FRANKLIN - Got kids? If so, this might be the town for you, according to Family Circle magazine, which has named Franklin one of the top 10 towns in the country for raising children. The list, announced this week, will be included in the national publication's August issue when it hits stands July 10.
If so, this might be the town for you, according to Family Circle magazine, which has named Franklin one of the top 10 towns in the country for raising children. The list, announced this week, will be included in the national publication's August issue when it hits stands July 10.
"It's good news," said Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting, explaining that it showed officials had been moving Franklin in the right direction. "It's certainly nice that some outside, unbiased folks agreed with us."
Joining Franklin on the list are Castle Rock, Colo.; Diamond Bar, Calif.; Morton Grove, Ill.; Cedar Park, Texas; Derby, Kan.; Kennesaw, Ga.; Cooper City, Fla.; Madison, Miss.; and Chanhassen, Minn.
Family Circle said it had looked for communities that provided "big-city opportunities with suburban charm" and that offered "affordable houses, good jobs, top-rated schools, wide-open spaces and a lot less stress." They also took into account commute times, health care, crime rates, air quality, cultural amenities and volunteerism.
Working with a new New York City research firm, the magazine put together an initial list of 1,850 municipalities with populations between 15,000 and 150,000. Staff then narrowed the list to 800 and then down to the top 10. Franklin was the only New England town chosen.
When told of the honor as she exited the library, resident Linda Godfrey, a transplant, said it was deserved. "It's been a very good place to bring up my kids," she said. "We've all been happy here."
Godfrey moved to Franklin in 1987 after her husband's co-worker tipped him off to the area. Others followed, with the town's population growing from 22,000 in 1990 to more than 32,000 today.
"It was basically a place where we could afford to live the life we wanted to live," Godfrey said. She singled out the town's safety, schools, sports leagues and recreational facilities like the indoor ice rink and the Beaver Pond beach as particularly attractive features.
Despite Franklin's population growth, resident Donna Antonopoulos said, "You still feel a little bit like you're in the country."
Sitting on the porch of her Walnut Avenue home, resident Maureen Allen said the community remained tightly knit.
"In Franklin, you know people," she said, citing easy access to highways and train stations, good parks, a historic library and festivals such as the Fourth of July as other reasons for the town's popularity.
Her daughter, 6-year-old Briana Alexander, agreed with the last factor, repeatedly saying "going to the carnival" is one of her favorite activities.
However, several residents said local officials kept Franklin from being a great town, especially after they asked voters for a $2.7 million Proposition 21/2 override. The measure attracted widespread, but not unanimous, support.
"They way they spend their money," said Jamie Morton, 38. "They spend it improperly."
While Family Circle's honor might put Franklin on the national map, Nutting said Massachusetts residents had long known about the town.
"Why did Franklin grow up so fast?" he asked. "People moved here for a reason."
When asked if he was worried that the list would attract still more newcomers, requiring even more infrastructure development, Nutting joked, "I hoped not." Turning serious, he added, "I don't think it's going to change the landscape."
Michael Morton can be reached at email@example.com or 508-634-7582.