By JOHN MUNFORD
Peachtree City has again earned a national accolade as one of the best places to live in the United States.
MONEY magazine and CNN/MONEY ranked Peachtree City eighth in the country among cities with more than 14,000 people. The "Best Places" list was compiled by weighing data such as economics, education and safety factors, which counted twice as much as arts, leisure and park space. MONEY writers also consulted residents and community leaders.
In its online write-up, CNN/MONEY credited the quality of the school system and the low crime rate. Also noted was the structure of the city, which includes four villages and the famous golf cart path system, which stretches for more than 80 miles.
"Despite tremendous sprawl around Atlanta over the past decade, Peachtree City bursts with green, thanks to a rule that limits development and commercial signage," the article notes. The August magazine features the magazine´s accounting of its rankings, including details about the Top 10 and Top 100. The magazine will be on newsstands Monday, July 25.
The information is available online at www.money.com/bestplaces.
Data used for the survey came from OnBoard, a private company that maintains a database of nearly 40,000 cities.
"We wanted to identify places where you would want to raise your family and build your career - places with good schools, safe streets, economic opportunity and plenty of arts and leisure activities," said MONEY Managing Editor Eric Schurenberg. "America´s 100 Best Places to Live all offer those things."
Peachtree City Mayor Steve Brown escorted MONEY representatives around town several weeks ago, on short notice: the company gave a 10-minute advance warning they were dropping in at City Hall.
"I took her around the city and talked it up," Brown said, adding that the selection was a "great" honor.
The only other Georgia city that made the Top 100 list was Evans, near Augusta on the state´s eastern border with South Carolina.
The accolade from MONEY comes on the heels of the study of the city´s cart path system being presented to the international community by a former Georgia Tech professor, Brown noted. He thinks the city´s efforts on its image outside the city are working, including the marketing plan, new slogan and logos and the use of the city´s Tourism Association.
"We´ve really worked hard to do this kind of thing and it´s paying big dividends," Brown said.
Moorestown, N.J. was named the best place to live by MONEY, followed in order by Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Naperville, Ill.; Vienna, Va.; Louisville, Colo.; Barrington, R.I.; and Middleton, Wis. Mill Valley, Calif. rounded out the top 10.
MONEY, published by Time, Inc. is the country´s largest financial publication with a circulation of 1.9 million.
"I knew we had a chance being in the top 10 after I had given the Money Magazine crew a tour a month ago," said Brown upon hearing the news.
Various criteria are used to determine how a city ranks as one of the best places to live. Peachtree City was one of only two Georgia cities to make it into the top 100. "The one thing that stands out about Peachtree City is that we deliver an incredible quality of life at a very affordable price," said Brown. Peachtree City had a lower sales tax, auto insurance premium, and average home price than the average of the 100 best cities.
In June, Peachtree City received international attention as the focus of a study conducted by the University College London. The study examined the city´s extensive multi-use path system. The study´s author, Dr. Ruth Conroy-Dalton, described Peachtree City as the "blue-print of a ?protopia,´ presenting a principle by which American suburbia could be transformed into sustainable communities." Dr. Conroy-Dalton also pointed out that the multi-use path system has a number of social, economic, and environmental benefits that make Peachtree City an example for other urban areas to follow.
"We have done a lot in the last three years to promote the virtues of the Peachtree City lifestyle and those efforts have certainly paid off with increased funding opportunities and national recognition," said Brown. "Our goal now is to do our best to preserve the preserve the assets within our city that make it special for our future generations."