Many reader comments on CNN Web site chide the accolades
LA PLATA, Md.—CNN's Money Magazine has included the city of Waldorf in Charles County on its list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live--ranking it at number 20. According to Money Magazine, the list features "terrific, small cities that offer what American families care about most--strong job opportunities, great schools, low crime, quality health care, and plenty to do."
The brief summary describes Waldorf as a "major retail spot in Southern Maryland" with a "welcoming vibe and safe streets." The city is noted for being an appealing location for homeowners because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and for its low median home prices as compared to others cities in the region.
"Having extensive experience over the last 20 years working with communities in Waldorf, this is comes as a well-deserved accolade," said Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly in a press release issued by the Charles County Government today. "Waldorf is an example of smart growth, and this recognition should serve as an inspiration for the Board of Commissioners to manage our future growth so that we continue to move up this list."
As of the time of this writing, there are seven pages of reader comments on the CNN site regarding Waldorf--and few of them are complementary. Most commenters cite high crime as the number one reason for their dismay at CNN's conclusion. "I live near Waldorf and won't even go there after dark, and I rarely go to that mall," wrote Dana Thingelstad.
Other commenters cite rude drivers, bad attitudes, and the dominance of corporate chain stores as other negatives. "Waldorf is just about the worst town in southern maryland [sic]," wrote Jessa Jeffries Agner. "So full of franchises, no quaint local store fronts, no open natural spaces, no friendly neighborhood farmers markets."
Many other commenters also agreed with Agner's conclusion about how the town was selected. "They must just crunch numbers to pick these [towns on the Top 100 list]," Agner concluded.
One commenter even took a shot at the County Commissioners. "What makes it so desirable? The rising crime rate, the fact that this is solely a commuter town with no sense of community, or the comissioners who are forcing development on the people who live here because they are married to commercial developers?" wrote a person who identified themself as commish123.
Several readers also noted that the retail shops depicted in the photo on the CNN Web site have been vacant for a long period of time.
While there are a few positive comments, most are posted as rebuttals to negative comments left by other readers.
But at least one person feels that Waldorf's bad reputation is not a reflection on the entire area. "Charles County overall isn't bad, but Waldorf definitely is a low point of the county," wrote a reader who identified themself as rd5234.
You can see the review and comments for yourself at http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-places/2012/snapshots/PL2481175.html