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OUR VIEW: Award gives Suwanee a great image

Most folks are proud of the place they call home, but when outsiders feel the same way about their city, it's even more flattering. That's the compliment the city of Suwanee received this week when Money Magazine named it one of the America's best places to live.

The honor, which recognized cities with populations between 7,500 and 50,000, was announced Monday on "The Today Show," and the report will be featured in the August addition of the magazine. The designation speaks highly of the city, which was lauded for, among other things, its greenspace.

Suwanee Town Center Park is the highlight of that greenspace, which was increased when residents voted in 2001 to raise property taxes by nearly 140 percent as a way of keeping the city from being overbuilt. That decision helped Suwanee grow its greenspace from 28 acres to 270.

Jennifer Merritt, special projects manager for Money Magazine, said the person who researched Suwanee for the report had high praise. After the list was cut from nearly 3,000 to 25, reporters were sent to each of the remaining cities.

"The reporter came back and said: 'I would never want to go back and live in the South, but I'd love to live there,'" Merritt said.

Merritt said Suwanee also gained points for its diversity and its sense of community. Other barometers used were economic vitality, job availability, safety, residents' health and cultural amenities.

All that adds up to a nice pat on the back for Suwanee and its residents, who Mayor Nick Masino said: "have known for a long time that Suwanee is a great place to live."

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