Hyosong (Korea) also makes a nice looking 250, but it's a little more than a Ninja new. You might find one used cheaper though. They are also marketed under the United Motors name in the U.S. Your only other options would be the 250 cruisers from Honda and Suzuki, plus the Nighthawk 250.
Do not buy a Lifan 200 or similar bike that you'll see on Ebay. They're marketed under various names here. While they may be okay bikes, they're made in China, and they're just not up to our quality and safety standards yet.
Another option would be dual-purpose bikes like the Yamaha XT250, but again they are generally more than the Ninja. Since you have a couple years, you should be able to get a used '08-'09 Ninja 250 then for under $3000.
"We didn't trade shoves; I did all the shoving." -Bobby Knight, 1981