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Three years ago, my husband, myself and our two children moved from South New Jersey to Rochester, New York. A big move! A really, really big move! We moved with a 3-month-old baby and an almost 2-year-old child. And my husband traveled for his job at the time, so he was only home from late Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

We searched and searched for the perfect house for our family; we looked at over 25 homes. One of the last ones we looked at, of course, was the one we bought. But what besides the house attracted us to his particular home? Well, when we pulled in the development, it was just beautiful. It had old tree growths, walking paths, ponds and beautiful homes with landscaping; it had so much to offer.

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My husband wasn’t so much a fan of having neighbors but I, on the other hand, wanted them. See, in the development I grew up in, we were super close with all of our neighbors. So close, that we (the kids) would call our neighbors aunts and uncles. I grew up with the neighborhood kids and I wanted that same feeling of family where we moved our children.

There’s something about the feeling of community when living in at neighborhood. We actually live on a cul-de-sac. I love it and wouldn’t trade living on a cul-de-sac. We are very friendly and close with our neighbors and we are always getting together. Our kids play wonderfully together and it’s safe. Our children have freedom from the cul de sac with virtually no traffic.

A lot of people tend to stay away from neighborhoods or housing developments because they do not want to pay a homeowners’ association fee. But quite honestly, I feel like you get more out of living in a neighborhood if you do pay a homeowners’ fee. Why? Well, if you are paying to live somewhere (besides your mortgage), you are going to have people who want and like to take care of their homes. You have people who care about what the common areas look like and work together as a team to make sure all areas of your neighborhood are pristine.

family volunteering cleaning up neighborhood

It’s so nice to be able to rely on your neighbors to look out for one another, to grab a package off of your porch if you are away, to collect your mail when you may be away, to help you snow blow your driveway or shovel in the winter months, to help each other out by letting your neighbor’s dog out if they are running late and the poor doggie has been in his/her crate all day.

I honestly couldn’t imagine living anywhere else at this point. There’s something about a sense of community that makes you feel safe. It makes you feel like you aren’t just another house on the street when you have a good neighborhood and good neighbors who become your best friends.

>> Read more by Jessica Keipper: On the Run: Creating My Running Schedule