Blogs > Daily Local Dan

A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Best Places to Live

West Goshen Township made Money Magazine's 2009 list of best places to live. Since I became sentient, "best" lists have puzzled me.

Why? Because though they are usually compiled by uninformed and overworked hacks, the general public treats them like scripture.


According to Money, West Goshen has a population of 8,800. According to the 2000 census, its population is around 20,000. (The 2010 number will be higher.)

According to Money, West Goshen's virtues are: quiet suburban feel, nearby shopping centers, an hour's proximity to Philadelphia, four parks (one with an ampitheater), a fitness boot camp for women, field trips for teens, and a summer bicycle parade.

Which means, it sounds like all upper middle class suburban towns. It also sounds like almost every town on Money's list.

The giveaway that Money's list should be taken with a grain of salt is not the population count error; rather, it is that Money overlooked West Goshen's proximity to West Chester Borough - West Goshen surrounds the borough on three sides! The borough is unique enough, I think, to merit mention. It has a university, it is the county seat, it has a ton of historic buildings, and it has one of the best downtowns in the Philadelphia suburbs ... certainly its downtown is more attractive than the nearby shopping centers? And, hey, isn't a pretty big chunk of the university in West Goshen?

West Goshen Township is a nice enough place. I have no qualms. The problem is "best" lists - fortune cookies are more informative.

I write this post because, during yesterday's meeting of the West Goshen supervisors, a woman who was unhappy about the township's plan to take a park and make it into a public works garage used the Money ranking as ammunition. I got to the meeting just as she was launching into:

"Money said we are one of the top ten best places to live in the country. They said it was because of our parks. If we lose one of our parks ..."

And so began a heated discussion between the resident (whose name I did not get) and the township officials.

Labels: ,