Family Circle magazine recently listed Fort Mill as a Top Ten Town for Families to live in. As a proud Fort Millian, I wholeheartedly agree.
When we moved here six years ago, I’d like to say I found Fort Mill, but in truth, it found us.
We were looking for a good place to raise our children with a good school system. We were looking at a suburban setting with a small-town feel that was close enough to urban areas for sporting and theater events.
We lived in a place like this before — Matthews, N.C. — but working in Rock Hill cemented the decision to live here. Sure, housing developments are still being built, schools are getting enrolled to capacity and a Wal-Mart has come since we moved in, but you still can find the small town in Fort Mill easier than in most places.
The downtown might be spartan, but it is undeniably a nostalgic look at Americana, and the majestic churches lining the roads leading to Main Street show off the history of Fort Mill.
Walter Elisha Park provides a great central area for activities, and is a fantastic location for the Strawberry Festival, an event that even in its infancy shows great promise. The Peach Stand is a throwback to the old-style General Stores, even if the prices are certainly to today’s standards.
But the schools put Fort Mill over the top.
Several sites list Fort Mill as the top school district in South Carolina, which I’m sure many people might look at as on par with being named the most famous Moldovan, but there are also some rankings that have York County in the Top 20 districts in the entire United States.
As a proponent of public schools, and as a parent of two children who use the schools, I’ve seen a system with dedicated teachers and excellent administrators. And there’s a parent support system so strong that sometimes volunteers have to be turned away.
I think our town deserves any accolades given to it, and not just because I’m a proud resident. It is because it has earned it.
Families do come first here, whether it is at Christmas time when the annual Parade brings Main Street to life and the tree lighting ceremony fills the area with children caroling and adults holding steaming cups of coffee and hot chocolate, or whether it is the variety of youth sports going on during all of the seasons.
In fact, Fort Mill probably could use even more areas dedicated to athletic fields, but that doesn’t overcome the fact that youth activities are easily found to participate in.
If you told me 20 years ago that I’d live in a small town in South Carolina, I’d say you were crazy. And if you told me I’d live in one of the Top 10 Family Friendly towns, I’d probably have tried to get you committed.
Now that I’m in both, I’m not surprised at all.
I’m just glad that I can play a part, as small as it is, to making Fort Mill the place it has become.