12. Larimer County, CO
Larimer County, CO
Towns include: Windsor
Job growth (2000-2010): 41.2%

Larimer County just scored an ACE in the hole. In April, NASA chose Loveland for its Aerospace and Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Park. Partially funded by the space agency, the ACE park is expected to house 100 aerospace and clean energy companies and could create 7,000 regional jobs and 10,000 statewide.

Larimer County was a natural choice for the ACE Park. The area is already home to major tech companies like Hewlett Packard, Intel and AMD, many of which have strong ties to research facilities at Colorado State University. And the park is set to be built on a former campus for Agilent Technologies.

Tourism is also a main draw for the area. The Rocky Mountain National Park draws an estimated 4 million nature lovers to the town of Estes Park each summer. Local businesses want to make that tourist economy year round with plans for a 50-acre adventure park.

Last updated August 19 2011: 7:00 PM ET
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These terrific small towns -- even now -- boast great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, and more.

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