Barrington’s Fox Point subdivision is the nicest place in Illinois, according to a national publication that, as an example of the community’s generosity, cites a time when residents rushed to help neighbors whose belongings were placed on the front lawn during an eviction.
That and other instances of neighborly kindness helped land Fox Point on Reader’s Digest’s third annual 50 Nicest Places in America list. Columbiana, Ohio, wound up as the overall champion on the list, as decided by a nine-judge panel that included Reader’s Digest Editor in Chief Bruce Kelley and David Brooks, a New York Times columnist and the Aspen Institute’s executive director.
Built in the late 1960s, the 411-home Fox Point spans Cook and Lake counties and features a private lake, a pool, tennis courts and social activities. Bob Lee, a 40-year Fox Point resident, said the amenities bring residents together and allow them to get to know each other.
“You still are a neighborhood,” Lee said. “You still see your neighbors.”
Barrington village Trustee Mike Moran, who serves as the Fox Point Homeowners Association’s board president, said residents tend to be engaged there. Scores can be found walking in the mornings or on weekends on a road that loops around the lake, which lends itself to socialization.
“It’s a very family-run community,” Moran said. “It’s nothing to have second and third generation move back into the neighborhood with their own kids after growing up in that neighborhood. It’s all about the family.”
How Fox Point’s neighbors care for each other in times of need caught Reader’s Digest’s attention. One instance occurred in January 2018, when a couple in their 90s and their daughter were evicted from their house.
Fox Point resident Jack Keenan helped get the ball rolling after learning from his wife that furniture and other possessions filled much of the family’s front lawn on the 200 block of Surrey Lane when the eviction process began. At least 60 residents responded on a weekday to Keenan’s post on a neighborhood blog and filled a semitrailer with the items so the family could beat a deadline to be off the property or have whatever remained placed in a trash bin.
Reader’s Digest also noted how Fox Point residents displayed an outpouring of inclusiveness and support for a gay couple who in December 2018 reported to Barrington police that their rainbow pride flag was removed from a pole and replaced with a U.S. flag.
Neighbors brought meals to Casey Handel, Zadette Rosado and their two daughters. Many in Fox Point also placed miniature rainbow flags on their mailboxes.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker discussed the Fox Point response in his January inauguration address.
Reader’s Digest’s third annual, crowdsourced “nicest places” list is described as the publication’s response to an era of cultural and political divides. About 1,000 submissions were received about places across the country where people are kind and civility is winning.