Madison Ranked 24 In Top 100 Best Small Towns
By Chelsea Opong-Wadeer
Home to the Rangers of Drew University, a population of 16,021 individuals, and also known as “The Rose City” Madison was ranked 24 in the Top 100 Best Small Towns in the U.S. for 2015.
Established in 1889, Madison has offered outstanding educational opportunities, ranging from K-12 and college years, and has brought many cultural and historical attractions to the public as well.
The rankings established by niche.com factor in aspects such as the town’s school systems, crime rate, and overall look and feel for people to call home. Niche’s methodology weighed nine different factors; these nine included the few mentioned before, plus age demographics, access to grocery stores, day care centers and libraries.
According to Niche’s website, each year it computes these rankings to help people discover and compare what a place is really like for permanent residence and educational purposes.
“To be honest, we didn’t even realize we were going to receive this ranking,” said Mayor Robert H. Conley of Madison.
“There is a mixture of things that I believe made us qualified according to their requirements,” he said, “like having universities such a Drew, parts of Fairleigh Dickenson, and some of Elizabeth it gives the community more ways to get involved around town.”
Conley is currently in his fourth year as mayor of Madison, and has plans to seek reelection in Nov. He has two boys who have gone through the Madison School District; one who recently graduated from the University of Vermont and the other who is about to enter into his senior year at Colgate University.
“The Madison School District really did prepare them for their college studies,” he said.
Lisa Ellis, president of the board of education in Madison, described Madison as “awesome.”
“I think Madison has a unique sense of community, commitment to its citizens, and a beautiful downtown,” she said. “To me the school systems have always been outstanding and always strive to meet the needs of the students to be better.”
Ellis has had five kids go through the Madison school district since the summer of 1989 to June of 2013. She explained how Madison schools 100 percent prepared her children for where they are now, because they offer such a strong foundation in all academic areas.
As well as being the president of the board of education, Ellis also holds the position as Madison’s Downtown Development Commissioner. Since 2008, Ellis has worked to sponsor many events held in Madison, such as the Madison Farmers’ Market and May Day.
According to Conley, May Day takes place on the first Sat. in May where residents volunteer their time to help clean up Madison and help to make it the place it is today. May Day can bring out up to 1,000 volunteers each year.
“That’s one of the things I like most about being mayor of Madison,” he said. “The way the residents have a sense of community and are always there to help, and have stories on how they help other residents around town.”
In the previous years, Madison has been ranked in the Top 100 in Money Magazine in 2011 and has been ranked as one of the safest communities in 2014.
“We never take anything for granted,” Conley explained. “We know that if we don’t have excellent relationships with all parts of the town then we can’t flourish.”