Family-friendly Fort Mill recognized by Family Circle as top place to live

jmarks@fortmilltimes.comJuly 3, 2012 

— Population and school enrollment trends tend to suggest that Fort Mill is a nice place to raise a family. One magazine is going a step further than simply suggesting it.

Family Circle, a family magazine with 19 million readers, lists Fort Mill among its “10 Best Towns For Families” in the August issue, which is on newsstands now. The listing is, according to the magazine, a “roundup of perfect places to call home” and was formed after a survey accounted for items like “affordable housing, good neighbors, green spaces, strong public school systems and giving spirits.”

Joining Fort Mill are the communities of Bay Village, Ohio; Vail, Ariz; Lake Oswego, Ore.; Fishers, Ind.; Ballwin, Mo.; Louisville, Colo.; Longmeadow, Mass.; Zachary, La. and Oak Park, Ill.

Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk said the Family Circle listing “confirmed for America what Fort Millians have known all along.”

He added that “We’re fortunate to live in one of the very special places in the country” and that “The Town of Fort Mill is extremely proud of this accolade.”

The online detail at familycircle.com describes “a place where random acts of kindness are the norm.” Mentioned are the transplants who found small-town charm, the strangers who helped a stranded motorist during a “freak snowstorm,” the valedictorian now enrolled at Harvard University and the neighbor who shares her garden’s yield. Noteworthy in town are its strong school district amid rapid growth, the locally-created S.C. Strawberry Festival and the police department’s Do The Right Thing program that awards students who make selfless choices.

A main achievement was the “great schools” ranking, a perfect 10 matched by only three fellow honorees (Bay Village, Lake Oswego, Vail).

“I am pleased that the school district can contribute to the outstanding quality of life enjoyed in Fort Mill by providing an excellent public school option to our citizens,” said Dr. Chuck Epps, superintendent of the Fort Mill School District. “The schools are proud to play a part in this well deserved honor for the town.”

A New York City research firm helped assemble a list of 3,335 cities and towns with populations between 11,000 and 150,000 for the study. About 1,300 of those communities with high concentrations of median incomes between $55,000 and $96,000 were selected. Communities best meeting the “family-friendly criteria” from low crime rate to health care and green space were selected to form the top 10.

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