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Top 5 Places To Live In Cook County

By Elizabeth Elstien

Cook County is the largest county in Illinois, with Chicago accounting for over 50% of its 5.3 million total residents. Named after early statesman Daniel Cook, this northeast Illinois county was created in 1831. The boundaries have changed through time, especially due to the 1839 creation of DeKalb County which lopped off land in the northern part of the former Cook County boundary.

A popular location in pop culture, Cook County is featured or mentioned in many television shows, films and lyrics. Predominately an urban area full of people, businesses and buildings, the dense population is balanced by several large parks, nature preserves and lakefront areas. Follow along to learn the top five places to live in Cook County.

1. Willowbrook

With a lot of farmland surrounding a subdivision, the homeowner's association decided to create its own village in 1959 to determine how the surrounding land would be used. Avoid the high taxes of Chicago and partake of small-town living (about 9,000 population) while being close to Midway Airport, Chicago and major roadways. Turtle Wax has its corporate headquarters in well-kept Willowbrook, named for its lovely Willow Trees. Enjoy the village's 10 community parks, Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve, Willowbrook Town Center and its community spirit. Condominiums (condos) and single-family homes average about $133,000 and $700,000, respectively.

2. Blue Island

A Chicago suburb 16 miles from "The Loop", Blue Island is one of the oldest communities in Cook County. Located on the edge of a very old glacial ridge that when viewed in the 1800s appears to be a blue island, the city of over 26,000 has 10 public parks on 112 acres of land. By 2014 Blue Island will be part of the new Calumet-Sag Trail spanning 26 miles along the waterway. Nationally recognized MetroSouth Medical Center, one of the top hospitals in the metro-Chicago area known for its cardiology center, has been here since 1905. Home prices range from $100,000 for single-family homes to $165,000 to condos to $127,000 for multi-family dwellings.

3. Franklin Park

This town of approximately 20,000 has 1,000 businesses including three major industries within its boundaries providing local jobs: Rubicon, A.M. Castle and Company and AT Mechanical. Franklin Park is a testament to its beginnings as a residential and industrial town built around the railroad. There is adequate rail transportation to Chicago for work or play. Home prices are affordable at $107 for condos, $158,000 for single-family residences and $223,000 for a limited number of multi-family homes.

4. Hazel Crest

Located 25 miles south of "The Loop" areas of Chicago, the town gets its name from the hazelnut bushes growing in the south end. Rail and roadway transportation to Hazel Crest is abundant. About 15,000 people live in Hazel Crest where home prices are reasonable. Condos average $62,000 with single-family and multi-family homes averaging $89,000 and $201,000, respectively.

5. Iverness

With a suburban-rural feel, Iverness has a population of over 7,000 and a lot of charm. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the metro area to live in this primarily residential area. One of the wealthiest towns in Cook County, the town layout was designed to take advantage of the natural contour and beauty of the land. Although expensive, buy into the town before home prices rise. Single-family home prices average $900,000 and condo prices average $390,000.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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