Miles from Boston 35
Population 7,315 (2006)
Median house price $277,500 (2007)
Tax rate $9.84
Average single-family property tax $2,986 (State average $3,962)
Transportation Routes 2A, 110, 111. MBTA commuter rail.
MCAS Among 293 systems, 10th-graders ranked 103 in English and 164 in math, according to a Globe analysis of 2007 results. Sixth-graders ranked 218 out of 309 systems in English and 172 in math. Third-graders ranked 92 out of 299 systems in reading and 71 in math.
Census facts Median family income is $61,968, compared to national rate of $50,046 and 26 percent held a bachelors degree or higher compared to national rate of 24 percent.
AYER - To Shaun A. Suhoski, one word describes this town where you can hop a commuter rail to Boston or quickly be on a ski slope: Resurgent.
Once seriously crippled by a slowdown in freight rail business and the closure of Fort Devens and the town's Army-connected economy in the mid-1990s, Ayer has rebounded, said Suhoski, the town administrator.
His list includes the arrival of new "green" companies, the expansion of food processing companies, and the renovation of a 216,000-square-foot warehouse into a manufacturing plant. Plus, the Nashoba Valley Medical Center, which has added medical office buildings, wants to build a $50 million expansion.
Ayer, Shirley, and Lunenburg are looking into regionalizing their schools. Suhoski said Ayer has excess capacity, a possible cost-saver for a tri-town system.
"Ayer is unique in retaining that friendly small town atmosphere, but also in providing full services to its residents at a tax rate among the lower third" in the state, said Suhoski.
He said community activism is strong and includes the creation within the past few years of the Ayer Education Foundation, which funnels donations to the schools.
Greenspace includes the Nashua River Rail Trail that terminates near Ayer's MBTA commuter rail station and public swimming in area ponds.
On a recent week, Realtor.com listed 35 single-family homes, ranging from $201,000 for a three-bed, one-bath, 1,274-square-foot home to $599,900 for a five-bed, 2.5-bath 3,050-square-foot home. Median price of a single-family home for 2007 was $277,500, according to Warren Group, which publishes real estate information.