Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Web site names Ammon 'Most boring city in Idaho'

The photo representing Ammon on Wikipedia, which ought to give you an idea of how the community views itself.
Put on your flak jackets because there’s going to be stuff flying over a story that broke today. Ammon has been named the most boring city in Idaho.

This piece of news comes from the Movato Real Estate blog, a Web site based in California aimed at creating “unique, and most importantly, fun real estate related stories.” Yeah, right.

One feature of the site is what they call “Big Deal Lists.” Here’s how they describe what they did with this particular story:

“We started out at one of the least exciting places on the Internet, the U.S. Census. There, we used the 2010 U.S. Census to gather up all of the places in Idaho with populations of 10,000 people or more. Then, we used the Census and various business listings to research each of these 22 places in each of the following categories:

  • Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
  • Live music venues per capita
  • Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
  • Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
  • Fast Food restaurants per capita (the more the more boring)
  • Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food (the lower the more boring)
  • Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34 (the lower the more boring)
  • Population density (the lower the better)

We then gave each a score from 1 to 22 in each of the above categories, where the lower scores were the more boring places.

Next, we averaged these rankings into one overall Big Deal Score, where the lowest score went to our winner and most boring place. Yay Ammon!”

For the sake of perspective, Idaho Falls ranked as the third least boring city in the state, which came as kind of a surprise to me. I remember all those Post Register Readers Choice polls in the early '90s, in which respondents listed “Home” as the hottest nightspot.

But a lot has changed since the early ’90s, especially in Ammon. Take a look at the population numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau:

Idaho Falls
1990 44,477
1995 48,651
2000 51,110
2005 51,787
2010 57,054
2013 58,292
Growth: 31 percent

Bonneville County
1990 72,608
1995 79,527
2000 82,867
2005 90,666
2010 104,675
2013 107,517
Growth: 48 percent

1990 5,000
1995 5,558
2000 6,529
2005 10,798
2010 13,887
2013 14,460
Growth: 189 percent

With the population almost tripling in 13 years, it’s no wonder Ammon has an identity crisis. Moreover, if you go back to 1980, before the Grand Teton Mall and Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center were built on the southeast side of Idaho Falls, Ammon was basically one of two things: a rural community where life revolved around the schools and the LDS Church and a bedroom community for Idaho Falls.

So let’s take it easy on Ammon. We could say what Gertrude Stein said about Oakland -- "There is no there there" -- but I don't think they've ever had aspirations to be anything other that what they are. Plus, they have Chick-fil-A and Jamba Juice, and are going to be the eastern Idaho home of Hobby Lobby, so there!