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Waldorf has been named one of the best places to live by CNN Money magazine.
The largest town in Charles County ranked 20th of 100 cities on the magazine’s “Best Places to Live” list, which ranks America’s best small cities based on median household income, job growth, housing prices, test scores, crime rates, restaurants in the area and other statistics.
CNN Money credits Waldorf as “the major retail spot in Southern Maryland” thanks to the St. Charles Towne Center mall’s renovation in 2007. The publication also praises the town’s lower median housing prices in the “ultra-pricey East Coast corridor.”
CNN Money lists Waldorf as having a median housing price of $189,900 versus $269,768 for the average median housing price among the top 100 best places to live.
“The welcoming vibe and safe streets attract buyers in search of home bargains too,” CNN Money states in its assessment of Waldorf.
The assessment lists Waldorf with two personal crime incidents per 1,000 and nine property crime incidents per 1,000 compared to two personal and 20 property crime incidents per 1,000 for the average crime rate on the top 100 list, based on the FBI’s 2011 universal crime and incidence reports.
Local leaders had high praise for the rankings.
“I think that is great information for our county, more specifically, outstanding information for Waldorf. I think it is telling in a lot of ways. It is a reflection of the quality of life that exists in Waldorf. It is safe to say it is a suburban environment with proximity to the District of Columbia and its major attractions. We have good schools and safe neighborhoods. I think that is significant that a national publication would recognize our community,” said Charles County Commissioner Reuben B. Collins II (D), who resides in Waldorf and serves as the District 3 commissioner covering much of Waldorf.
Collins said that the ranking is good for the psyche of Waldorf and should be “touted and highlighted.”
“As we continue to develop that area using the urban design study that will include rapid transit, it will make it an even more liveable area. I think it’s exciting news for us,” he added.
Craig Renner, St. Charles spokesman and president-elect of the Charles County Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks Waldorf’s ranking could have been higher.
“It's great that they recognized that our community offers great value in housing compared to the [Washington,] D.C. region, and that we are a growing and vibrant place to live. But I think if they had seen and included some of the things they overlooked — our miles of hiker-biker trails and proximity to the Indian Head Rail Trail, the great things that are offered at White Plains Park, a ball game with the Blue Crabs, the renovated movie theater, and schools on the way like St. Charles High School — then our ranking would have improved. Waldorf generally, and St. Charles specifically, is a great place to live, and it's great to see our community and by extension our county get the positive recognition it deserves,” Renner said.
“In the best of all worlds, people enjoy living where they can work, shop, obtain services, find good schools and reasonably priced housing and Waldorf has it all, in addition to being very close to other metropolitan areas and many recreation amenities,” said Betsy Burian, the executive director of the Charles chamber.
“I think it’s a positive thing. It lets us know Charles County is working in the right direction. Waldorf has always been a commutable place to D.C., which has always made it an attractive place to live,” said Paul Fenton, president of the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, adding that housing prices are affordable in Waldorf, it being outside of the Washington, D.C., beltway.
Other local cities on the list include Reston, Va. (seventh), Columbia/Ellicott City (eighth), Centreville, Va. (17th), Gaithersburg (23rd) and Germantown (24th).
In Virginia, Ashburn (30th), Arlington (45th) and Dale City (46th) also made the list.
To learn more
The complete list of CNN Money’s “Best Places to Live” is available at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-places/2012/top100.