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Old 11-27-2009, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Barberton, OH
436 posts, read 1,027,800 times
Reputation: 183
O wow. Well, you will do fine in Summit County, then.
Hudson would work for your commute altho there tends to be more traffic going into Akron than out (obviously).
If you are looking for a more ritzy-suburban feel, Hudson would be your best bet.
Stow, Fairlawn and Green all rank about the same as far as suburban life.
Cuyahoga Falls is pretty nice but not as costly as the towns mentioned above.
Akron has the most city-vibe to it. Akron real estate is relatively inexpensive but there are some more costly neighborhoods that have more expensive, stately houses ranging from $170K++. I.E. anything around Castle Blvd,. 277 Castle Blvd, Akron, OH, 44313 - MLS #3060451 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com®, off North Portage Path and around the Merriman Rd. neighborhoods (such as this one 856 Mayfair Rd, Akron, OH, 44303 - MLS #3070905 - Single Family Home real estate - REALTOR.com®).

If you want to get really urban, the best would be either Northside Lofts/Townhomes. Lofts start at $180K for a concrete shell and $235K for a townhome. Northside Lofts OR
Spicer Village Townhomes, which are right by the University of Akron campus and start around the $160K mark Spicer Village - Contemporary Townhome Condominiums Located in Akron, Ohio (http://www.spicervillage.com/ - broken link).

Another option is to buy a house on Portage Lakes. Here is one (altho expensive) for example: MLS 3017795 on Real Estate Listings & Homes for Sale | Real Estate Agent Search | Coldwell Banker

Are you in the market for a yard and 2 car garage type thing or is a more modern, city feel what you are going for?
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Barberton, OH
436 posts, read 1,027,800 times
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If you have time, you can go onto Realtor.com Real Estate Listings, Homes for Sale and Rental Property Listings – REALTOR.com® and pull up some houses based on the criteria you are looking for. I don't know if you utilize the site where you live, but it will pretty much pull up anything from any real estate site.
Here are some zip codes to start you out with:
Hudson (25 minutes N of Akron) - 44236
Stow/Silver Lake (20 or so minutes N of Akon) - 44224
Green (20 minutes S of Akron) - 44232
Bath/Fairlawn/Fairlawn Heights (15 minutes W of Akron) - 44333
Cuyahoga Falls (5-10 minutes N of Akron) - 44221, 44223

Akron
~Castle Blvd/Wallhaven area - 44313
~Merriman Rd./North Portage Path area - 44303
~Portage Lakes - 44319
~Northside Lofts/Townhomes - 44308 - Stouffer Realty sells a lot of these
~Spicer Village - 44311 - not sure what realty company sells SV
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Ak-Rowdy, OH
1,184 posts, read 1,024,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7fields View Post
Thanks CityGrrl, that's more like a commute we can handle. We'll do more research on the town now that it's on our radar. Out of curiosity, we've heard good things about Highland Square. Is Highland Square in the Akron school district? We'd like to avoid Akron schools, if possible, primarily because they rate so poorly compared to other area school districts that rank in the excellent category. Thnx!
It really depends on what you're looking for. Highland Square is a great neighborhood and many of the schools in that area of the city rate as excellent or excellent with distinction (all are Akron Public - King, Fairlawn, Miller South, Firestone HS - which is consistently on Newsweek's top public high schools list) - and there are several good private schools as well. I personally enjoy living here, but it would seem to be an odd mix to be looking at Chagrin Falls, Solon, and Highland Square - none are really similar to the other.

Chagrin Falls probably falls closest to your "small New England town" aesthetic - although most anywhere you pick in the area is going to be the suburban version of that, as you would have to drive a ways out to really be a small stand alone town.

Closer to Akron I would say Hudson would be a fair equivalent. It has a well developed old town-center that has been suburbanized - I want to say it has a Gap if I recall correctly. But it is very nice and very clean and the schools are good. Further out it also has the mix of typical suburban development. As far as residents go, it is fairly mono-cultural.

Solon really is just flat out suburban low-density - not any small town charm I'm aware of. It would be mostly either newer suburban developments, 50s-60s era ranch house developments, and typical suburban strip plazas and office parks. The residential make up is mostly white but also has a fair chunk of middle class black residents. The schools also score well. A closer equivalent would be Copley/Fairlawn which can be described just about identically (Copley does have an old town center around a modern traffic circle) and is 15-20 mins to the U.

Highland Square (in addition to what I've said above) is more of a city neighborhood, although obviously Akron is on the smaller side of the city scale. The socioeconomic scale swings wide in the neighborhood - within about 2 miles you can go from million dollar homes to gov't subsidized apartments. As I've said many of the schools are rated excellent (Firestone cluster). It's also very convenient to the University - I want to say it is 2, maybe 2.5 miles and a direct shot on the bus if you're so inclined. There is also a good contingent of UA faculty, grad, and undergrad that already live in various spots around the neighborhood, and I know of some (faculty) who have school-age kids who send their kids to the public schools in the neighborhood.

Hope that helps.
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Old 11-27-2009, 09:33 PM
 
10 posts, read 27,224 times
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Thanks again CityGrrl. You pose excellent questions! We're absolutely more city loft than sprawling suburb types. However, with the introduction of a little one and possibly more to follow, we find ourselves in the interesting position of considering a house for the first time in our lives. So, if we have to grow up and be adults, we'd rather live somewhere with cute cottage, tudor type homes instead of huge, recently built McMansions. It's possible, however, that a newer home might give us the industrial loft-like feel we love. So we're casting a fairly wide net, especially because we don't want to rule anything out prematurely. But given the choice, we'd prefer a classic home with updates in a good school district within easy commute to the University area. Luckily, we'll be in town soon to get a feel for different neighborhoods in person. That, and all the great info you and your fellow kind residents have provided, will go a long way toward helping us find the right fit for us.
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:07 PM
 
10 posts, read 27,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SquareBetterThanAll View Post
It really depends on what you're looking for. Highland Square is a great neighborhood and many of the schools in that area of the city rate as excellent or excellent with distinction (all are Akron Public - King, Fairlawn, Miller South, Firestone HS - which is consistently on Newsweek's top public high schools list) - and there are several good private schools as well. I personally enjoy living here, but it would seem to be an odd mix to be looking at Chagrin Falls, Solon, and Highland Square - none are really similar to the other.

Chagrin Falls probably falls closest to your "small New England town" aesthetic - although most anywhere you pick in the area is going to be the suburban version of that, as you would have to drive a ways out to really be a small stand alone town.

Closer to Akron I would say Hudson would be a fair equivalent. It has a well developed old town-center that has been suburbanized - I want to say it has a Gap if I recall correctly. But it is very nice and very clean and the schools are good. Further out it also has the mix of typical suburban development. As far as residents go, it is fairly mono-cultural.

Solon really is just flat out suburban low-density - not any small town charm I'm aware of. It would be mostly either newer suburban developments, 50s-60s era ranch house developments, and typical suburban strip plazas and office parks. The residential make up is mostly white but also has a fair chunk of middle class black residents. The schools also score well. A closer equivalent would be Copley/Fairlawn which can be described just about identically (Copley does have an old town center around a modern traffic circle) and is 15-20 mins to the U.

Highland Square (in addition to what I've said above) is more of a city neighborhood, although obviously Akron is on the smaller side of the city scale. The socioeconomic scale swings wide in the neighborhood - within about 2 miles you can go from million dollar homes to gov't subsidized apartments. As I've said many of the schools are rated excellent (Firestone cluster). It's also very convenient to the University - I want to say it is 2, maybe 2.5 miles and a direct shot on the bus if you're so inclined. There is also a good contingent of UA faculty, grad, and undergrad that already live in various spots around the neighborhood, and I know of some (faculty) who have school-age kids who send their kids to the public schools in the neighborhood.

Hope that helps.
That's great info! It would be wonderful if we could find a place within the Highland Square area since we are long time downtown city (NY & Chicago) dwellers. We just weren't sure about schools. And it's helpful to know about the cultural vibe, we're a multi-ethnic couple, so we gravitate toward diversity whenever possible. That said, we also value the quaint, college town aesthetic but realize a family changes the dynamics of selecting a new town to call "home." We weren't sure how much of the city experience we'd have to give up to raise a family. Ultimately, we're happy to trade big city life for a picturesque town with great schools, if city life and good schools were mutually exclusive.
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:51 PM
 
Location: Ak-Rowdy, OH
1,184 posts, read 1,024,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7fields View Post
That's great info! It would be wonderful if we could find a place within the Highland Square area since we are long time downtown city (NY & Chicago) dwellers. We just weren't sure about schools. And it's helpful to know about the cultural vibe, we're a multi-ethnic couple, so we gravitate toward diversity whenever possible. That said, we also value the quaint, college town aesthetic but realize a family changes the dynamics of selecting a new town to call "home." We weren't sure how much of the city experience we'd have to give up to raise a family. Ultimately, we're happy to trade big city life for a picturesque town with great schools, if city life and good schools were mutually exclusive.
I think if you're looking to live in the Akron area it would at least be worth checking out the neighborhood. If you've lived IN Chicago and NYC it's probably going to be as close as it's going to get (I'm using that description loosely as I'm sure you're aware Akron is about 15 times smaller than Chicago . I like living here in that I still feel comfortable sending my kids to the public schools here whereas if I lived in a comparable neighborhood in, say, Cleveland (i.e. Tremont) I definitely would not.

A good line of thinking is that HS is closer to an inner-ring suburb if it were near a larger Northern city (I want to say.... maybe Oak Lawn in the Chicago area[?] / Shaker Heights in the Cleveland area). A lot of 1920s-era neo-Tudor architecture floating around as the neighborhood used to house a lot of the old rubber industry executives (and wannabe executives). It's also interspersed with the typical foursquare houses common in the Midwest.

If you have younger kids hands-down King Elementary will be the recommendation you'll hear the most... they have a very active PTA, always score well, and is located in a nice area of the neighborhood.

I will say I was tempted by Essex Elementary simply because it has a really cool all-inclusive foreign language program (either Spanish or Japanese, your pick) that starts in Kindergarten. Unfortunately for me its in kind of an out of the way location and does not score as well (I want to say it is Continuous Improvement). But, something neat that other neighborhoods and no other local school districts have to offer AFAIK.

If you're looking for houses do a search for 44303 and that will cover most of the area I'm referring to.

As far as multicultural families go, the racial breakdown in around here is mostly white/black or white&black (as mine is) with a smattering of other ethnicities (and combinations of ethnicities). I know there is also a smattering of gay/lesbian and gay/lesbian w/children households if you would like to toss than in the diversity bucket as well.

I will point out that I'm pretty biased since I live here! But for a relatively small city (200k) I'm glad I am able to live in the neighborhood I do.
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Old 11-28-2009, 07:11 PM
 
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Wow, 44303 and 44313 totally turned up some cute tudors (have a soft spot for them, always have). Thanks everyone for your help! It's comforting to know that public schools are still a possibility in Akron. We're really excited to go explore in person now
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Old 11-30-2009, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Barberton, OH
436 posts, read 1,027,800 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7fields View Post
Wow, 44303 and 44313 totally turned up some cute tudors (have a soft spot for them, always have). Thanks everyone for your help! It's comforting to know that public schools are still a possibility in Akron. We're really excited to go explore in person now
Ooo yay! I'm glad that you like what you have found so far
44303 is the zip where King Elementary is located.
44313 is where Case elementary is.
Im not sure where Essex is, but 'Square' will be able to tell you, who is very knowledgable about the area as well.
I am biased also, as I live on North Portage Path. But, I do love my neighborhood and Akron is definitely not short of diversity, which is the best part about it.

As for the industrial-type homes you are speaking of - you won't find very much of that around here. Only option is Northside Townhomes and I'm not sure what schools you would be looking at. Prob not as good as King, for instance.

There are also quite a bit of tudors in the back end, south section of Wallhaven - i.e. Lownsdale Avenue for instance right near Ken Stewarts Grille (popular, classy Akron restaurant). Judith A Resnick might end up being the elementary school though and I'm not so sure about their track record.

Good luck with your search and let us know if you have any other questions or need suggestions on what to do when you come visit - we are more than happy to help.
*Thanks for the help, Square!
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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So, we're back from Akron! I have to say we were stunned to see the houses we looked at online not only matched their online profile, some were even nicer in person. Since we live in a city where home prices are far from our reach, our jaws literally dropped once we started driving past homes that were perfectly lovely AND affordable. We knew it wouldn't be NYC or Chicago in terms of city life, but the Highland Square area has most of what we need - though a grocery store would be nice. But rumor is there is some land set aside for a future store - don't know if that's local lore. And when we chatted with West Akron residents, they mirrored the suggestions on this thread, that Hudson and Chagrin Falls were two cute towns we should check out. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to do so but hope to during a future trip. Chagrin Falls might work if we find we have to commute between Cleveland and Akron, but time will tell what will ultimately pan out professionally. Oh, before I forget, we really liked that Northeast Ohio didn't feel foreign, like sometimes you visit a city and feel like you are very far from home. A good example is the first time we went to Dallas - it just felt like another country. Not in a pejorative sense, people were very friendly and proud Texans, it was cute. But we felt very out of place. Not so with Northeast OH, which would serve to make a transition from the east coast a bit easier...
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Old 12-06-2009, 03:07 PM
 
Location: livin' the good life
1,667 posts, read 1,897,547 times
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Years ago we almost built house in Hudson. It is a very nice town and many New Englanders find this area very desirable. I favor Chagrin Falls and lived there for 5 years, absolutely a wonderful town and is like a postcard picture during the Holidays. Very nice shops in the downtown with river and waterfalls. The school is one of the best in Ohio and the US. There are many century homes although probably one of the higher priced markets in Ohio.
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