Dade City on list of best areas to retire
By CHASE SQUIRES
DADE CITY -- A nationally distributed magazine this month ranks Dade City among the country's best retirement spots, listing the city alongside such locales as Tucson, Ariz., and Hilton Head, S.C., and the ritzy Florida towns of Sanibel Island and Boca Raton.
The magazine Where to Retire lists Dade City in a special issue that compiles a decade of reviews and research and boasts a readership of more than 400,000 affluent Americans, according to the magazine's editor and publisher, R. Alan Fox.
Phyllis Smith, executive director of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, said the listing speaks well of the community and helps lure solid citizens to the area who will add to the economic base.
"This gives us recognition everywhere, not just here but outside the state," Smith said. "When people see this, they might decide to give us a look."
Smith said national recognition, such as the city's appearance on CBS television during the Super Bowl this year, usually leads to requests for information, which can lead to visits. The chamber keeps packets of relocation information available for people who request them.
On Dade City, the magazine reports, "This five-star small town evokes memories of a slower-paced, quieter, friendlier America of a half century ago. . . . The cool shade of moss-hung oaks and brick-paved streets draw strollers young and old, while casual shoppers browse through antique shops."
Where to Retire magazine featured Dade City in 1996 in a six-page story touting the city's history, small-town charm and location.
Interviewed for the "100 Best" article, Harold Theiss recently retired to the Lake Jovita community from the Dayton, Ohio area.
Theiss, 69, said Wednesday that he and his wife, Joan, 65, had spent winters in Summerfield, south of Ocala, for years before deciding to retire to Florida. They knew plenty about Florida, and Theiss said he selected Lake Jovita because of its slower pace and the relaxed atmosphere of the Saint Leo, San Antonio, Dade City area.
"It was getting too crowded in Summerfield, so much traffic," said Theiss, a retired school principal who grew up in a small town. "This is sort of a laid-back town that is quiet and peaceful, not a lot of traffic, just local people."
In his introduction to this month's special section on retirement destinations, editor Richard Fox said he traveled the country examining cities small and large. Many of the magazine's choices are small towns, Fox reported, because Americans are seeking an escape from big city life.
Florida takes up a full 25 percent of the top 100 cities on the list. Other Florida cities included: Boca Raton, Bradenton, Celebration, DeLand, Gainesville, Jupiter and Tequesta, Key West, Lakeland, Leesburg, Longboat Key, Mount Dora, Naples, North Fort Myers, Ocala, Orlando, Ormond Beach, Pensacola, Punta Gorda, St. Augustine, Sanibel Island, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Venice, Vero Beach and Winter Haven.
"Our 100 places have at least two things in common," Richard Fox wrote. "They welcome retirees. And they form a list that can jumpstart a search for the perfect place to retire."
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