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COMMUNITY PROFILE

The road less traveled in Milford

By Thomas Grillo, Globe Correspondent, 02/16/2002

MILFORD - Marie Parente knows better than to take congested Route 16 through town. The longtime resident, who has served 21 years on Beacon Hill as the region's Democratic state representative, uses less-traveled back roads. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

   
 AT A GLANCE

Incorporated: 1780
Distance from Boston: 30 miles
Population: 32,000
Tax rate: $14.28 residential; $25.49 commercial
Median house price: $241,000
Government: representative town meeting; board of selectmen
Public schools: 3 elementary, 2 middle, 1 senior high
Nearest hospital: Milford-Whitinsville Regional, in Milford

 More information on Milford from Boston.com's Your Town section.

 

"We need to extend the commuter rail to ease traffic problems,'' she said.

But extending the Franklin line, which goes from South Station in Boston to Forge Park at Interstate 495, is unlikely, according to an MBTA spokesman.

A recent study done for the T found an insufficient number of riders would take advantage of the service, when contrasted with the project's $17 million price tag.

Milford is located in east-central Massachusetts, bordered by Upton, Hopkinton, Holliston, Medway, Bellingham, and Hopedale.

The town's principal highways are I-495 and routes 16 and 140, which connect Milford to the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor. The Massachusetts Turnpike passes to the north, through Upton and Grafton.

Until the early 1900s, Milford's factories manufactured shoes and quarries produced pink granite for public buildings, including the Boston Public Library and the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington. Today, Milford is a mostly a bedroom community.

Milford's population has doubled since I-495 was built through the eastern end of town, in the late 1960s.

Property values have also seen dramatic gains. The median price of a single-family home for the first 11 months of 2001 in Milford was $241,000, up more than 88 percent from 1992, when the median price was $128,000, according to the Warren Group.

Matthew Cuddy, president of Century 21 Tom & Joan Cuddy, said Boston-area buyers are coming to Milford because a new home can be purchased for a price in the low $400,000s. Cuddy recently sold a new Colonial-style home on Haven Street with four bedrooms and two baths for $417,900.

Interest in multifamily homes has soared because confidence in the stock market has been shaken, Cuddy said. Three multifamily homes are for sale, from $245,000 to $369,900.

"There's a strong demand for multifamily homes because people are pulling their money out of the stock market and want to make sure there's money for retirement with the purchase of two- or three-family family homes,'' Cuddy said.

This week, the Multiple Listing Service had 47 single-family homes for sale in Milford, including five for under $200,000, and 25 between $200,000 and $300,000.

The lowest-priced home is a two-bedroom Cape built in 1924 on a small lot, for $159,900.

In the middle price range is a multilevel contemporary with three bedrooms, 11/2 baths, and a fireplace, for $249,900.

On the high end is a four-bedroom brick Colonial at Mill Pond, for $589,900.

"We're seeing buyers from Greater Boston who want to get into new construction but don't want to pay up to $1 million closer to Boston,'' Cuddy said.

"The downside is Milford's schools; they don't compare to Newton, Needham and Wellesley. As a result, many of the buyers are retired, and some young families are using the savings to send their kids to private school.''

In last year's Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests, Milford ranked 133 out of 268 school districts, according to a Boston Globe analysis.

Among the more alarming results: 54 percent of fourth-graders need improvement in math, while 17 percent failed the test. Fifty-eight percent of eighth-graders need improvement in social studies, and 31 percent failed. Among 10th-graders, 31 percent need improvement in math.

Milford also lacks affordable housing, residents say. According to the state Department of Housing and Community Development, 6 percent of the town's 10,682 housing units are classified as affordable.

Last year, the owners of two affordable apartment complexes with 576 units prepaid their low-interest US Department of Housing and Urban Development loans, which had kept rents low. Paying off these so-called expiring use properties has meant a jump in rent from $500 to $600 per month to up to $1,500.

Parente, though, has been vocal about weakening Chapter 40B, a state law that encourages communities to meet a goal of 10 percent affordable housing: "We need more affordable housing, but 40B is not the way to do it.''

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 2/16/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company
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