After spending a year in second place, Fort Gibson has moved to first on Bloomberg Businessweek’s “The Best Places to Raise Your Kids 2012.”
Dave Russell, a three-year resident of Fort Gibson, agrees with the number one placement.
“We picked Fort Gibson over Muskogee,” he says. “A large part of that was the school system, but Fort Gibson isn’t too big, and there’s never really any trouble. Everyone here gets along.”
In 2011, Glenpool took home the top spot because of its enormous development. In 2010, Lawton was the recipient of the honor, but an unexplained population caveat kept 2012’s considerations to cities with residents totaling from 1,000 to 50,000.
The sixth annual list compiles statistics from the real estate data company Onboard Informatics, such as crime rate, median income and school grades to calculate the standings for the honor.
Fort Gibson Public Schools boast a 92 percent average math score, a 90 percent average reading score, and the median family income is around $52,000 per year.
The crime rate is low as well. Fort Gibson is well below the Oklahoma and national average in violent crime, burglaries and theft, according to the OSBI.
The surrounding cities — Muskogee, Tahlequah and Tulsa — all have a positive influence on residents also, because they are minutes away and provide great shopping, dining, and entertainment, according to the report.
In addition to these things, Fort Gibson also offers a flourishing and newly redesigned downtown, niche shops, a golf course and plenty of lake entertainment, according to Bloomberg.
Stacy Carmack, an administrative assistant for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, hasn’t lived in Fort Gibson long — but when she had the choice to move back to Oklahoma City a few years ago, she chose to stay.
“I made a good choice in staying,” Carmack said. “I could have made more money in OKC, but I like the community here. My kids can walk to school and ride bikes after, and I don’t have to worry about them. That can’t happen in OKC.”
Her kids, Cade, 13, and Kamber, 11, are thriving in the Fort Gibson Public School system, she said.
Stacy likes knowing the parents of the other kids in their classes, and she appreciates the one on one time her kids get with the teachers there.
Now that Fort Gibson is at the top, residents did have a few suggestions to make sure it stays there, the most popular being the need for more local businesses and jobs.
Stacy Turner, a nine-year resident, said, “We need more businesses to come to Fort Gibson for multiple reasons. Shopping convenience obviously, but also more jobs for people at home.”
Carmack feels like it is the responsibility of the residents to maintain and increase business and jobs in the community.
“A lot of folks live here, but the close proximity of other, larger towns keeps business out of Fort Gibson. I would really like to see more business done here,” she said.
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