In case you missed it, last week’s T & G had an article titled “The Grass Isn’t Greener in Westboro” which suggested that Westboro is an old mill town, stuck in a time warp, punishing its homeowners with ridiculously high taxes.
Some of these points actually got me thinking- what does my money get me?
I checked school, crime, home appreciation, recreation spending and a few other rating scales using a variety of search engines and websites. At first, I was thrilled to see that Boston Magazine scored Westborough Schools heads and shoulders above the rest. But I was more than a little surprised to see that Westboro scores just about the same as surrounding towns in a more thorough search of these categories. Sometimes the ‘boro rated a little higher, sometimes a little lower- but basically, all of the towns in the area scored about the same.
So how come I’m paying so much more in my taxes?
The biggest difference that emerged from my search was the average education level of residents in Westborough. Most people (73%) have a college degree or two, and the 2010 US census indicates that Westborough families bring home a few grand more per year than the families in the surrounding towns. What does this have to do with taxes?
As a millennial, I grew up in a town that my classmates affectionately termed a “bubble.” It was a little spot that believed that people- black, white, brown, green or purple- are equal, and have the right to love who they want to love.
(Seriously, I thought that most millennials thought like I did, and wanted a world like my little bubble. Imagine my shock, at 21 years old, when I discovered that there were people in my sociology class who didn’t believe in gay marriage. Wait, what?!)
I’m sure that there is still judgement being passed unjustly in Westboro, but I know that it happens less here than in other parts of the world, or the country. I want my kid to grow up in a place where people aren’t judged on the color of their skin or for who they love. I honestly believe that surrounding towns have great cultures, too, (all evidence suggests thay do!) but I want my kid to be raised in “the bubble.”
I also have to admit that I want to raise my kid in a place that is convenient. The 5th Dunkin Donuts is going in around the corner, we have over 40 restaurants, two indoor golf places, three different CSAs, three kid gyms and…. well, anything a suburban mom could ever want is less than ten minutes from my door.
Westboro has great access to 495 and 90; it also has truly awful traffic at the rotary that is compounded by the Harvey’s Dump traffic Scott mentioned in his article last week.
But what Scott clearly missed in his review of the town is it’s character. This is a town that promotes the arts, recreation and family. This is a town where family businesses survive in a market driven by internet deals and national chains. Westboro is… mine.