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Officials react to top 100 listing

In announcing its list of the top 100 small cities in the United States to live in, Money magazine singled out two Hampton Roads communities for their quality of life, job growth, economic standing and other characteristics.

And while economic leaders were quick to point out the significance of Suffolk and Chesapeake’s placement upon the top 100 cities, elected leaders said there was more than job growth behind the announcement.

“We were thrilled to learn of Suffolk’s section,” Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson said in a press release Wednesday. “We are well aware of Suffolk’s unique and diverse offerings, from its historic downtown and rich farmland to its high-tech corridor and beautiful recreational offerings.”

Fourth District Republican Congressman Randy Forbes also released a statement Wednesday, celebrating both Chesapeake and Suffolk’s placement on the list.

“I frequently tell people that Virginia’s Forth District is home to some of the most beautiful, welcoming and efficient communities in our nation,” Forbes said. “Some might say that I, having grown up and raised my family in the Fourth District, am a bit biased. But others are agreeing that it is true.”

Suffolk was ranked 91st on the list, the first time it has made the annual list. Chesapeake came in at 85th. They were the only two Hampton Roads cities to make the list.

The magazine compared statistics from 746 U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 to 300,000 to make its rankings. Then, it sent staffers to the top 30 cities on the list to interview residents, and assess traffic, parks and other community resources.

Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George said Monday that city officials had been contacted several weeks ago by Money staffers and were told that they were being considered among the top “several hundred” small American cities. The magazine’s editors sought more information on a variety of topics, as well as some photos that represented life in Suffolk, she said.

Making its debut in Money Magazine’s August edition, the entire listing of cities nationwide and ranking criteria also can be found online at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2010/index.html.