Posted By RichC on September 1, 2015
Three small Ohio cities made Money Magazine’s list of Best Places to Live in 2015. Having lived in neighboring communities to Mason (currently Liberty Township) and both Solon and Twinsburg, Ohio (previously Hudson), I agree that both areas are great places to live and raise a family. Commonalities are that they are growing upscale small towns, incorporating as cities near larger cities, and are populated with residents who embrace Midwestern traditional family values. If you are relocating to either the Cincinnati or Cleveland/Akron areas, and these “commonalities” appeal to you, start your thumb tack search around these small cities.
Mayor David Nichols, former CEO of a publicly-traded manufacturing company, continues his great track record of luring big employers and quality jobs to this suburb north of Cincinnati. Procter & Gamble, which has its beauty and healthcare division here, announced it’s adding 1,400 R&D jobs, and Festo, the German maker of high-tech automation products, is moving most of its U.S. manufacturing to Mason from New York.
The job mix attracts a workforce from all over, and that diversity shows up in Mason’s schools — 27% of students are nonwhite. With more than 3,300 students, Mason High School is the largest in Ohio, but its “bigger is better” approach (67 athletic teams and 80 extracurricular clubs) has consistently landed it in the state’s Top 10 of academic ratings. The schools’ latest boast: The high school’s jazz band will be playing in the Rose Bowl parade in January.
Strip malls and big-box retailers are the norm, but residents regularly flock to what seems to be Mason’s true hub, the 199,000-square-foot community center, one of the state’s largest public facilities.—Vanessa Richardson
On a typical weekday morning, it seems that as many cars make the rush-hour drive into Solon as those doing the 30-minute commute to downtown Cleveland. Among the 800-plus local businesses are divisions of the Cleveland Clinic and Nestlé and the world headquarters of Swagelok, maker of components for gas and fluid systems. The chamber of commerce aims to lure more businesses with tax breaks and job-creation grants.
Both the city and schools are working to teach students skills that could land them a job at one of those local businesses. A Young Innovators Society inspires kids from kindergarten on up to get into STEM fields, and a “Minnow Tank” contest for junior entrepreneurs will make its debut in January.
That doesn’t mean Solon is all work, no play. The town, which already has a popular community orchestra, just launched a band, and there are plenty of parks, trails, and riverside green spaces where locals can go to kick back. –Vanessa Richardson
Located halfway between Akron and Cleveland (a 30- to 45- minute commute in either direction), Twinsburg feels nearly as pastoral as it did in 1819, when twins Moses and Aaron Wilcox offered residents $20 for starting the first school if they agreed to change the settlement’s name to Twinsburg (the annual Twins Days festival, drawing up to 3,000 sets of twins, just celebrated its 40th anniversary).
The leafy parks have trails winding through meadows and woods, with the 4.4-mile Complete Center Valley Loop Trail connecting them all. The small town square transports you back to the 19th century. The downside of that is a lack of shops and restaurants, which means residents have to drive elsewhere for those.
Twinsburg’s first school has grown into five schools that have gotten Ohio’s top marks in academic achievement for the past seven years. Students gets a lot of financial and volunteer support for its athletic teams, music and fine arts programs—the Twinsburg Band Boosters recently donated more than $62,000 for new band uniforms.—Vanessa Richardson
Full article in Money Magazine for Best Places to Live 2015