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COMMUNITY SNAPSHOT

Westford

Dr. John Foster, in this 2006 photo, uses a large antenna at the MIT Haystack Observatory to study space weather. Dr. John Foster, in this 2006 photo, uses a large antenna at the MIT Haystack Observatory to study space weather.
December 28, 2008
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Median home price: Singlefamily,$422,500
Residential tax rate: $13.40
Average tax bill: $6,269
Choice location: MIT’s Haystack Observatory, which also features public art displays.
Cocktail party nugget: A bell cast by Paul Revere adorns the entrance of Westford Academy. Revere’s son attended the school, which now serves as Westford's public high school.
SOURCES: Warren Group, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Town of Westford

THE GOODS: Parts of this town still look very much the New England village, with its rolling hills, apple orchards, and spring-fed ponds. Westford's past includes both agriculture and industry, but it is now a high-tech suburb, home to offices for Red Hat, Samsung, Seagate, Iris Associates, and other technology firms. Other industry still here includes Puma's North American headquarters and HydroDot Inc. One unusual gem in town is The Butterfly Place, a glass atrium structure with a lush habitat that houses as many as 500 butterflies at any one time.

PROS: Lots of home styles to choose from, from historical properties to the obligatory McMansions and other big-box contemporaries now so common in the suburban belt. Prices have crept up here, reflecting Westford no longer being an outlying suburb. Midmarket homes tend to be plainer or smaller, of the ranch or unadorned Colonial variety. Westford does have several historical districts, where you can find homes of Victorian and Greek Revival and other styles.

CONS: With so much business and residential development, Westford faces growth issues. Town finances are also tight, prompting Westford officials to be cautious about spending money, whether to fill vacant positions or repair aging buildings.

DAVE COPELAND

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