for it. Among the positives, in AARP’s judgment:

It’s “small enough to easily navigate but large enough to offer a wide array of culture, amenities and services.” It’s 10 picks all have, to one degree or another, “fairly solid economic foundations and low crime rates. Many are home to colleges and universities, as well as museums, concert halls and theaters.”

As for Burlington, in particular, it offers “world-class urban planning, a thriving, artsy economy and easy access to myriad outdoor activities, including excellent skiing and sailing.”

Burlington, is close enough to Montreal and Boston. Its Church Street Marketplace is a thriving city center. It has Ben & Jerry’s and the University of Vermont. And the city is surrounded by opportunities for sailing, skiing and cycling.

Plattsburgh also is a college town, half the size of Burlington, if you count only the city, and has a theater, museums, the lake, skiing and proximity to Montreal, Boston and New York City. It also has the cold, but not a $315,000 mean housing price.

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