Galesburg IL leaders say what they like about city: Food, diversity


Favorable statistics helped Galesburg get recognized as one of the top 20 best small cities in America. But why do people really enjoy living here?

In case you missed it, Galesburg ranks as the 18th Best Small City to Live in America, according to a Census Data Report carried out by consumer finance startup, The report analyzed numerous variables including household incomes, poverty levels, hours worked per week and average home values — all key priorities for families and those looking to enjoy a great quality of life in a small city. 

More:Here’s why Galesburg ranks as one of the top small cities in America

This data was used to create a cumulative score which resulted in Galesburg, scoring 73, making it the 18th highest ranked best small city in America.

Reaction to the news was mixed. Chatter on The Register-Mail’s Facebook page was predictably all over the place. Many were proud, and wanted to promote the feat, while others — many others — literally laughed it off. 

Here are the emoji reactions to the story on our Facebook page:

164 laughing faces

147 thumbs ups

23 hearts

8 surprised faces

The comments read:

“What a joke!”

“A little late for April fools!” 

“This had got to be a lie!”

And those are the mild ones. 

But like Facebook commenter Chris T. said, “Funny everyone wants to talk crap about living here but they are still here.”

“It is extremely positive for the community, and I hope we can exploit it,” said Adam Vitale, president of G&M Distributors. “Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize the good we have in front of us.”

The Register-Mail sought the opinions of 11 community stakeholders and asked the following question:

What are your 3 favorite things about living in Galesburg?   

Peter Schwartzman

  • Everything is so close. Living in Galesburg saves me multiple days that I would otherwise lose to commuting.
  • The diversity of people. Though a small city, Galesburg has people from so many different walks of life, traditions, languages, and cultures!
  • Potential. The city has a rich history and the potential to become a leading community on so many fronts— renewable energy, urban agriculture, race relations, community policing, youth engagement, downtown revitalization, etc.

More:City of Galesburg releases annual report on 2021 data and projects. Here’s what to know

Candace D’Agnolo

  • The central location! I love that Galesburg is only a 1-3ish hour drive to MANY major cities in the midwest.
  • It’s big enough to still have lots to do, but small enough that you can really make a positive impact and participate in the things that are important to you.
  • The people! As a newbie everyone is so friendly and interested in connecting you with someone else in town. We’ve made some wonderful relationships here!

More:What do new owners of former Dollar General building in Galesburg have planned?

Andrew McGadney

  • The feeling of a small town with the advantages of a larger city: Galesburg is a place where you almost always see someone you know when out and about, and we also have terrific social organizations and cultural activities, including events at The Orpheum Theatre, the Galesburg Community Art Center, historical landmarks such as Old Main on the Knox Campus which was the site of the fifth Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Carl Sandburg’s birthplace, Galesburg Railroad Days, National Stearman Fly-in, Great Balloon Race, First Fridays (we are sponsoring this week!), and much, much, more.
  • The people here in Galesburg: We are hard working, caring, friendly, and welcoming, and a unique mix of families who have been here for generations and those of us who have moved here more recently to make Galesburg our home, and who share the same commitment to making Galesburg the best small city to live, work, and build a future. 
  • The entrepreneurial spirit: We have so many locally owned restaurants from La Cantanita to Craft, The Beanhive to Innkeepers, 156 East to Iron Spike Brewing Company and so many more, as well as boutique shops, retailers and service providers, and we work together with community partners who care deeply about our shared future, such as Carl Sandburg College, the Galesburg Community Foundation, the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, local educational and business leaders, philanthropists, and government officials. 

More:Knox College president finishes first year, says college needs to move swiftly

Russ Idle

  • I love that Galesburg still has a small-town feel.  People are generally friendly and willing to take care of each other.
  • I love the fact that I can get or do anything I need in Galesburg and still get from one side of town to the other in less than 10 minutes.
  • I love our downtown.  The downtown stores and shops are unique and wonderful. The small business owners downtown make the atmosphere a wonderful place to be.