By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News
Bowling Green has been named one of the 10 Best Cities for Families in 2016.
The rating was given by Livability.com, which ranks America’s cities on scales for golf, foodies, college towns, most accessible and more.
Mayor Dick Edwards announced the ranking Monday evening during a council meeting.
“That bodes well for us,” he said, listing the parks, schools and safety services as some of the reasons for the city’s high rating.
“I’m going to start using that tomorrow,” said council member Sandy Rowland, who is a Realtor.
Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said the city did not apply for the award – the website selected it.
“It communicates what kind of community we have,” Fawcett said of the award.
Livability.com used specific criteria to select the cities considered best for families.
“The communities we choose to live in as we raise children are arguably the most important, as they tend to be some of the places we live the longest,” Livability.com stated. So the website created this 10-best list to offer examples of cities that are good places to raise children.
“Many of the key reasons Americans move revolve around doing what’s best for their families. We move at certain key stages – as we get married, as we have kids, as our kids become old enough for school, and as our kids head off to college,” the website said.
The rankings are based on several criteria. “We crunched the data. We looked at the quality of the schools, the crime rate, and measures of the quality of healthcare and economy. We gave points to communities that are walkable, diverse, have lots of parks and active children’s sections in their libraries. We favored communities with shorter commute times (so working parents can be home more and on the road less) and larger populations of other kids to play with.”
Bowling Green was also given high marks for affordability and accessibility.
The city is “surprisingly affordable.” The average cost of a house is a little more than $129,000, compared to the national average of $188,900, according to Livability.com. The city’s cost of living is also lower than the national average.
Bowling Green’s unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than the national rate, and job growth is on the upswing, the website stated. The city also has one of the shortest average commutes of the cities on the list, which means parents can spend more time with their families and less time on the road.
The city is just a 30-minute drive from Toledo, where families can access the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Zoo and Imagination Station.
Closer to home, Bowling Green families can partake in the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival, the Classics on Main Car Show, and downtown trick or treat. Bowling Green State University offers family events such as the planetarium, ice skating, musical performances and athletic competitions.
Fawcett said Bowling Green was in “respectable company,” with the other cities that ranked in the top 10 for families being Palo Alto, California; Homewood, Alabama; St. George, Utah; Oak Park, Illinois; Chula Vista, California; Holland, Michigan; Newton, Massachusetts; Chandler, Arizona; and Rockville, Maryland.