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We made the top 10!

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Bedford named among best towns to live in by Web site

By Tom Wilmoth

Bedford has been named a Top 10 Small Town by Livability.com, a national Web site that highlights more than 500 of America’s best places to live and visit.

    The fictional TV town of Mayberry still represents the ideal small town – a close-knit community with low crime, a slower pace and wholesome fun. For the Livability.com Top 10 Small Towns list, editors set out to uncover the Mayberrys of 2012 – places where life can still be simple, quiet and complete, but with more places for residents to gather other than the local barber shop.
    Editors narrowed down 500 cities on Livability.com to those with 25,000 or fewer residents. They then looked at median household incomes and home prices, crime rates, unemployment rates, average commutes and distances to large cities. They also considered the quantity and quality of each town’s lifestyle advantages.
    “At   Livability.com,   our mission is to highlight those great places in between the big cities. You won’t find New York or Los Angeles on the Web site, but you will find towns with desirable quality of life amenities, such as natural beauty, a thriving arts and cultural scene, ample outdoor recreation and a solid business climate,” said John Hood, Livability.com spokesman.
    In announcing the list, the editors of Livability.com noted that Bedford gives its residents “a quiet escape, a true sense of community, patriotism, and opportunities to enjoy amazing scenery and outdoor adventures.”
    Bart Warner, Bedford assistant city manager, got the news of the honor via email.
    “We have a lot of neat offerings very close by that other towns our size just don’t have,” Warner said. “The number of opportunities for a place our size are really extraordinary.”
    But the honor isn’t a surprise to Warner.
    “It’s a nice affirmation of some things we have always believed are true,” he said, noting he makes that statement as both an employee and resident of the city. “Bedford is just a great place to live. ...There’s no other place I should live. I think we’re number one.”
    He said Bedford is a place worth caring about.
    “I feel blessed to live here and I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment,” he said. “It’s a recognition that Bedford is a real special place.”
    And Warner sees the honor as having potential long-range benefits.
    “It certainly benefits us in terms of economic development. This certainly ought to help in that regard,” he said.
    The Web site stated that Bedford’s crime rate is well below the national average, and the median home price is $127,476. “Bedford’s historic Centertown features a collection of shops and restaurants as well as a farmers market,” the Web site stated. “There are a number of cultural attractions in Bedford, including the National D-Day Memorial, which attracts more than 70,000 visitors each year.”
    The Web site noted that Bedford “has a strong, diversified economy, with a mix of industry, commerce, tourism and agriculture. In 2011, the 25,000-square-foot Center for Advanced Engineering and Research opened within The New London Business and Technology Center, a technology-focused development situated on 500 wooded acres.”
    It also noted that Teva Pharmaceuticals, InService America and Georgia Pacific are major employers in Bedford, and The Central Virginia Community College and the Region 2000 Career Center provide opportunities for residents to further their education.
    Bedford Tourism Director Sergei Troubetzkoy submitted Bedford’s nomination to the Web site.
    “It certainly adds some local pride to those who live here,” Troubetzkoy said. “I think it’s really kind of neat.”
    What else did the Web site note about Bedford: “The Little Town Players theatre group, skateboard park, eight local golf courses, 10 area parks, 11 nearby campgrounds and 40 restaurants.
    “Located near Smith Mountain Lake, the James River, the Peaks of Otter, the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Parkway, the city is surrounded by apple orchards, wineries and trails that lead to impressive views. Third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, chose to build his personal retreat, Poplar Forest, in the nearby community of Forest,” it stated.
    The Top 10 Small Towns list included: 1. Papillion, NE; 2. Golden, CO; 3. Brattleboro, VT; 4. Boerne, TX; 5. Chardon, OH; 6. Bedford, VA; 7. Yankton, SD; 8. Clive, IA; 9. Danville, KY; 10. Sheridan, WY.