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Money magazine names Berkley one of the best places to live

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published August 26, 2015

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BERKLEY — Nestled between several other cities on the west side of Woodward Avenue, north of Detroit, Berkley may not be the first place people think of moving to when they think of Michigan, but according to Money magazine, it should be.

Money magazine, published by Time Inc., released its annual “Best Places to Live” list for 2015 with a focus on small cities across the country. The magazine looked at a city’s economy, housing market and schools when creating the list.

Berkley came in at No. 28 on the 50-city list, with the magazine pointing out the city’s walkable downtown, schools and proximity to Woodward as big reasons to live in the city.

“I was enormously pleased, because recognition from Money magazine is a fairly exciting acclamation of the steps we have introduced over the past decade to move Berkley forward,” Mayor Phil O’Dwyer said. “I am pleased an organization of that significance recognized what we have tried to achieve. It is a step-by-step process that didn’t happen overnight.”

Berkley was the only city from Michigan represented on the list. Apex, North Carolina, took the top spot.

According to Money magazine, Berkley, which has a population of just over 15,000, has a median housing value of about $150,000 and an average income of nearly $68,000. The magazine also said that the job growth in the city is at 11 percent.

Noting the Woodward Dream Cruise and the walkable downtown, the magazine said Berkley has several places to shop and many things to do in and around the city.

“We are blessed to be in a perfect location adjacent to Woodward Avenue and near Beaumont Hospital and a variety of major universities,” O’Dwyer said. “We have freeway access close into the city of Detroit. We have a comparable location to other cities, but we are fortunate to have great city employees, businesses and residents who work to make our city distinct.”

O’Dwyer said that being on a list like this and having the downtown district and location noted would bring attention to Berkley from potential businesses and residents.

“We have encouraged businesses to invest in our downtown and attract that walkable nature,” he said. “We want people to leave their homes and wander into downtown by walking or riding their bikes and seeing their neighbors. We have a positive and optimistic vision for how Berkley can continue to grow.”

Money magazine cited the Berkley School District as a reason for potential residents to move to Berkley, as the district has been recognized for its results.

Superintendent Dennis McDavid said strong offerings for all students are what he feels sets the Berkley School District apart from others.

“We have an incredible staff, great teachers and great administrators who are proud that we try to reach every kid where they are,” he said. “We try to help them achieve personal excellence, which means different things for different kids. For some it could be AP classes, and others it could be a vocational education, while others it may be peer mentoring. We are really proud that we offer a whole range of things for kids across the spectrum.”

McDavid said the school district wouldn’t be nearly as successful without the support of the city and the community.

“Our partnership with the city on a whole range of things is working, and to have great schools you need a great community, and to have a great community you need great schools,” he said. “Our parents and community support us all, and it makes Berkley a great place to live and work. We are very fortunate to be in Berkley and get this great support.”

While it is the current Berkley city staff and community that gets to enjoy the most recent recognition, O’Dwyer said it has taken years and many people to grow Berkley into what it is today.

“The recognition belongs to everyone,” he said. “City Council, prior city councils and staff worked to give this city a competitive edge. I am proud to serve as Berkley’s mayor, as not a single thing that we have achieved would have happened without a collaborative effort from everyone in our community.”

For more information on Money magazine’s “Best Places to Live,” visit www.time.com/money/collection/best-places-to-live-2015/the-top-50.

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