BEST LOCAL CITY IN WHICH TO LIVE

Village of Biscayne Park

Located west of Biscayne Boulevard immediately north of Miami Shores, this is a big city and a small town rolled into one. Incorporated in 1933, the tiny municipality -- less than a square mile in area -- is close enough to Miami's urban core to allow for easy access to downtown or the beaches. But by remaining steadfastly residential (there are no commercial structures at all in Biscayne Park) and avoiding urban-style development, the area has retained its neighborhood aesthetic. Oaks fill the spacious medians and shade the streets. Ten full-time police officers help maintain a pedestrian-friendly environment by strictly enforcing speed limits. With fewer than 3500 residents, the community has an intimate feeling about it, which allows resident to keep a close eye on their mayor, village council, and police department. Mayor Ted Walker brags of the seventeen parks dotting the tree-lined streets (some are basically very large medians, but they're big enough for picnics and contribute to the community's lush greenery). Homes -- mostly built in the Fifties on 75-by-135-foot lots -- range from $200,000 to about $450,000.

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