by Joshua Maloni
Business Insider, an award-winning, New York City-based website, has named Lewiston to its "10 Best Small Towns in America" list. The online publication cited Lewiston's placement in the Rand McNally/USA Today "Best of the Road" competition, its historic significance, and proximity to Niagara Falls in ranking the municipality No. 5.
In the past two years, Lewiston's restaurants were twice featured on the Travel Channel, its Historical Association events (including the "Battle of Queenston Heights Commemoration and Re-enactment") garnered national press, and its largest venue, Artpark, picked up a sixth award from Buffalo Spree magazine for its presentation and outdoor facilities.
"With Artpark, Lewiston is well known as Western New York's cultural centerpiece. But today, Lewiston is emerging on all fronts as one of the nation's premiere small towns - attracting people from all over the world who come here to experience the arts, fascinating history, delicious food and hospitality, and friendly people," said town resident Lee Simonson, who spearheaded the volunteer effort that netted Lewiston a top five finish in the "Best of the Road's" "Best for Food" category. "And many people not only visit, but they are so impressed, they are deciding to make Lewiston their new home. Successful communities need three things: enthusiastic volunteers, engaged businesses and supportive local government officials - and Lewiston has all three and more!"
Village Mayor Terry Collesano said he was pleased to learn of Lewiston's ranking, but added, "I think we're No. 1."
"But it's a great honor, it really is," he said. "To be recognized nationally as the fifth in the nation as the best little town, it's a great honor.
"(Lewiston) used to be known as the place to be; the destination. It was always the best secret in Niagara County, but now the word's out. Everyone knows now. We're not a secret any longer. We're now known throughout New York state as well as the country, and this is a great honor."
Town of Lewiston Supervisor Steve Reiter said the ranking, "recognizes the efforts that our community has set forth and the standards that we set."
He said Lewiston's quality of life, coupled with low taxes and shared services, make it an attractive place to live and work.
"It's just a whole genre of good things coming to rest," he said. "It just shows the efforts (of) our service organizations, and charitable organizations, along with the government and business community. ... It's all coming together very well. That selection is a testament to what everybody is doing."