The Alabama cities of Madison, Calera, Alabaster, and Helena are all featured on a new CNN/Money magazine list of “America’s best small towns.” Madison, which ranked number 49 on the list, is credited with having a strong economy, thanks to employers such as Boeing and NASA. Madison’s main recreation strength lies in its 34 parks, each of which encompasses several acres of land. Calera ranked number 83 on the list. Although it’s only 20 miles from Birmingham, Calera offers plenty of country scenery nestled between the hills of central Alabama. Typical outdoors activities like hunting and fishing are popular. Alabaster, about 25 miles from Birmingham, ranked number 85 and scored well on green space and the quality of its schools. It also boasted a low unemployment rate with its biggest employer being Shelby Baptist Medical Center. Helena, which ranked number 90 on the list, combines small-town charm with natural beauty. While Old Town Helena was built around railroads in the late 19th century, the downtown still brings the community together. Performances are hosted in an outdoor amphitheatre and local food vendors collect in town for Helena Market Days. See the full list of towns at: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2009/top100/
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