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Marlborough Ranked First in State for Affordability, Children's Activities

December 16, 2010 Tucked in between Boston and Worcester sits a city rife with history, activities and companies that has drawn many into the area for work. Those are among the reasons why Bloomberg Businessweek.com named Marlboro the best and most affordable place to raise children in Massachusetts for 2011.

News of the distinction has been met with many responses of “Wow, really?” from residents.

“Are you kidding, Marlboro, Massachusetts, the best place to live?” Maija Barnett asked when showed the article. “That’s a shocker. I am just kind of surprised.”

But the mother of two young girls said the city does offer a lot for children. The cost of living isn’t as high as other surrounding communities, and the diversity of its residents is good for children, she said.

Bloomberg Businessweek.com reviewed real estate data, schools, crime rates, cost of living and other facts, such as job growth and recreation. After evaluating 5,418 communities in the United States, Marlboro took the top spot in Massachusetts. Attleboro was the runner-up.

Danielle Loux, a city resident for 16 years, giggled when told the news. The city does offer a lot of opportunities for children, she said, as she and her 6-year-old son, Zachary, were waiting for story time at the library.

“I’ve heard that a lot of people like Marlboro,” she said. “There are a lot of things for the kids to do.”

Police Chief Mark F. Leonard, who has two young children, said the Recreation Department and privately owned facilities for sports provide children of all ages something to do. There is boating at Fort Meadow Reservoir hiking on trails in the city and its parks.

“Maybe a part of why Marlboro is a great place to raise kids is because there are a lot of opportunities for them,” he said. “My initial reaction is, ‘Wow, that is great.’ When you think about it and all the opportunities locally for children, it really isn’t surprising.”

The chief was high on the school system, which Mayor Nancy E. Stevens also lauded.

The mayor read the article and was pleased to see emphasis had been placed on schools, crime statistics and cost of living.

“In terms of ‘bang for your buck,’ we are definitely it,” she said.

The youth programs in the city continue to grow and give children opportunities to gather and play sports, she said.

“It shows how important families are to the residents of Marlboro,” the mayor said. “We have all these fantastic opportunities for families.”

Marlboro is a less expensive place to live than Boston and the 2010 residential tax rate is lower than surrounding communities, such as Northboro and Sudbury.

Rustin S. Kyle, a lifelong city resident and father of three young boys, said the surrounding area is pretty expensive, but that Marlboro is affordable. Having Raytheon, Compaq and Fidelity Investments in the city helps offset taxes, since the city has a split tax rate.

“I think one of the good things about Marlboro is, it is very centralized, so if you want to work in Boston or Central Mass., it is really good. The city really does offer a lot of good things for the kids,” he said. “If you really think about it, I am not really surprised if you look at the whole aspect of affordability, but also the opportunities that are available in the town. I would say it is right up there with all the other towns.”

This story originally appeared here