Survey ranks Havelock as a top 10 city for families

Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM.

"The people here are so easy to get along with and make friends with," Michael Penney said. "It’s so picturesque. To be able to take 20 minutes and go to the ocean is just wonderful. The community projects that you see going on around here for families and children, the respect that everyone has for the military and for my background in law enforcement is phenomenal."

According to a release, NerdWallet factored in the quality of public schools, average home value, cost of home ownership, average income and economic growth to create an overall score. The nine places ahead of Havelock in the rankings were all near bigger metropolitan cities such as Charlotte or Raleigh. Havelock was the only city east of Interstate 95 in the top 10.

"It has a small town feel because we were involved in the community either with the school or through the church," said Kelli Kirwan, who with Marine husband Charles Kirwan has raised six children in their nine years in Havelock. "We were able to know a lot of different people. It’s a very military friendly community."

She said the family decided to stay in Havelock even when her husband was transferred to Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville.

"We opted to stay in Havelock because we were settled in the community," she said. "We had a good support system between our church family and the youth sports our children were a part of. We didn’t want to leave that."

NerdWallet mentioned outdoor recreational activities in its survey, and Havelock-area schools rated a seven on a scale of one to 10.

"The teachers really dedicate themselves and they care about your child," Heather Penney said. "The teachers will get up with you not just for bad things but to let you know that your child did this great thing today. You know they’re getting the education they need and they’re safe and cared about when they’re not in your home. I like that they’re close to home so that I can be there in a matter of minutes if I need to be."

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