Springfield is a small bedroom community of about only 16,000 residents. It is in easy commuting distance to NYC, and other key areas around northern and central NJ. That’s a main reason why young Buyers, looking for their first home, seek out Springfield as a place to live. But like with any town, there are pros and cons – all of which are opinions and relative only to the person giving that opinion.
The three factors often debated by residents and potential residents are the schools, trains for a NYC commute, and the downtown.
Parents, rightly so, are very concerned about the schools, and they look at rankings to judge how well the schools perform. Some are upset that the rankings are not among the top. Most, however, have been extremely happy with the education that their kids get, and how they are being prepared for college. In fact, we’ve had many many students that have graduated from top colleges and universities around the country. There is no shortage of rankings, and all are based on different criteria. And, quite often, we tie other districts on many variables, but because of a tenth of a point difference here or there, our rankings drop. Plus, all Springfield students are eligible (if qualified) to be students at the Union County Vocational Technical School campus in Scotch Plains. Among the schools are the Magnet High School (often ranked about the top schools), Academy for the Performing Arts, Academy for Information Technology, Academy for Allied Health Sciences, and the Union County Vocational-Technical High School.
Springfield doesn’t have a train station. For some, that’s an issue. They want to be able to walk to, or drive easily to, a local train station that will bring them to NYC or Newark or other areas for a daily commute. Others, however, prefer that the train does not run through the town. No train horns blaring or crossing gates holding up traffic. Others are fine with the easy access to trains in nearby towns. In fact, there is a park ‘n’ ride at the Township Pool, and a shuttle service to the nearby Short Hills train station. Also, as an alternative, a NJ Transit bus runs through the town and goes into Port Authority, NY (becoming an express, just a few miles down Morris Ave.)
Springfield doesn’t have a vibrant walkable downtown area like many neighboring towns do (yet). Some find this to be a problem, while others do not. We are, in fact, 5 years into a 10 year redevelopment program (the “Business Improvement District”). Ordinances have been passed, plans have been drawn up, and downtown building owners have agreed to raze old buildings and build new ones. At this point, we’re about a year away from seeing the start of real change. But Springfield is a historic town, and many prefer the lazy feel it offers. A few minutes in any direction brings you to bowling alleys, movie theaters, restaurants, golf courses, shopping, etc. By not having all that in our downtown, we also don’t have the downtown traffic and parking problems experienced by towns like Westfield or Cranford.
Bottom line: Residents of the town, for the most part like living in the town. In fact, there are many residents that grew up in the town, moved away, and then returned as adults to raise their own families here. Homebuyers continually come to Springfield as a choice for their home search, and home values have seen increases over time.