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‘Sweet place, sweet people’: Sugar Land a top 10 finalist for 'Nicest Place in America'

Reader’s Digest chose the top spots “where people are kind, resilient and work to make their communities better.” Now voters will choose the winner.
Credit: Sugar Land
Sugar Land has been named one of the top 10 "Nicest Places in America" by Reader's Digest.

SUGAR LAND, Texas — It’s no secret to folks who live in Sugar Land that it’s a great place to live. But the rest of the country is quickly learning why life is sweet in this Houston suburb.

In 2021, Sugar Land was named best place to live and best suburb in America by niche.com.

Now, it's has landed a spot on Reader’s Digest top 10 finalists for Nicest Place in America “where people are kind, resilient, and work to make their communities better.” Readers will choose the winner by voting here.

Sugar Land history

More than 200 years ago, Sugar Land was home to Native Karankawa and Tonkawa tribes before settlers arrived in 1820. They discovered the rich soil was perfect for sugar cane, corn and cotton. The first commercial sugar mill was built in 1843 by the Williams Brothers, who founded Imperial Sugar on the backs of slaves. More in this Historical Timeline.

Credit: Sugar Land
Sugar Land in the early 20th Century

Modern day boom town

Fast forward to 2021 and Sugar Land is a bustling, diverse city that’s grown from a few thousand residents to more than 118,000. The population boomed in 2018 when they added about 20,000 people.

The city’s website credits "welcoming neighborhoods ... and outstanding schools, libraries, civic organizations and other resources that make Sugar Land a great place to work, live and raise a family.”

Ninety‐five percent of Sugar Landers believe it's "an excellent or good place they are proud to call home,” according to a citizen satisfaction survey.

Why Sugar Land was chosen

Here are some highlights from the Reader’s Digest article on why Sugar Land, nominated by Jackie Siegmund, made the cut.

“K.P. George, the local County Judge, child of Indian immigrants and the first person of color to hold that position, spent time driving elderly neighbors to warming centers when millions of people lost power due to freezing temperatures in February 2021. The City Government sets the tone, and Sugar Landers run with it.

With this precedent, it was inevitable that when the pandemic hit, locals sprang into action, doing much of what we all did across the country to keep each other healthy, safe, and sane. But seeing how local businesses were suffering, the City Government went one step further, launching an innovative program that sparked the joy of community giving across the area.

They called it Sweet Cash and the premise was simple: Sugar Landers bought gift cards from local businesses, and with proof of purchase, the City matched their contribution, sending them a gift card from another local business. In addition, Sweet Cash participants could purchase a gift card that would be sent to a frontline worker, either one they knew, or one selected by the city on their behalf.”

 “The city partnered with our three hospital systems, the local school district, and two local grocery stores to deliver frontline worker gift cards to their essential employees throughout the program.”

Another Houston-area finalist

Sugar Land isn’t the only Houston-area spot that made the Reader’s Digest list. Congratulations to Boot Texas Kitchen, a mom and pop restaurant in the East End, that also went above and beyond to help others during the pandemic. Read their story here!

Don’t forget to vote! You can vote once every 24 hours. 

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