A. Lee Graham
Plano has ranked fifth on the newly released Top 10 Cities for Kids 2014, conducted by Livability.com, which ranks quality of life and travel amenities of the nation’s small and mid-sized cities.
No other Texas cities made the list.
Results noted that almost half of all Plano restaurants offer children’s menus. And nearly 28 percent of Plano households include school-age children. Schools rank well, and the crime rate is almost half the national average.
“Plano has a well-established heritage of being a family-friendly community,” said Mark Thompson, director of the Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau in a news release.
“The city’s infrastructure of recognized schools, abundance of parks and recreation facilities, and presence of kid-centric restaurants and entertainment help make Plano an attractive destination to live, work, and play,” Thompson said.
Plano’s 83 public parks collectively span more than 4,000 acres. More than 11,000 children participate in the Plano Youth Soccer Association, and the city maintains several soccer complexes, which helped it land on Livibility.com’s Top 10 Soccer Cities, as well.
In compiling its list, Livibility.com first identified cities with high concentrations of school-age children, then took a look at how their schools stacked up and analyzed health factors like childhood mortality rates, health insurance coverage, crime rates and access to healthy food options.
Next, cost of living was considered. The intent was not find ingthe least expensive places to live, but rather communities where the
average salary more than comfortably covered the cost of housing and most living expenses, according to Livability.com. The website worked with Food Genius, a company that provides data and insight solutions to the food industry, in researching its database and find the percentage of restaurants that feature children’s menus.
Lastly, Livibility.com sought cities with many parks, playgrounds, libraries and recreational venues geared specifically for children. Many of the places found are suburbs of larger cities that offer even more things to do, but these towns have their own school systems and offer a slower pace and small-town vibe.
What other cities were named on the Top 10 Best Cities for Kids 2014 is available at http://livability.com/top-10/top-10-best-cities-kids-2014