Rowland Unified School District

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Business Magazine Names Rowland Heights State's Top Community

Business magazine names Rowland Heights state's top community

By Juliette Funes, Staff Writer

Kimo Morris, with wife April Hiraki-Morris, a graduate of Rowland High School and Mt. SAC, and their daughter Jade, a fifth-grader at Blandford Elementary School, at the top of Vantage Point in the hills of Rowland Heights on Dec. 24. 2010. (Courtesy Photo)

ROWLAND HEIGHTS - A top weekly business magazine recently named this unincorporated community as the top spot in California to raise children.

In its fifth annual survey, Bloomberg Businessweek focused its 2011 ranking on small cities, towns and villages based on cost of living, education, job growth and crime statistics.

The magazine evaluated 5,418 middle income communities nationwide. Rowland Heights came in first in the state, while Temple City was runner-up.

"It has a lot to do with its character. Rowland Heights is not a dump," said 12-year resident Kimo Morris. "It's a relatively nice place that a small-knit community has helped maintain. We're not a city, yet we're able to maintain the quality of life."

With a population of 46,793, median family income of $72,985 and relatively low crime rates compared to surrounding cities, Rowland Heights has become a desirable place live, said people who live there.

"Families are always looking for good places to send their children to school, as well as other extra curricular activities, and because of that sense of community I can see why it's one of the top places to raise families," said Heidi Gallegos, chief executive officer of the Regional Chamber of Commerce San Gabriel Valley.

"It's a healthy environment to raise children. It's a place where families feel safe," added Gallegos, who is also president of the Rowland Unified School District school board.

The schools, the cost of living and the affordability of homes drove Morris and his family to the area in 1998.

"Since it wasn't possible for us to live in the beach cities it was an obvious thing to come back to Rowland Heights, where the schools are great, the restaurants and businesses are fantastic, and the fact that we're near the freeways, but not too close to them," he said.

Having access to major freeways, including the 60, 57 and 605, residents are in close proximity to large cities like Los Angeles, and theaters and the recreational facilities nearby.

The magazine also took into account ethnic diversity. The community was traditionally composed mostly of white and Latino families, but thousands of Asians families have moved their the last 20 years.

"While Rowland Heights has transitioned in its demographic, you still see all facets of the community represented," Morris said. "We're still a tight-knight community despite the fact that we're so diverse."

juliette.funes@sgvn.com

626-962-8811, ext. 2446

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