COMMUNITY SNAPSHOT

Bedford

Geese on Fawn Lake, part of the 25-acre Fawn Lake Conservation Area.
Geese on Fawn Lake, part of the 25-acre Fawn Lake Conservation Area. (GLOBE STAFF PHOTOS/TOM LANDERS)

BEDFORD -- It takes Richard T. Reed several minutes to work his way through the list of schools, public safety facilities, and municipal buildings that have been renovated or rebuilt from scratch here in the past several years.

But it takes far less time for the town administrator to announce that bond rating agencies like the way the town has organized its financial house, ranking it AA1 and AA+. The point? Anyone moving here can expect a careful use of tax dollars, Reed said.

And while other communities wait fearfully for the Pentagon to complete the list of bases it wants closed, Hanscom Air Force Base here is slated to get 1,100 new jobs, Reed said.

The town is also home to a Veterans Administration hospital, Middlesex Community College, and the general aviation airport at Hanscom Field as well as more than 1,600 acres of preservation land, including the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The town's Conservation Commission also likes to steer visitors to Fawn Lake Conservation Area, a 25-acre forest with a 12-acre pond that was once a mineral springs health resort in the 19th century.

Bedford was first settled by Europeans in the 1640s and was incorporated as a town in 1729. The town's library has on display what is widely considered to be the oldest intact flag existing in the country. Known as the ''Bedford Flag," it was carried to the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolution.

According to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a majority of Bedford residents continue to work in town, although in smaller numbers. In 1990, the council found, 37 percent worked in the town. A decade later, that percentage declined to 27 percent. Boston is now the number two destination, supplanting Lexington, the study found.

On a recent week, Realtor.com listed 51 single-family homes, ranging from $364,900 for a three-bedroom, one-bath, 1,132-square-foot home to $1.4 million for a four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath, 4,556-square-foot home. Condo prices ranged from $310,000 to $799,900.

JOHN ELLEMENT

Miles from Boston 15

Population 12,595

Median house price $483,000 (January to June 2005)

Tax rate $11.18

Transportation Routes 3, 4, 62, and 225; member, MBTA; Hanscom Field airport

MCAS Bedford's public school system ranked 48th out of 373 systems statewide, the same as Longmeadow, according to a Boston Globe analysis of 2004 MCAS results. Member, Shawsheen Valley Regional Technical High School, whose students ranked 228th out of 373, according to Globe analysis.

Census facts Median family income is $101,081, compared to a national rate of $50,046, and 57 percent of residents held a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to a national rate of 24 percent.

Website www.town.bedford.ma.us

Sampler

98 Concord Road One-family Colonial, built in 1946, 1,748 square feet, 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, on 100,188-square-foot lot. $560,000

401 Davis Road One-family Cape, built in 1957, 1,344 square feet, 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, on 21,200-square-foot lot. $425,000

10 Elmbrook Circle One-family ranch, built in 1959, 2,166 square feet, 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, on 31,657-square-foot lot. $632,500

3 Lexington Circle One-family Colonial, built in 1995, 4,356 square feet, 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, on 30,488-square-foot lot. $1,090,000

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