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We are from Arlington, TX and I had lived there all my life when my husband took a job in Yuma a little over a year ago. We joined him in Oct. 2011 of this year. Its been an adjustment as any move out of state would be... We were pretty down on Yuma and heard very little positives.. braced for the worst.. so with that in mind I have found it to be not THAT bad. We found a very nice neighborhood to live in that I actually enjoy driving through and feel lucky to live in.. (our home is 4/3 2 living areas with a pool 170K) On the very same street you'll find homes valued at almost half a million which is intersting to me. And just a few streets over right next to my kids school are the very plain, modest homes which at first I called ugly but they are for the most part pretty well kept and I don't judge them they way I used to. So I guess Yuma does have to grow on you some.
Coming from an excelling Highest rating of a school for my kids in TX and then to Yuma made me realize how fortunate we were in TX though. The very highest rating of "Excelling" doesn't exist here except for maybe one charter school (not elem but middle and high school at that) with a wait list. My kids school is the next one down and I'm sort of surprised it does that well because the immediate surrounding areas are rather poor looking. But the teachers at my kids school definitely work them hard and seem to be doing a good job and they are challenged and learning. Their school (Alice Byrne) is just under excelling at "Highly Performing" (and has consistently stayed there for a long time) Most of the schools are "Performing Plus" which is one under that.
The lower income neighborhoods are mixed in evenly with everything around here not isolated in bad areas. There doesn't seem to be any truly bad areas in town like I would find in TX in Fort Worth.
The hispanic population is high. Everyone seems to speak English though. I was concerned that there would be alot of non English speaking kids that would get all the attention and hold mine back but that hasn't been the case at all.
I do constantly have to tell myself that I'm ok with being here.
The weather when its NOT summer Is absolutely HeAVEN. I have not experienced summer here yet. It is SO nice so far that I can't get over it.. and imagine however bad it is during the summer these months of about Oct through March maybe April make up for it. I think its rained three times the whole time we've been here. It makes for a higher than we are used to water bill but not as bad as I thought. It ran about $150 a month for our first two months.(we used to pay right at $100 in TX) We have a front and back yard with a lawn that needs to be watered.
My biggest concern is the unemployment rate.. Even though we were unemployed for year and Yuma offered my husband more than hes ever made (he made 50K and now is at 100K), this is the exception and I hear the employment rate is higher than normal here. I feel like we have the ONE job he could have here and if something happens and he loses it we will surely have to make another major move to another state. (and moving is SO HARD on kids.. they are still not over it) Also concerned about my kids future.. I don't see them staying here with the job market. .they would likely move to Phoenix or somewhere else entirely so I feel like I will lose them for sure. I know it can happen anyway but ...hoping to keep them near and a more major city with more opportunies would give me more of a fighting chance there
Everyones situation is different. We couldn't say no to the money when it was double and after a year of unemployment in TX where he never got any offers at all. I am making the best of it and we are happy but not quite my dream to live in Yuma.
We live in the heart of Yuma near Alice Byrne Elementary since Dec 2011. We were originally looking in the Foothills but I'm glad we picked our area. Our home is really nice in a well established neighborhood that we paid 170K for (4/3 with a pool and landscaped lawn in backyard) and is as nice or nicer than many of the homes we looked at in the Foothills. I don't like the bare new unestablished look that the Foothills has although many of the homes there are very nice. (but overall more expensive)Our realtor finally admitted she hated the Foothills because of the snowbirds getting in the way lol. I haven't seen that and they are all so friendly but maybe it makes traffic worse...
We came from Arlington Texas where we have lived all of our lives. My husband was unemployed for almost a year when he got the job offer here. Which I find ironic because the job market is pretty bad here from what I understand. Seems like most people are military, border patrol here.
The weather could not be better from Oct to about March (?) (I haven't experienced summer yet but its March now.. still nice but getting warmer...and hot in the house if we dont' crank up the AC and keep our doors closed)But honestly LOVING IT for now and since we've been here. I am used to TX heat and I still have to wonder if its not that bad because the humidity does make it soo much worse that even at higher temps here, it might not be any worse... but I still have to find that out...
I was mostly concerned about schools when we got here. Apparenlty I didn't know how lucky I was in Texas to have my kids go to an "Exemplary" school. Here the AZ equivalent is "Excelling" and that doesn't seem to exist at all I think there is one charter school with a wait list and thats it.
My kids school is one under at "Highly Performing" and it surprised me because it at first looked to be in a very poor neighborhood (Alice Byrne) Our street is in one of the nicer neighborhoods and just few streets over. For a long time we didn't know it was there. The lower income houses are very modest and plain but I have to say most of them are very well kept!
My kids went to Desert Mesa before that which was one profile under Highly Performing at "Performing Plus" and they seemed to be ok too. I probably would've kept them there but it was too far to go from our house. There are quite a few "Performing Plus" and anything under I really would never send my kids there
I still have concerns and think it remains to be seen about their education but it does seem like Alice Byrne is a very good school. The kids are challenged and definitely worked there. I had concerns that the high hispanic population would be ESL students who take all the time and hold mine back but that has not been the case at all and my kids tell me that most of the kids speak English.
Honestly Yuma is ok. I am homebody though and dont' need the nightlife so I can't speak for that kind of thing. It has enough shopping to make me happy and restaurants. I would probably like it fine if I coiuld get the rest of my family here but thats not Yuma's fault.
If the job market doesnt' get better I am concerned for my kids growing up here and then trying to get good jobs.. and not being able to so they leave me. I would prefer trying to stay together having just left my own parents and knowing how much they and I hated that...I know it happens anyway but I 'm not sure I want to increase those odds which I feel I may be doing to stay in Yuma...
Overall like it though.
Most of the posts here have a ring of truth to them. Here is a very neutral assesment. If you love intense, unrelenting heat, you will enjoy Yuma. If you don't mind being 3 hours or more to the closes major city (and literally nothing else inbetween) Yuma will be heaven.
Yuma is a tract home city for sure. A hodge podge of suburban sprawl and dated sprawl.
Safety wise it is nothing different from any other isolated small city. Drug use due to bordem, but other than that, most crime is domestic and drug related and isn't random. Gangs aren't a major issue either. Just locking doors and car alarms will be enough to keep you safe.
To address you being scared, there is no reason to be. Yuma has many military families, snowbirds, retirees and locals who raise children and they are perfectly fine.
You will also learn to love the cool weather by the time October rolls around. The heat in Yuma is nothing like even Texas can dish out, it is overwhelming in July and August.
Don't be afraid, you will be fine. Just come in with a positive attitude and open mind.
I drove by Yuma expecting a town similar to Tombstone (like the movie 3:10 to Yuma...?). It was quite large and theres some dunes nearby which means it probably means it'll be really hot in the summer.
If you tired of the heat, atleast San Diego county is less than 2 hours away.
Curious, does anyone from Yuma ever drive south to Golfo de Santa Clara, as a getaway from Yuma. The times I've been in Yuma I've always wanted to make that drive. What's there? Anything? Can you bus it down there out of San Luis de Colorado?
I'm not one of these fearful types of going across the Mexican border, so you're not going to scare me off as far as dangers, etc.
I've been to San Felipe, Puerto Penasco, but this Golfo de Santa Clara really intrigues me. Hotels there? Beaches?
I also moved to Yuma from TX (Fort Hood area). Was/is your husband in the military? I haven't seen you reply to anyone's questions yet, so I will save my breath before I go into "the speech". The military question will tailor my response to you and the life/differences here in Yuma.
"I drove by Yuma expecting a town similar to Tombstone" Good to know Yuma did not meet your expectations!
In my experience, you can't just "drive by" to get the flavor of Yuma. You need to get off the Interstate, explore the town, the river, the county roads...sample some of the festivals hosted by Yuma, Somerton, Holtville. From the Interstate, you see little of the agriculture that along with the Military, (with ample help from the Snowbirds) supports the Yuma economy. For example, there are over 100K acres devoted to Agricultural production in Yuma County, there are Senior Games during the winter, and plenty of water for boating and fishing within easy reach.
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