Saturday, July 14, 2007

City makes Family Circle top 10

BY LISA BOLIVAR

A national magazine has taken the measure of Cooper City and found it lives up to its motto, Something Special. Family Circle, due on newsstands Tuesday, has named Cooper City one of the top 10 places in the country to raise a family. It lists the city seventh after Castle Rock, Colo.; Diamond Bar, Calif.; Morton Grove, Ill.; Cedar Park, Texas; Derby, Kan.; and Kennesaw, Ga.; Madison, Mo.; Franklin, Mass.; and Chanhassen, Minn., finish the list.

Family Circle hired On Board, a New York research firm that provides real estate and demographic data, to look at 1,850 cities nationwide with populations of 15,000 to 150,000 and median incomes of $65,000. They narrowed the list to about 800, and Family Circle staff further evaluated cities on family-friendly criteria, including cost of living, jobs, schools, healthcare, air quality, green space and crime rates.

''Cooper City was one that kind of popped to the top,'' Editor in Chief Linda Fears said.
This is the first time the magazine has created the list, Fears said. 'We figured even though there are a lot of lists around, such as the best cities for making money, all sorts of `best' things, none of us have ever seen a list for great places to raise your family,'' she said.

Being named in the list comes as no surprise to Cooper City Mayor Debby Eisinger, who announced the honor at the June 13 commission meeting. ''This is exactly why I moved here 17 years ago, when my eldest was not yet 4 and I was pregnant with my second one,'' Eisinger said, adding a ``Yahoo!'' And while the rest of Broward County has been growing in both construction and crime rates, Cooper City has managed to maintain a hometown feel, Eisinger said.
''My ultimate response to the city from the first day I moved here was this is a community that is about great sports and recreation, safe streets and wonderful schools, and that is what brings families here,'' she said.

THE ATMOSPHERE
It is the hometown atmosphere that brought Paul Blackinton, 47, back. ''I've lived in Cooper City for 31 years, went to Cooper City High School. . . . My mom's still here,'' Blackinton said, adding that he has moved elsewhere but came back to raise his family. ``We've been billed as a bedroom community. There's a real sense of community here where neighbors have met out in the street.'' Blackinton described his community as one that cares for its own. ''During the hurricanes, even before emergency response teams arrived, the neighbors were clearing the way and making sure everyone was all right,'' he said. ``That is the type of community we have.''

SPECIAL SERVICE
Fears said one city service in particular caught her eye, making it a must for being included among the top 10. ''Part of our hope in doing this list was there would be surprises,'' Fears said. "One thing we found out about Cooper City is that they helped people who have lost trees from storms or hurricanes. They replaced the trees for free, and we thought that was really neat.''
And like Blackinton, Fears was impressed with the city's ''it takes a village'' culture.

''A lot of parents work, so you have to depend on your neighbors. You have to have people who care about your kids as much as you do,'' Fears said. ``And now with everyone caring about the environment and a place like Cooper City that cares about the outdoors, with the fact that they replaced the trees, that is an awesome perk.''

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