Topping the list for 2013 in Pennsylvania was, you guessed it, Cranberry Township.
Cranberry manager Jerry Andree said township officials were excited by the designation.
“It’s a major validation of our public policies that we’ve been implementing for a number of years,” he said. “We want this to be the best place to live.”
When ranking the communities, Bloomberg took into account public school performance, safety, housing costs, commute time, poverty, adults’ educational attainment, share of households with children, and diversity.
To gauge the local job market, Bloomberg also weighed median income and unemployment rates.
Cranberry was chosen in part for its vibrant economy. The article specifically mentioned Verizon, Alcoa and Westinghouse, which is headquartered in the township.
“Cranberry has a public golf course and a water park, charming even the most committed urban émigrés from Pittsburgh,” the article said.
Andree credited planning for the township’s long-term future as key to the community’s success. It wasn’t always that way. Back in the early 1990s, Cranberry, once a quiet, rural community, was starting to grow in a haphazard way, he said.
Setting a course for major change, the township’s board of supervisors implemented a plan mapping out the community’s future, including many of the parks and recreation activities residents enjoy today, Andree said.
Cranberry also put into place a streetscape enhancement ordinance, which requires builders to add extensive landscaping, sidewalks, streetlights and benches to new developments in the community.
Andree said the area’s amenities are what helped attract major employers, including Westinghouse and Mine Safety Appliances, to the area. Both are located in the Cranberry Woods business park, which Andree described as a “world-class” office park.
“We’ve always said that if we create a great place to live, major employers will want to come to the place where the people want to live,” he said.
Bloomberg examined more than 3,200 places nationwide with populations from 5,000 to 50,000 when creating the rankings. Also making the list were Solon, Ohio (near Cleveland) and Norwood, N.J. For all the rankings, click here.
What do you think? What are some of the amenities that helped attract you to Cranberry? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.