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Old 07-19-2010, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,264 posts, read 22,187,012 times
Reputation: 12424
We lived central when raising our kids, for the most part, and now live on acreage in the country (from the time our youngest was 12). I love(d) both, and both worked great for us as a family.

The question, though, wasn't "central or acreage", it was "central or Steiner or someplace similar". Given that choice, I'd say central would be the way to go for an Austin experience raising kids.

When we lived central with kids, in Barton Hills, there was, of course, the greenbelt that daughter and Dad hiked down to Barton Springs Road for breakfast of a Saturday or Sunday morning, then I'd drive down and pick them up later. Zilker park - soccer and swimming and Oriental Gardens and Austin Nature Center. The Umlauf Museum was a big hit. Dougherty Arts Center had some great classes, just five minutes down the road from our house. Peter Pan Putt Putt Golf right there on Barton Springs Road just east of South Lamar. The Town Lake (now Lady Bird Lake) hike and bike trail. Austin Children's Museum, and a bunch of other museums, as well, including the ones on campus. Barton Springs Pool. Plus, of course, visiting and doing projects with neighbors, some with kids, some without, some married, some single, across the entire spectrum of life - that's pretty useful in and of itself, it gives a broader idea of and experience with all the stages of life. When my daughter and son were growing up (and still, for that matter, now that they're grown), their good friends who they did things with regularly ranged from first graders and under to people in their 60's (and the latter were not grandparents - or, at least, not their grandparents).
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:43 PM
 
17 posts, read 31,540 times
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I don't fully get the appeal of Central with kids. Why do you need to be close to downtown if you have children? It sounds like a parental preference more than a preference for the kids.

I live in Steiner and LOVE it. I have nothing against Central Austin, but don't understand the hostility towards Steiner Ranch. Oooh, it's "cookie cutter." Yeah, it's true: we have HOA rules, but they keep the neighborhood pristine, the home values up, and they foster a sense of community.

When I bought in Steiner, I wanted my kids to be around lots of other kids. You definitely get that in Steiner. In fact, if you didn't have kids, you would probably run screaming from Steiner, because it is so kid-friendly. There are endless activities, sports leagues, and extracurricular groups out here all designed to keep the kids busy. Do similar things exist elsewhere? Sure they do, but here it is all right there for you in abundance. Also, the Leander school district is consistently rated at or near the top, and I'm not sure some of the other areas mentioned give you that. Finally, the only people I hear say that Steiner Ranch is too far away from everything are people who don't live here. Frankly, we have everything we want here, and everything we need is very close by. No one I talk to feels isolated. Traffic can be brutal at the wrong time of day, but this weekend I got to downtown in less than 20 minutes. While there, I saw homeless people and a huge bar scene, so I'm not unhappy to have my kids a bit removed from that.

Steiner Ranch isn't for everyone - I get that. But for many, many families with small children, it is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. We have incredible facilities, top-notch schools, a very safe environment, and a real sense of community. Most everyone here "buys into" the Steiner lifestyle, and as such people are eager to meet their neighbors, have block parties, organize activities for the kids, etc. Can you get that elsewhere? Maybe, maybe not - but here it is built in. I have yet to meet anyone living inside Steiner Ranch who shares the same criticisms as someone who views it from the outside. Just something for the original poster to consider.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:58 PM
 
385 posts, read 781,218 times
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I live in Cedar Park and have kids. I have some land and so I love having the space to garden and paint and play music without the neighbors getting upset. HOWEVER, if I had the money I would move my family central all the way. I do not think central is a utopia. But if you want access to interesting things on a daily basis I think Central is key.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,264 posts, read 22,187,012 times
Reputation: 12424
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddieconcarne View Post
I don't fully get the appeal of Central with kids. Why do you need to be close to downtown if you have children? It sounds like a parental preference more than a preference for the kids.

I live in Steiner and LOVE it. I have nothing against Central Austin, but don't understand the hostility towards Steiner Ranch. Oooh, it's "cookie cutter." Yeah, it's true: we have HOA rules, but they keep the neighborhood pristine, the home values up, and they foster a sense of community.

When I bought in Steiner, I wanted my kids to be around lots of other kids. You definitely get that in Steiner. In fact, if you didn't have kids, you would probably run screaming from Steiner, because it is so kid-friendly. There are endless activities, sports leagues, and extracurricular groups out here all designed to keep the kids busy. Do similar things exist elsewhere? Sure they do, but here it is all right there for you in abundance. Also, the Leander school district is consistently rated at or near the top, and I'm not sure some of the other areas mentioned give you that. Finally, the only people I hear say that Steiner Ranch is too far away from everything are people who don't live here. Frankly, we have everything we want here, and everything we need is very close by. No one I talk to feels isolated. Traffic can be brutal at the wrong time of day, but this weekend I got to downtown in less than 20 minutes. While there, I saw homeless people and a huge bar scene, so I'm not unhappy to have my kids a bit removed from that.

Steiner Ranch isn't for everyone - I get that. But for many, many families with small children, it is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. We have incredible facilities, top-notch schools, a very safe environment, and a real sense of community. Most everyone here "buys into" the Steiner lifestyle, and as such people are eager to meet their neighbors, have block parties, organize activities for the kids, etc. Can you get that elsewhere? Maybe, maybe not - but here it is built in. I have yet to meet anyone living inside Steiner Ranch who shares the same criticisms as someone who views it from the outside. Just something for the original poster to consider.
Why do you need not to be downtown if you have children? I gave quite a few reasons that I thought raising kids downtown works just fine, and in some cases better than in a community that is predominantly, if not exclusively, families with children. Not that I have anything against people choosing to live in Steiner Ranch, but that doesn't mean that children raised central are lacking in any of the things that make growing up fun and interesting. I didn't mention the cooking classes and the horseback riding lessons and swimming classes and art classes, etc., etc. that were easily available, most of them central, except for the riding lessons, and all of them with other kids of approximately the same age. All organized activities for the kids. No problem finding other kids to go swimming and such with, either.

As for block parties, yes, you can get that elsewhere, even central (actually, probably, especially central - those have been going on in Austin for as long as I've been here).

As for schools, I've said here and elsewhere a hundred times if I've said it once: a school that is superb for one kid can be abysmal for another, and vice versa. That happened in our own family - the school tlhat was perfect for our son would have been terrible for our daughter, and the school that she blossomed at would a have driven our son nuts. (Both were private schools, by the way, though they both did go to public school, as well, one in Barton Hills, one attended Robert E. Lee, Brykerwoods, and Highland Park elementary schools, all excellent, all central, before starting at the private school that was so perfect for him.

I'm thinking you have an inaccurate picture of what life in central Austin is like, really, based on what you say above. And I think that either choice, Steiner Ranch or central Austin, is based on the parents' preferences, if we're completely honest about it.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:58 PM
 
956 posts, read 1,144,521 times
Reputation: 552
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddieconcarne View Post
I don't fully get the appeal of Central with kids. Why do you need to be close to downtown if you have children? It sounds like a parental preference more than a preference for the kids.

[snip]

Steiner Ranch isn't for everyone - I get that. But for many, many families with small children, it is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. We have incredible facilities, top-notch schools, a very safe environment, and a real sense of community. Most everyone here "buys into" the Steiner lifestyle, and as such people are eager to meet their neighbors, have block parties, organize activities for the kids, etc. Can you get that elsewhere? Maybe, maybe not - but here it is built in. I have yet to meet anyone living inside Steiner Ranch who shares the same criticisms as someone who views it from the outside. Just something for the original poster to consider.
I think you take the comments too personally. After all, the OP is asking for peoples individual opinions. If I say that Steiner seems "cookie cutter", then obviously _for_me_, not having that attribute is somewhat important. For you, it may be a significant positive, not a problem, but again, it's not my personal view.

Your perspective on the kid thing is interesting. If one were to purely go by public school academics alone, then the numbers certainly favor Steiner over downtown. However, I've seen various people post about how other aspects of raising kids (e.g. instant access to Zilker/Barton Creek GB) is critical in their view and they feel confident that their kiddo will get a good education pretty much where ever they go (to a point of course). Given that, I think labeling those who express a preference for being "downtown" as those who are thinking of themselves more than their kids isn't accurate (at least as a blanket statement).
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:52 PM
 
8,241 posts, read 10,286,768 times
Reputation: 3550
Quote:
Originally Posted by av8or1 View Post
Interesting. Seems like everyone chimes in for Central like it is some kind of utopia or something. Oh well. 'Different strokes for different folks I guess. Personally I'd never raise a family there, so all I can agree with is the notion that has been repeated a few times, which is along the lines of "it depends on you and what you are looking for."

For example, I - and my family - much prefer a better space-to-dollar value, so we live on 2 acres in Leander. I can't see my neighbors and consider that a good thing. We love it and go into Central Austin maybe once every 4 months, if that. And are no worse for wear. :-)

I just get tired of the Central types trying to poo-poo anything that isn't Central, like it's the be-all-to-end all or something. It isn't. You don't need to live in the Central part of Austin to "live in Austin" and you certainly don't need it to be happy. I don't have anything against those who do and would like for that sentiment to be echoed but unfortunately it isn't. Most of the time anyway.

Good luck to the OP wherever you end up.

HAPPY in Leander.
I don't poo-poo anyone's choice, and I'm glad you're happy in Leander- but that's the thing. You live in LEANDER, you don't live in AUSTIN. And that's perfectly ok.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:58 PM
 
8,241 posts, read 10,286,768 times
Reputation: 3550
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddieconcarne View Post
I don't fully get the appeal of Central with kids. Why do you need to be close to downtown if you have children? It sounds like a parental preference more than a preference for the kids.

.
So what if living in the city is parental choice? Aren't parents the ones in charge? I get that living in Steiner or a Steiner type community has all those great things you describe, but DH and I would not be happy there. We love living in the city, for all the reasons that have already been posted. I wouldn't live somewhere *I* didn't like so my kids could 'be happy'. Kids are happy anywhere. Mom and dad pay the bills. We get to decide where to live.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Back home in California
593 posts, read 1,026,604 times
Reputation: 285
Kind of off topic but DH and I prefer the suburbs because we need a big yard for our dog--we don't have children. If I lived in the city, I'd have to get my butt out of bed at oh dark thirty to take my greyhound for a walk. Now, all I have to do is drag myself down the stairs (that's pretty harsh too) to open the back door.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Austin
1,618 posts, read 1,888,756 times
Reputation: 612
Has lot size changed in newer developments? I really don't know...it's been awhile since I looked. Many of the central lots are quite a bit larger than those I've seen elsewhere. Larger lots are a feature of most older neighborhoods.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Greater Seattle, WA Metro Area
1,938 posts, read 3,793,672 times
Reputation: 857
I know people have done it both ways and are happy with their choices. We lived in Circle C and loved it for the sense of community, fantastic schools and ease with which we made friends with people who were in roughly the same phase of life. We did have a few retirees on our street and they were very treasured as well. I will say, I never thought twice about letting my kids play outside and run from house to house and in the city, I would. I also enjoyed that it was less congested on the streets. Circle C has a lot of great running paths nearby that were easy with a babyjogger and that was great for for me.

Also, just do a registered sex offender search by zip code and it will give you a sense of what kind of vigilance you need to employ in a given area. Not that you can let your guard down anywhere...but statistically you have more offenders Central or closer to Central than say in Circle C or Steiner Ranch.

That being said, I think your investment will be preserved in a Central area. Have you considered Westlake? Great schools and lots of families as well as natural beauty and location. We just plain couldn't afford it but I don't think you could go wrong.
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