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10 Best Towns for Families: 2012


Bay Village, Ohio

Bay Village, Ohio

Population: 15,363
Median Income: $80,667
Median Home Price: $187,750
Households with Kids: 35%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 16:1
Great Schools Rating: 10

No matter what event Stacey and Phil Nye are attending—a local fundraiser, a concert in the park, bowling night—the outing often turns into a class reunion of sorts. "We're third-generation Bay Villagers, and a lot of the people we graduated with came back after college to raise a family, just like we did," says Phil, 48, who owns a plastics factory. People are drawn to this Cleveland suburb's idyllic setting—white picket fences, tree-lined streets and a 5-mile wooded shoreline on Lake Erie—as well as a school district that consistently ranks among the top 5% in the state. With small class sizes and caring teachers, students reap the benefits. That includes the Nyes' sons, Kevin, 22, Jeff, 20, and P.J., 17, who have also embraced the community's can-do spirit. When Kevin wanted to start a lacrosse team in eighth grade and his school didn't have the funds, he recruited friends, a coach and sponsors to donate $10,000. Today there's not only a high school varsity squad and junior varsity crew but a girls' team too. "People are open to possibilities here," says Stacey, 47, who runs a catering company. "They'll rally behind what's needed and get the job done."

Good Deeds: Arts education is a group effort here. BAYarts, the community cultural center, is supported by $70,000 in annual contributions from residents, and volunteers and local businesses pitch in to manage its galleries and gardens.