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K I finally did it and I have an apt on Washington st. in Medford. My kids are attending St. Francis and love it. The public schools seem to be on the upswing too. What are peoples thoughts on the future of Medford and what are the hoods worth investigating? I have been pleasantly surprised how family friendly Medford is. Thank you for the replies.
I wouldn't call myself exactly bullish on Meffa, but I think its future is bright.
The public schools may be "improving," but they're pretty abysmal at present so it's going to be a while before they can compete with those of Malden and Arlington. Lexington's are in the stratosphere and can't be touched in that geographic vicinity. Keeping the kids on the parochial track would probably be wise. They'll have a good number of high schools in the area to pick from when that time rolls around: Matignon, Arlington Catholic, Pope John...and St John's Prep in Danvers is a "golden ticket" into top colleges for the boys.
I favor the western and northern sections of the city, where Arlington and Winchester are on the other side of the municipal boundary. Medford Hillside is set to take off as the "next hot area" when the MBTA Green Line extension opens. That, and its proximity to the Tufts campus, virtually guarantee this will happen. It's a pleasant, quiet, and safe neighborhood with a lot of spacious and well-maintained mid-20th-century houses. The next community up Boston Ave from there, known as West Medford or "Wes'" for short, is my personal #1 choice within Medford. There's an eclectic assortment of housing - cottages, wedding-cake Victorians, side-by-side duplexes, etc etc - and the rich diversity of its population is still not found all that often in Greater Boston or anywhere. A thirtyish Jewish couple of my acquaintance recently purchased a classic Cape there; whether they'll have kids and then leave on account of the schools is an open question. But they're ecstatic about their move, and are looking forward to having the friendly neighbors from all sorts of cultures (mainly but far from exclusively Italian and AA) Wes' is known for. Another nice aspect of West Medford is that it's fairly self-contained for shopping - no major supermarket, but a decent assortment of grocery/convenience stores as well as the yummy Seafood Depot + dry cleaners + an independent hardware store + liquor stores + its own post office. On the other side of the high school is where you'll find the most upscale section of town, along Main St as it crosses into Winchester. There's also an enclave of fine Victorians closer in toward Medford Square, and yet another south of the square around George St. The remainder of town is heavy on "Italianized" old two-families thrown in close together, but the lack of charm is made up for by the close-knit tendencies of the neighbors. Wellington Circle, bumping against Malden and Everett, is evolving as a popular place for apartment/condo dwellers with its brand-new complexes around the Orange Line station. People like its nearness to the Orange Line as well as to Meadow Glen Mall and the shopping strip that wraps around the rotary on its west side, not to mention the big-box collection called Gateway Plaza just down the road.
In spite of its poor schools, I think Meffa has enough pluses to recommend an investment in property there. Some year when I can afford a housing upgrade, Wes' will be on my short list of areas to look in.
thx goyguy...I find it to be a very tight community as well. It has a distinct "sense of place" unlike other towns I have lived in. I will be looking into the West end when its time to buy as well...if catholic school tuition doesn't kill me first.
Hank Morris, a Saturday a.m. talk host as well as weekday newsman on 96.9 fm talk is from Medford, and I believe is raising his family there. He seems to speak well of it, back then and now, and sometimes makes references in his show to nostalgic Medford landmarks.
Yes, as goyguy mentioned, the apartments and condos at Wellington Circle are popular, with lots of yuppies. Even the adjacent Pizzeria Regina has pasta on its menu, something the original North End spot is too small to offer. Plus, another Boston institution down the road is a Kelly's Roast Beef (and seafood). Even Kiss108 fm is still in the same building near Wellington, I believe.
Isn't optimistic about something's future prospects what "bullish" means?
"Bullish" is more accurately descriptive of unbridled enthusiasm than guarded optimism. Although I was born on the cusp of Taurus, I can't be bullish about Meffa because like many places that're otherwise very desirable to live in the public schools are lousy. That's the eternal dilemma of the urbanophile (if that word didn't exist before, it does now )
There's even a slang term, "six-itis," to describe what happens to folks who were all about being city dwellers until their oldest child neared the age for entering first grade. "I thought Dick and Jane were going to stay in that Victorian of theirs near Davis Square for keeps, but when Sally came home from kindergarten imitating Jay-Z they got six-itis and moved to Wakefield."
When Meffa approaches mid-range on the MCAS's I might grow some horns.
I really think the schools are much better than the perceived reputation of years past. There is a nice stream of yuppie money coming in to Medford. I believe out of all the inner ring burbs/cities of Boston, Medford will have a bright future. I also found the Medford Family Network to be a wonderful resource for young families. Community involvement at its finest.
Goyguy: good stuff in general, except: "It'll be a while before they can compete with Arlington and MALDEN??" First of all, Arlington's schools, while having stronger scores than Medford, are not always so high-powered or such a huge step up. Malden is in NO way socio-economically or educationally higher than Medford, and is actually a bit less on those scales, although Malden is a neat, historical, alright place with some beautiful Victorian showcase neighborhoods of its own and a quite important illustrious past in the world of near-Boston suburbs. My impression re: Medford schools is that each indiv. elementary or middle is kind of it's own thing and some (i.e. Brooks) are pretty strong and run well with concerned, active parents, good teachers and pretty good scores. The new schools, like Brooks, are also very modern and bright and of fairly progressive design. So I wouldn't say 6 is the cutoff of public school "safety" in Medford, even for fairly picky, discerning parents. West Medford, in particular, seems to be having a good influx of educated professionals. As far as high school goes, while some graduate MHS ready to attack all aspects of life and great colleges, admittedly it might hold back or grate on some kids from higher-powered, more intellectual, worldly backgrounds. However, it should be noted that a public charter option exists for Medford residents- they can apply/test in to Mystic Valley Regional Charter in nearby Malden, which apparently has a very strong reputation for seriousness, academic and behavioral discipline and high scores and student success. So, at least at the H.S,. level, academically motivated Medford residents may be able to bypass even the parochial school tuition.
Szenk, just to add a correction about the charter school. Yes, Mystic Valley Regional Charter School accepts students from Medford (plus Wakefield, Malden, Everett, Stoneham and Melrose) and is very highly regarded (in top 50 of Newsweek and US News/Reports top schools in the country) but you do not 'test' into the school. There is a lottery and all you have to do is fill out a form with your child's name, address, date of birth and proof of residency (water bill, tax bill etc). That is it. They draw the names during a lottery and then after slots are filled a waiting list is established. ALSO, important to note, kindergarten is really the only time to get in, you cannot wait until high school. They don't accept kids after 5th grade and the school is so popular that over 400 kids applied for about 100 slots in the last Kindergarten class, so the other 300 were put on the waiting list which carries over year to year. Therefore, if you don't get in for Kindergarten and you have a high waiting list #, you can't get in. It is a long shot and not something one can depend on for a sure option.
I'm bullish on Medford as it is a great town near Boston and will explode once the Green Line is extended.
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