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Old 08-05-2017, 12:22 AM
 
3 posts, read 488 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello! I searched through the pages hoping someone had already posted this, but didn't see anything in the past year. I hope I didn't miss something and am asking a repeated question! I'm sorry if I am! My family and I currently live in Washington state, although we were all born and raised in Colorado. So we're no strangers to snow and mountains, and love it all. So Alaska is very appealing to us My husband was recently offered a job in Nikiski. I'm trying to find out as much information as possible so we make the right choice of where to move our family. My husband doesn't mind commuting. He's willing to drive up to 45-50 minutes. We have been looking at Nikiski, Soldotna, Sterling and Kasilof and was wondering what those of you that live/have lived any of those places think about them? Which is the safest area of all of those? A friend of ours that grew up in Soldotna had negative things to say about Nikiski. That the crime and drugs is worse than other areas, and it's really industrial. Is there any truth to that? Also, we would love to live in a more rural setting. We currently have 20 acres and know we will have to downsize big-time, but it would be amazing if we could still find at least 5 acres somewhere. What area would you say would be the best for that?

As far as the schools, from what I have read on the internet, Nikiski seems to have a smallish high school (roughly 50 children per grade) Is this accurate? If so, would you recommend Nikiski High School? It would sure save my husband the commute! As far as Soldotna, how big is that school? I read close to 200 per class there. And is it a good school? I read that kids around Sterling still go to Soldotna, and kids around Kasilof do as well. So if that's correct, we really just need to make the choice between Nikiski and Soldotna high school then. My children are really into music. Here they are in orchestra, band and my son is in jazz. My daughter is also SUPER into volleyball and is her team's libaro (defensive position). She's really hoping to get on a volleyball team out there. I know both those schools offer volleyball, but can't find anything on if they both offer music programs? Thank you so much for any advice you can give! I really appreciate it!
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Old 08-05-2017, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,130 posts, read 1,710,341 times
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Nikiski certainly doesn't have a very good reputation. I've personally never been past Kenai but when I lived on the peninsula I never heard good things about Nikiski. Normally I wouldn't recommend having your husband commute, but being only 20 minutes from Kenai and 30 minutes from Soldotna seems like a doable commute. Just about everything from schools to services and housing is going to be better in Kenai/Soldotna.

I'm sure Nikiski isn't all bad and this is all second hand information. The things I heard about it is that its a bit "redneck" and "backwoods" which normally doesn't bother me, but since these were backwoods redneck Alaskans complaining about it, it must be pretty bad . I've also heard that there's plenty of home scale meth production going on around there. People say this about every rural area though it seems, so I don't know how true that is.

Just from hearing all bad, and not much good, I'd personally heavily consider living in Kenai/Soldotna if I was I your situation.
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Old 08-05-2017, 10:04 PM
 
Location: At the end of the road
458 posts, read 532,656 times
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Kenai is closer to Nikiski than Soldotna so it may make more sense to look for homes/schools there. The music programs seem fairly strong in KPBSD. In the middle schools you have to choose band or choir, I don't know about orchestra options. My daughter chose choir even though she can't sing a lick. Each spring they do a mass band and mass choir event where bands/choirs get together for a performance event for their respective groups. Otherwise, Soldotna is definitely an option. Both Kasilof and Sterling are smaller and would have smaller schools so I don't think you would need to look further out than Soldotna. I would caution you that the the winter drives, in the dark, on not always great roads can be wearing so if it was me, I would live as close is is feasible.
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Old 08-06-2017, 03:44 AM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
1,673 posts, read 1,281,265 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6.7traveler View Post
Nikiski certainly doesn't have a very good reputation. I've personally never been past Kenai but when I lived on the peninsula I never heard good things about Nikiski. Normally I wouldn't recommend having your husband commute, but being only 20 minutes from Kenai and 30 minutes from Soldotna seems like a doable commute. Just about everything from schools to services and housing is going to be better in Kenai/Soldotna.

I'm sure Nikiski isn't all bad and this is all second hand information. The things I heard about it is that its a bit "redneck" and "backwoods" which normally doesn't bother me, but since these were backwoods redneck Alaskans complaining about it, it must be pretty bad . I've also heard that there's plenty of home scale meth production going on around there. People say this about every rural area though it seems, so I don't know how true that is.

Just from hearing all bad, and not much good, I'd personally heavily consider living in Kenai/Soldotna if I was I your situation.
In light of all that, out of curiosity...

For my own reference, can you try to compare it to North Pole... ?
[CENTER]Save[/CENTER]
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Old 08-06-2017, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
15,506 posts, read 24,594,098 times
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Anywhere around any of the Alaska towns and cities where people can be somewhat isolated, drug production activities can take place, but it also happens in the middle of the cities and towns where the customers are.
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Old 08-06-2017, 10:44 PM
 
3 posts, read 488 times
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Thank you so much for your replies! Definitely lots to think about! Soldotna has gotten a lot of good reviews from everyone I have talked to, so we will definitely have to check out that area Since we're used to living in a rural setting, would it be too busy and touristy there though? I've heard it can be crazy in the summer with the salmon on the Kenai River and tourists? We definitely love that the fishing is so great there. Crazy crowds, not to much, lol!

Do any of y'all know if there are student/youth orchestras up there anywhere, in the schools or independently?

This is a random question, but we're trying to get a feel for the cost of living. What would you say is your average monthly electrical bill? And when buying a home, what is the most efficient heat source? We've seen everything from propane, wood stove, monitor and baseboard?
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:17 AM
 
Location: on the wind
421 posts, read 100,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngirl1981 View Post
Thank you so much for your replies! Definitely lots to think about! Soldotna has gotten a lot of good reviews from everyone I have talked to, so we will definitely have to check out that area Since we're used to living in a rural setting, would it be too busy and touristy there though? I've heard it can be crazy in the summer with the salmon on the Kenai River and tourists? We definitely love that the fishing is so great there. Crazy crowds, not to much, lol!

Do any of y'all know if there are student/youth orchestras up there anywhere, in the schools or independently?

This is a random question, but we're trying to get a feel for the cost of living. What would you say is your average monthly electrical bill? And when buying a home, what is the most efficient heat source? We've seen everything from propane, wood stove, monitor and baseboard?
Yes, the Kenai River salmon runs mean a lot of recreational fishing in the peak of summer. But, the majority of the year its not like that. The most efficient heat is going to depend partly on the house construction. Baseboard hot water or radiant floors are both efficient. I wouldn't want electric baseboard or forced air. That area is a Cook Inlet oil and gas industry center and I think natural gas is available in more areas on the KP. If you start looking at listings on real estate websites they often have utility estimate tools. Might give you ideas. There are hundreds of houses for sale around Soldotna on real estate websites these days.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:38 AM
 
Location: Inland Empire, WA
1,069 posts, read 1,378,738 times
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I would opt for Kenai firstt, then Soldotna, then Sterling. That is in the order of proximity to Nikiski, with Soldotna being central to services. During the tourist season, May through August, Kenai/Soldotna is an absolute madhouse when it comes to congestion and navigation. If based in Kenai, that will mitigate exposure to the "circus" and shorten commute time to Nikiski.

The K-penn is rich in recreation and natural beauty, so it is a very popular tourist destination, thus it becomes frustratingly busy during the "season". The remainder of the year is very quiet, and as a bonus, the fishing after the tourists have fled is outstanding for at least another month provided the rains are not excessive.
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Old 08-07-2017, 04:03 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
55 posts, read 16,249 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngirl1981 View Post
This is a random question, but we're trying to get a feel for the cost of living. What would you say is your average monthly electrical bill? And when buying a home, what is the most efficient heat source? We've seen everything from propane, wood stove, monitor and baseboard?

A house with natural gas service is going to be the cheapest to heat. Maybe next is wood but only if you are in for a lot of work to collect, split, and store the wood. Also, insurance can be difficult to obtain on a dwelling that only has wood heat. Heating oil next. In southcentral Alaska I would not go with electric or propane heat.


Natural gas with a wood stove to use when you have the time is what we have (in Anchorage). Where gas is not available, heating oil with propane for cooking is pretty common.


Electrical rates in Anchorage are above the national average (18 cents/Kwh vs. 11 cents/Kwh). Not sure about Kenai/Soldotna but I believe they are similar. If you are coming from northeast or California, cost will be what you are used to. If coming from the middle of the country or Washington state, it will be a good bit higher.


Edit. Just saw that you are coming from WA. Expect to pay about double what you are now for electricity.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:55 PM
 
3 posts, read 488 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you! This is really helpful! I can't wait to come up and check everything out. Everyone seems so friendly up there
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