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Community Snapshot

Burlington

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June 3, 2008

THE GOODS: Few towns benefited more from the construction of Route 128. Passed over by early railroad expansion, Burlington made up for the sleight when it became the state's fastest growing town between 1955 and 1965 as a direct result of the highway. These days, it's holding steady. The highway and nearby roads host a series of office parks, the Burlington Mall seems to be ever-expanding, and a new shopping destination, Wayside Commons, opened in 2006. Top-shelf Lahey Clinic is located here too. Despite all the commercial activity, the back streets are attractive, and the town center is a tranquil common bordered by Simonds Park, which offers athletic fields and an indoor skating rink.

PROS: Newer homes, apartment complexes and condos are evident throughout, and construction of one-family homes, continues. Lots of ordinary looking mid-priced homes to choose from. Also commercial development remains active, and the large number of such properties supplements Burlington's tax base.

CONS: Burlington suffers from an identity crisis. As in, "Like, in Vermont?" or "The place with the mall?" The few, locally-owned businesses clamor for attention amongst the chains that dominate Burlington's retail landscape. That lack of character is also reflected some of the housing, which isn't as distinguished or historic as that in neighboring communities.

DAVE COPELAND

Median home price: Single family, $365,000; Condominiums, $231,000
Residential tax rate: $9.60
Average tax rate: $3,903
Choice location: Partly in Burlington, Mary Cummings Park was gifted to the City of Boston by a local resident. Boston has discouraged public access and has considered selling it. Despite the neglect, the park has walking trails and a field used by a local radio controlled model airplane club.
Cocktail party nugget: Burlington sent two pairs of siblings to the 1984 Winter Olympics: figure skating silver medalists Peter and Kitty Carruthers and hockey players Mark and Scott Fusco.
SOURCES: The Warren Group, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

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