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Community Snapshot

Dedham

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June 3, 2008

THE GOODS: Once the homely stepsister to prettier, richer neighbors Needham and Westwood, Dedham has undergone a facelift to its downtown square. There are trendier restaurants and shops geared toward the town's middle and upper class residents, and the town has also invested in upgrading its infrastructure. As always the Dedham Community Theatre offers the opportunity to experience films in a real movie theater. There's no questioning access here; Dedham is bisected by major highways, and commuter rail and bus service is readily available. And did we mention shopping? The lifestyle mall called Legacy Place, with higher-end boutiques and restaurants such as Ruth's Chris Steak House, is under construction on Providence Highway, an unbroken strip of commercial offerings of every stripe.

PROS: Precinct 1 has a traditional New England feel to it, with historic Colonials and other classics antiques, augmented by exclusive construction of the contemporary kind. There are also gracious older homes in other tucked away pockets such as Oakdale and stately addresses around Weld Pond. Dedham also is ripe for first-time buyers, with a large stock of mid-priced ranches and traditional colonials, many of which come with generous yards.Two new apartment complexes have added to the options for renters.

CONS: Well, there is that highway. It's no place to be stuck on a Saturday, and the stores crowded with bargain shoppers don't exactly present the best face of Dedham. Tight municipal finances has some parents concerned about rising class sizes in several of the elementary schools.

FRANCI RICHARDSON ELLEMENT

Median home price: Single family homes, $375,00; Condominiums $210,000
Residential tax rate: $12.05
Average tax bill: $5,025
Choice location: Fairbanks House, treat for history buffs. It is the oldest timber frame house in the United States that was built about 1637.
Cocktail party nugget: Executed anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted of murder at the county courthouse on High Street, in a trail tainted by charges of anti-Italian, anti-immigrant prejudice.
SOURCES: The Warren Group, town of Dedham, Mass. Department of Revenue

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