Irvine Named among 10 Best Places to Live
By LISA LIDDANE / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
When Mary Cope decided in the spring to move closer to family members who lived in Costa Mesa and Irvine, she had her selection of areas: Tustin Ranch, Orange, Lake Forest or Irvine.
After researching her top choices, she bought a 1,600-square-foot townhouse in a gated community in northwest Irvine for all the reasons that, according to the latest issue of Money magazine, make the city the sixth best place to live in the nation.
1. Carmel, Ind.
2. McKinney, Texas
3. Eden Prairie, Minn.
4. Newton, Mass.
5. Redmond, Wash.
7. Reston, Va.
8. Columbia/Ellicott City, Md.
9. Overland Park, Kan.
10. Chapel Hill, N.C.
Irvine is the most populous – with an estimated 223,000 residents.
“These terrific small cities offer what American families care about most – strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and plenty to do. And they’re true communities, too,” according to the Money magazine description of the 10 winners.
In including Irvine, the magazine cited the following: “Thanks to smart planning, this big city can feel surprisingly small. The 40-year-old community is divided into 40 ‘villages,’ and a minimum of five acres of park space is added for every 1,000 newcomers. Home prices are high, but new development is creating more affordable options – along with new schools, bike paths, and green spaces.”
It’s the second time in the seven years the magazine has compiled the list that Irvine has landed in the top 10; in 2008, the city ranked fourth, the first time an Orange County city was included.
“Obviously, we are honored to be ranked in the top 10,” said Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang. “It’s a culmination of the community’s efforts.
“There are a lot of pieces to making it a livable city. Our City Council’s priorities give us a roadmap to follow: number one, to ensure the city is clean and well-maintained; two, to keep it safe from visible disorder and deterioration; three, to promote a prosperous business climate; and four, to provide cost-effective and responsive services to residents.”
Such city attributes were not lost on Cope, 65, who said that despite the traffic and big blocks of residential areas in Irvine, the city’s streets are easy to traverse. “Irvine is laid out so well because it was planned with cars in mind,” she said.
Beyond the master-planned design, Cope said the city’s reputation for being safe and the many opportunities for continuing education sealed the deal for her.
As for the stereotype that Irvine is cookie-cutter, beige and bland, Cope said, “That doesn’t bother me.”
What matters to her: the city’s many parks, every one of which she plans to visit within a year with 16-month-old granddaughter, Elissa Cope.
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