Months after Butler County was singled out by a national magazine for hosting one of the best small towns in America, another national magazine has applied a "best" label to a second Butler County community.
Cranberry has been designated by Bloomberg Businessweek as the "best place to raise kids in Pennsylvania."
In the Dec. 18 issue of the prestigious publication, a Bloomberg writer notes:
"Cranberry ... is no longer merely a bedroom community for Pittsburgh. The town's economy is buoyed by such companies as Westinghouse, Alcoa (AA), and Verizon, which have operations in the town. Cranberry has a public golf course and a water park, charming even the most committed urban émigrés from Pittsburgh."
The article explained that Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg Rankings evaluated more than 3,200 places nationwide with populations between 5,000 and 50,000, evaluating public school performance, safety, housing costs, commute time, poverty, adults' educational attainment, share of households with children and diversity.
The local job market was gauged by looking at median income and unemployment rates. Sources of the information included GreatSchools.org, the FBI, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bruce Mazzoni, chairman of the Cranberry board of supervisors, said he was "thrilled" by the notoriety and agrees with Bloomberg's conclusion.
"This is a great place to raise children. The best,'' said Mr. Mazzoni who, along with his wife Connie, raised two daughters in Cranberry. He said the success of the community is based in the partnership between the township and its community organizations.
"There's no doubt that Cranberry is what it is because of a partnership between the township and the community itself,'' he said. He said an ongoing effort to build a new playground in the Route 19 community park - a partnership between Cranberry and at least two civic organizations - the Cranberry CUP and the Cranberry Township Community Chest - is an example of how people come together to give the township the attributes that would garner such a designation as the one the township has garnered from Bloomberg Businessweek.
In May 2012, Cranberry's neighbor to the north - the city of Butler - appeared on Smithsonian's list of the 20 best small towns in America. A journal of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., the magazine listed Butler as seventh on the list of towns "worth traveling to." The Smithsonian looked for places with museums, historic sites, botanic gardens, resident orchestras, art galleries - the kinds of assets emblematic of a big city but in towns with populations of less than 25,000.
The following is an excerpt from Smithsonian regarding Butler: "Mines and factories come to mind when people think about western Pennsylvania, but forests and farms stretch across the state, punctuated by small towns like the seat of Butler County north of Pittsburgh in the Allegheny River watershed. Butler (pop. 13,800) is an American classic that grew up along a trail blazed by George Washington, sent in 1753 to discourage French settlement along the frontier. Farmers followed, giving the region its country character and prized hand-built barns.
"The town serves as a business and cultural hub, with its own baseball team, thriving downtown, community symphony, theater and barbershop chorus. The Maridon Museum, founded by local philanthropist Mary Hulton Phillips, houses an excellent collection of Asian art, and the Butler County Historical Society maintains an old settler's cabin, schoolhouse and the landmark 1828 Lowrie Shaw House.
"Butler owes its star on the map to the Jeep, invented just before World War II at the American Bantam Car Company and still celebrated in August at the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival."
In 1996, Money Magazine called Cranberry one of the country's "Hottest Little Boom Towns." And in 2005, Money placed it on lists of best places to live and best places to retire.
Karen Kane: firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-772-9180.