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Marlborough Looks to Take Advantage of Best-place Honor

December 23, 2010 – The city plans to promote and celebrate its recent designation as the best place in the state to raise children.

In its fifth annual nationwide survey, Bloomberg Businessweek put Marlborough at the top of Massachusetts, praising its job opportunities and recreation.

Councilor Robert Seymour said he thinks the designation should be part of the city’s branding, for example on the letterhead of the city and the Marlborough Economic Development Corp.

“That’s one of the big drivers of how you get business to come here,” Seymour said of a community’s quality of life for families.

The Marlborough Economic Development Corp. could also include the designation in its visitor guides, councilors said.

The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce plans to tout it at a celebration of the city’s finer points, scheduled for January. The chamber also plans to mention it in an upcoming newsletter.

The designation is something the city can use to attract more businesses, said Susanne Morreale Leeber, chamber president and CEO.

“We’re just happy we finished the year 2010 on a positive note,” Leeber said.

Council President Arthur Vigeant said he has spoken with Mayor Nancy Stevens but the city has not solidified a branding plan yet.

“I think it’s important to take advantage of it,” Vigeant said.

City leaders said they are not aware of Marlborough previously receiving such a ranking.

“I think it speaks highly of so many people in the city,” said Councilor and state Rep.-elect Steven Levy. “It makes me proud to be from Marlborough.”

To have a national publication recognize Marlborough “gives validity to what we already knew,” said Stevens, echoing the words of other city leaders.

The communities selected “have good public schools, low crime and resources to keep the family entertained on weekends,” according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

“It really is a great honor for the city,” Vigeant said. “This is great to see an outside source evaluate us and come out with this finding.”

Bloomberg Businessweek’s survey focused on middle-income communities. It evaluated more than 5,000 communities with populations larger than the state average but no bigger than 50,000. The rankings put the most weight on school performance, number of schools, crime statistics and cost of living, according to the publication.

“It’s affordable in terms of housing prices but also recreational opportunities,” such as a season of youth soccer for $60, said School Committee Vice Chairwoman Margaret Dwyer.

Bloomberg Businessweek highlighted Fort Meadow Reservoir for its swimming and boating. City officials also praised Marlborough’s parks.

“There are all sorts of options here for children,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer, who has four children, pointed to the School Department’s music program, which includes a string ensemble, jazz band and a cappella choir.

Dwyer also praised the educational opportunities beyond the city’s School Department, including the Advanced Math and Science Academy charter school, Immaculate Conception, and Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.

Vigeant commended the residents and officials who helped Marlborough get to this point, such as the Recreation Department, City Council, School Committee and other volunteers.

Bloomberg Businessweek selected Attleboro as runner-up.

This story originally appeared here