Miles from Boston 8
Population 37,371 (2000 Census)
Median house price $274,125 (2007)
Tax rate $10.99
Average single-family property tax $3,091 (State average $3,962)
Transportation Route 28, MBTA Fairmount commuter rail, MBTA Red Line and bus service.
MCAS Among 280 systems, Boston 10th-graders ranked 250th in English and 234th in math, according to a Globe analysis of 2006 results. Sixth-graders ranked 300th out of 305 systems in English and 294th in math. Third-graders ranked 292d out of 298 systems in reading and 283d in math.
Census facts Median household income is $32,748 compared to national rate of $41,994 and 13 percent held a bachelors degree or higher compared to national rate of 24 percent.
One of the best places in Boston for viewing red-tailed hawks, wild turkeys, an occasional blue heron, and migratory birds is also one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the city - Mattapan.
So says Julie Brandlen, who runs a "hidden jewel" in Mattapan - the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Boston Nature Center. Located on the former Boston State Hospital grounds, the center offers trails through different habitats - and serenity amidst a vibrant urban neighborhood.
"It's a great place to bring your family or just get some space to be reflective," she said.
The Clark-Cooper Community Gardens are also at the center as is the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center, one of the most "green" facilities in the city, Brandlen said.
The neighborhood draws its name from a Native American tribe, the Mattahunt, who lived here before Europeans arrived in the 1600s. Once part of Dorchester, Mattapan was absorbed into Boston in 1870. It grew as a result of trolley lines - which still operate today.
The economic heart is Mattapan Square, a vibrant collection of restaurants, clothing and discount stores on the border with Milton. The city, along with community leaders, has launched the Mattapan Economic Planning Initiative to accelerate economic growth.
Crime remains a concern for residents and Boston police, which reported a small reduction in the number of major incidents through most of 2007 compared to 2006.
On a recent week, Realtor.com listed 52 single-family homes, ranging from $174,900 for a three-bed, 1.5-bath, 820-square-foot home to $650,000 for a four-bed, 2.5 bath 2,328-square-foot home. Median price of a single-family home through August was $274,125, according to the Warren Group, which publishes real estate information.
JOHN RICHARDSON ELLEMENT