Upper Arlington News

Family Circle listing

UA among America's top 10 towns for families

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Upper Arlington is one of America's 10 most family-friendly towns, according to a new survey released by Family Circle magazine.

After reviewing the traits and amenities for 3,335 cities and towns in the United States, Family Circle determined that Upper Arlington is among the top 10 in which to raise a family with populations ranging from 10,000 to 150,000.

The city, along with the other "10 Best Towns for Families: 2013" is being featured in the magazine's July 2 edition.

"Clearly, we are elated to have received this national recognition," Upper Arlington City Manager Theodore J. Staton said. "UA families already know what a great place our community is for raising children; that's why they are here. It's exciting that we have the opportunity to showcase our great community to a broader audience."

The list of America's 10 best towns for families was compiled with assistance from Onboard Informatics, a New York City-based research firm that provides real estate, demographic and other data.

Criteria for making the top 10 included having high concentrations of households with median incomes between $55,000 and $100,000. Family Circle then assessed which places best met its family-friendly standards, including affordable homes, quality schools, access to health care, green space, low crime rate and financial stability.

According to a representative for the magazine, the towns were included in its top 10, but not ranked among each other.

It found Upper Arlington, with a population of 33,956, had a median income of $91,772 and a median home price of $288,000.

The Upper Arlington school district received the highest possible score of 10 in the "GreatSchools Rating."

Additionally, the magazine noted that 35 percent of Upper Arlington households have children, and it stated community events such as the Upper Arlington Civic Association's July 4 celebration "set this leafy Columbus suburb" apart.

Further, Family Circle lauded the volunteer-driven UACA for "good deeds," including raising some $120,000 annually in private donations to fund gatherings such as the Easter Candy Hunt, Memorial Day Fun Run and Halloween Golden Bear Scare at Smith Nature Park.

"We are, of course, very proud of the excellent services we provide our citizens that provide the foundation for a great community," Staton said.

"Top of the list for a family-friendly community are our exceptional safety services, recreation programming and special events, our parks and our pools.

"But you have to take a look at the whole picture to truly understand why UA made Family Circle's list," he added. "Our schools provide a full range of opportunities that not only give our children a great education but a well-rounded childhood, exposing them to community service, the arts, sports and more.

"Our library system does an exceptional job providing access to books and all manner of new media. The UA Civic Association encapsulates why UA is family-friendly -- it's a grassroots entity comprised of resident volunteers who raise funds from their friends and neighbors to stage numerous family-friendly events and programs throughout the year.

"There are many other civic groups that contribute to this whole."

Other towns making the magazine's top 10 were: Allen, Texas; Boulder City, Nev.; Madison, Ala.; Marion, Iowa; Morton, Ill.; Rio Rancho, N.M.; Suwanee, Ga.; Troy, Mich.; and West Hartford, Conn.

The Family Circle recognition came the same week as NerdWallet.com, a consumer advocacy website, ranked Upper Arlington the eighth-most-educated place in the U.S.

It was the only Ohio city to make the list, which noted, "Upper Arlington distinguishes itself from the rest of the top 10 by having both the highest percentage of residents with bachelor's degrees, at 41.1 percent, and lowest percentage of residents who did not finish high school, at 1.6 percent."

In 2012, Upper Arlington also was ranked the 88th-safest city in America by NeighborhoodScout, a division of Location Inc., which ranks safety in cities with populations of 25,000 or more, based on crimes such as burglary, theft, murder, aggravated assault and armed robbery.

"We are continually looking at how to not just maintain our core services to our residents, but to enhance them," Staton said. "Many of our recent successes have been community ventures and partnerships, such as Sunny 95 Park and the Amelita Mirolo Barn, and most recently, the wonderful partnership project at Barrington Elementary to install an all-access ADA playground for use by all in the community."

Staton said continued cuts in state funding will present growing challenges as the city strives to maintain services and other amenities, but he said the city staff has "been adapting to declining revenues by streamlining operations across the organization."

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