Yakima Ranked One Of America's Best Small Cities On The Rise - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Ranked One Of America's Best Small Cities On The Rise

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YAKIMA, WA-- You might want to add the city of Yakima on your summer travel list because it is now ranked as one of the top ten up and coming small cities in the county.

Joey LeBeau and Linda Eakin-Johnson have both spend most of their lives in Yakima.

"Born and raised. I never left," LeBeau said.

Eakin-Johnson was a teacher at West Valley High School.  Lebeau was one of her many student.

Now they are able to enjoy a coffee together in the city the call home.

"My favorite part? People, and past students," Eakin-Johnson said.

So it was no surprise to them when smartertravel.com
listed Yakima as one of America’s Best Small Cities On The Rise.

"Well duh! There’s a reason I never left. I’ve been to the west side, I’ve been farther east, I’ve been south, I’ve been all the way to D.C.," Lebeau said.

The travel site based this ranking on the number of redevelopment projects, a historic downtown area and many different shops and wineries to choose from... but these two say its also mainly about the people who live here.

"I think it makes you feel like a human being and more of a community connection when you go to the grocery store and you can greet several people by name, they greet you by name because it a small intimate community," Eakin-Johnson said.

So for the two old friends, it was not a hard decision to make Yakima their home.

"It’s phenomenal. It’s only going to instill the locals that 'yeah, we are valuable,’” LeBeau said.

"It’s a great place to raise kids, and I think that's key.  That community is everything. It builds your relationships," Eakin-Johnson said.

Smartertravel.com also listed things like being on the sunny side of the state, being pet friendly and having a strong agricultural community as part of the ranking.

Other small cities on the rise alongside Yakima are Chattanooga, Tennessee; Ashville, North Carolina and Traverse city, Michigan.