Home Values

His name is Roscoe. Six years ago, the St. Bernard on our cover was a Father's Day present to Ken Bray, production manager at Ohio Magazine (our sister magazine at Great Lakes Publishing). At almost 140 pounds, athletic and eager to sit on your lap, Roscoe is also one of the reasons Bray appreciates his South Euclid neighborhood.

The duo walk about a mile each morning, and the town's abundant sidewalks, nearby parks and pet activities make the stroll easier. Bray and his wife, Wanda, also love the suburb's diversity, affordability and proximity to shopping, entertainment and downtown.

Certainly, many factors go into any decision about where to live. That's why our annual Rating the Suburbs feature provides statistics on Northeast Ohio's schools, safety, taxes, community services and much more. Like many homebuyers, Karen Siat (a freelance stylist who appears on our cover, gardening) chose to live in Mentor for two of the major factors in our rankings. "The schools are excellent and crime is low," she says.

But there are things numbers can't capture. Cleveland Magazine advertising director Tiffany Myroniak (she's the one bringing lemonade to her soccer-playing daughters on pages 146-147) wanted a nice backyard, sidewalks and proximity to a park. She and her husband landed in Sagamore Hills near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. "The neighborhood has wonderful paths and sidewalks, and a playground and community pool within walking distance," she says.

Yes, the vibe of a community matters. Michael Wankowski, a magazine sales executive who's pictured manning the grill, chose Ohio City for that reason. He loves the West Side neighborhood (though it's not in our rankings) for its youthful lifestyle. "All I really wanted was to be surrounded by young professionals and good people," he says.

There's little doubt that as the housing market continues to find its wobbly legs, people gravitate toward strong neighborhoods. Check out the home sale figures for Bay Village (this year's No. 1 suburb), Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, for example.Or just ask Myroniak her favorite thing about where she lives. "The community, our neighbors," she says simply. And that's something even Roscoe can agree with.

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