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Mayor Keith Killion says the rankings are a welcome honor in tough economic times.
Mayor Keith Killion says the rankings are a welcome honor in tough economic times.
Posted: Monday August 15, 2011, 11:59 PM
Top 100: Money Magazine names Ridgewood among top 100 towns to live
By EVONNE COUTROS of The Record

Money Magazine has ranked the village of Ridgewood in the 100 top places in the country to live.

“We’re 26th and I’m not surprised because this town has wonderful schools, is a great place to raise children, and has fine dining and shopping,” said Mayor Keith Killion, a lifelong resident of the village. “Residents move into Ridgewood looking for these exact reasons to raise families here.”

Killion says the rankings are a welcome honor in tough economic times.

“I know we’ve received other similar awards but it’s the first to my knowledge in Money,” he said. “I don’t know the basis and haven’t done any research into why, but we’re thrilled…I’m sure it will raise awareness that Ridgewood is one of the top places.”

In choosing Ridgewood, the magazine noted: “This Bergen County town has a relatively strong economy and many affluent residents. Lots of them work in Manhattan’s financial sector (it’s a relatively easy commute to the city by rail). Ridgewood’s school district is a big draw: It’s one of the highest ranking in the state. Its downtown features specialty shops and more than 50 restaurants catering to every palate. And it’s dotted with buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.”

Louisville, Colo., topped the list in the magazine’s September issue. The others in the top five are Milton, Mass., Solon, Ohio, Leesburg, Va., and Papillion, Neb.

“These terrific small towns stand out in the qualities American families care about most - great job opportunities, top-notch schools, safe streets, economic strength, nice weather, plenty to do, and more,” the editors noted.

In New Jersey, Montville ranked the highest, at 17th place. The other New Jersey towns were: South Brunswick, 22, Madison 33 and Hillsborough at 53.

The magazine also ranked the towns from one to 25 according to places with the most affordable homes, shortest commutes and job growth, but New Jersey failed to make those lists.

Franklin Lakes and Warren Township, however, made the list of the 25 towns nationwide with the highest median incomes.

And Edgewater, along with Madison and Montclair, ranked in the top 25 for towns with the most affluent single residents.

Ridgewood’s ranking drew a “wow” from Joan Groome, executive director of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce.

“It means that people should start coming to town and shop and dine in the country’s finest,” Groome said. “Ridgewood since September 11 has been hit hard economically and about three to four years ago the town was looking a little bleak, but we’re getting new restaurants, new shops, businesses, and boutique stores. We’re alive and well over here.”

Charles Reilly, a member of the school board, gave the ranking a thumbs up.

“That’s pretty good and this clearly lets people know Ridgewood is a place to look if they’re considering moving,” Reilly said. They’ll enjoy a sound education and quality of life.

“The village is a very sound place to live,” he said. “Property taxes are a concern for people but those who value education are willing to pay what’s necessary for a top rate school system. The district is still trying to weather a difficult economic situation but still is able to deliver a high quality education and quality of life.”

Ridgewood by the numbers

Population: 24,958
Median 2010 home price: $692,500
Median family income: $164,600
Average family size: 3.4 people
Homeowners: 67 percent
Married households: 69 percent
Adults with college degrees: 73 percent
Children in public school: 90 percent
High school graduates going to four-year colleges: 87 percent
Average SAT score: 1773

Source: U.S. Census Bureau; New Jersey Education Department; New Jersey Treasury Department

E-mail: coutros@northjersey.com

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