Median home price (2006): $204,729
Average property taxes (N/A): N/A
Lansing's economy may have been jumpstarted by the opening of a state penitentiary about 150 years ago, but the city has worked hard to shed its jail-town image - and it's been successful. Its school system is one of the top-rated in the region, and more than one in three teachers have an advanced degree. It's a 15-minute commute to Kansas City, Kansas but maintains the affordability of a small town. The city has big plans for the future - the government recently bought 127 acres to turn into parkland with football fields, softball fields and, possibly, an aquatics center. -J.L.
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