his past week readers of USA Today voted New Albany “America’s Best Southern Small Town” for 2017.

That designation may be something we have known ourselves for some time.

The contest is one of a series by the newspaper that cover destinations, food, lodging, gear and things to do.

Our city was one of 20 with populations of less than 10,000 nominated by a panel of travel writers and experts from around the Southeastern United States, culled from about 100 nominees.

The winner was determined by reader votes over four weeks.

New Albany won over several smaller, little-known towns but also beat out Eureka Springs, Ark., considered by many to be a major tourist destination in the Southeast.

While the win was due in part to local voting, it is clear that our community has plenty of non-local support as well.

The capsule summary about New Albany mentioned the Tallahatchie River, Tanglefoot Trail, historic downtown, shopping and dining opportunities.  And that doesn’t include our literary history, blues connections, Native American history, auto plant and other plusses.

Winning the title not only affords the city bragging rights, but allows the use of the USA Today contest title in publicity and will lead to online merchandising links tied to the title as well.

Tourism Director Sean Johnson has indicated that the contest and title are already drawing visitors.

That, added to the availability of tours at the Toyota plant at Blue Springs beginning this week, should further accelerate our growth as a place to shop, eat, learn and enjoy not only in Northeast Mississippi but the entire South as well.

Thanks to Johnson and those who promoted our community during the contest. That reaffirms the idea that New Albany is a very good place to live and goes along with the expectation that New Albany will continue to become the place others want to be.

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