U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Alabama > Birmingham area
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-24-2008, 12:45 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10

Advertisements

Hello,

I am a single mom in my 30's of a 12 year old girl. I live in San Diego, Ca. and I am looking to relocate to Alabama, preferably the Birmingham area, next spring or later. I will be renting an apartment but I do NOT want to live IN the city.

Exactly what area I end up in will be dictated by the location of the job I land. I am concentrating my efforts on Birmingham. I want to be as close to the Lake Purdy/Mountain Brook area as I can, at least in terms of where I live, not necessarily where I work.

I work in clerical support for San Diego County in Law Enforcement and am looking for similar work with city/county/state/federal. My research shows that the wages are comparable or slightly less than here for the jobs in my field I qualify for. I would start at between 28K and 30K/annually. Would I be able to make it on those wages?

I need whatever tips, advice, suggestions anyone may have on good middle/high schools and affordable apartment rentals in safe areas. Also, around here you don't dare let your kids stay home alone or go out of the house alone, not even the front yard, so any thoughts on what to do with a 12 year old when school is OUT of session? And are there buses to get her to/from school? She goes to the Boys & Girls Club out here, anything similar there?

We are pretty much home bodies but we do enjoy local shopping versus cookie-cutter department stores (I do like me some Wal-Mart though!), movies, arcade, amusement parks, parades/festivals/fairs. That sort of thing.

I have one person in Alabama that I know, a childhood friend in Lake Purdy/Mountain Brook. That's why I would like to be within reasonable driving distance of that area.

Let me explain about where I am so you can understand what might appeal. San Diego in very pretty and very polluted. You can see a brown layer in the air when you come in by plane and the water in the bay (and the beaches at times) isn't safe to swim in.

Also, you don't dare drink or use tap water to cook with. We have great attractions and extremely HIGH rent ($1000.00+ a month for a one bedroom in a neighborhood where it isn't safe to go outside at night).

The traffic here is horrible. Are there any areas there that have really bad traffic? Good?

I want to be within about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes of my job, so if I would like to be reasonably close to Lake Purdy/Mountain Brook where should I concentrate my job efforts? There seem to be alot of openings in Huntsville and Anniston. Would these be good choices? I like the look of what I see in regards to living in Moody. Is it a good place to live as a single mother of a pre-teen girl?

I've started receiving an email subscribtion to the local daily news on al.com and I have been reading up on apartments, cities/towns, crime reports, economy, etc. in several areas. Problem is, you can only take what you read so far, it's much better to get a first hand account from people that are or have actually BEEN there. So I'm turning to you fine folks.

Having read some of these forums I found alot of folks were asked for further details so they could be given solid information so I apologize for babbling on, I just wanted to make sure I gave you what you needed!

Thanks in advance for you thoughts, I really appreciated it,

tgcali
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-24-2008, 01:20 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 42,448,527 times
Reputation: 45543
Hi. Let me see if I can help you.

We've found Birmingham to be a pretty great place to raise kids. In fact, our across the street neighbors moved here from LA for pretty much the same reasons you're leaving San Diego and absolutely love it here. Our neighbors up the street are from San Diego. He likes it here, she doesn't like it as much. Then again, she's French, so she doesn't like much at all.

The Mountain Brook part of town is almost exclusively single-family residences, so you might have a problem finding a place unless it's a house for rent (There are quite a few out there, however, due to the real estate market. It's not as bad as California, but it isn't great right now). At the same time, there are a number of affordable neighborhoods around Overton Road. It's a good place to live and very convenient to everything. The big problem with Mountain Brook is that there are no school buses. In fact, that's a problem with a good number of school systems here in the Over The Mountain area, so double check that detail. You might have to line up car pools or after school care in that event.

There is also the Cahaba Heights section, which is an extremely convenient section of Vestavia, a stone's throw from Lake Purdy. That area seems to be doing well.

The other alternative I would consider is Vestavia, which is about 5 miles from the Lake Purdy area (a very short drive). If your daughter is 12 years old that would put her in Pizitz Middle School in that school system. There are several nice apartment complexes within walking distance of Pizitz, and the high school as well. And the price range is well under $1000/month. I went through a list of apartments for less than $800. Here you go: Apartments for Rent in Highway 280 Area | Apartment in Highway 280 Area*Alabama


Hoover, particularly down highway 280, is near your friend and has a good number of apartments. While the area is perfectly safe, I would feel more comfortable with Cahaba Heights and Vestavia. Mountain Brook, Vestavia, and Hoover are virtually crime free, well-patrolled, and safe. All three have superior public schools that compare well to any school system in the country. Of course, when it comes to safety for your daughter, common sense has to prevail. Your 12-year-old shouldn't be out roaming all over by herself once school lets out.

With those three areas, you'll find very convenient shopping, etc. Now, Highway 280 is pretty horrible by Alabama standards, but my California friends scoff. You'll have to use your own judgment in that regard.

As far as work goes, things might be tight for you in that salary range, but probably not as tight as San Diego and its significantly higher cost of living. What's more, I'm certain you can find a nicer apartment for less money. One place to look for civil servant jobs is the Jefferson County Employment Office, an office that acts as a clearinghouse for all municipalities in the metro area. Here's the web address: The Personnel Board of Jefferson County

There are plenty of things to do in the area, so you wouldn't be going to the sticks. There's an amusement park/water theme park, plenty of activities, festivals, diversions, etc. And your daughter's school will most likely have a ton of things to do, too. You'll be near Oak Mountain State Park, lakes, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico 3.5 hours away (And you can swim in that, too. It's warm, like a bathtub).

Overall, Birmingham's economy continues to fare better than the national economy with unemployment about 1.5 points under the national average. As far as job searches are concerned, you really need to concentrate on the Birmingham market. Anniston is over an hour away and Huntsville is 1.5 hours away. However, if you're in the downtown or South-of-Town area, your average commute should be no more than 30 minutes, assuming that you live in the areas I cited earlier.

Finally, a cautionary note. We like Birmingham a lot, but it certainly isn't paradise. There are issues just the same as there are in any city. What's more, you'll find differences in culture and attitude. Those attitudes are not negative and certainly not insurmountable, but they are there. A successful transplant will embrace local people here, reach out to make friends, and not sit around fretting, "Well, that's not how we do things up in Cleveland." So as long as you and your daughter go in knowing that, you'll do find. People here are very polite and will give you the shirt off their backs. At the same, there's a bit of reserve to people who move here. Again, it's not insurmountable. It just means that you need to go the extra mile to make friends. But once you make friends here, you'll have a blast. We never lack for things to do. My wife and I love it here and never want to leave.

Good luck. Let us know if you have further questions.

Last edited by cpg35223; 10-24-2008 at 01:30 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 01:48 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the input! I appreciate it.

How much of a drive is it from Mountain Brook to Moody? Moody to Huntsville? I think I'm open to living a little farther away, don't get me wrong I like all the areas you mentioned, I just need to know maybe more about areas that do have school buses/easy walking distance to the schools.

I'm kind of surprised by your info. The school district for Mountain Brook lists a bus pick-up route/map and time schedule. But then Mountain Brook seems to be a little pricey for me anyway, so there ya go!

I'll make better money after a time but I do have to start at the bottom. Of course. I know that going in. I understand what you mean about making friends. You get what you give. I don't like the 'me first' attitude that is so prevelant in California. I don't want to keep up with the Smith's.

I want to be able to pay my bills and meet my daughter's needs. I want simple. I want a place where people believe as I do, if you don't earn it you don't deserve it. The first couple of years while I move up the pay scale will be a bit tight I assume. But there are, as a rule, on average a gap of about 10K from bottom pay to top pay so our circumstances would improve.

You want a scary thought? That's the money I earn here.......With the cost of living so much better there, it may be tight but it'll be doable.

I expierenced 280 while I was there in August. I have also experienced LA traffic. San Diego is horrible and still doesn't come close to LA! I agree with your friends, the 280 is cake. (yes, I was on it on a weekday at rush hour)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 01:51 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10
I forgot to mention, thanks for the tip of the Jefferson County jobsite, I'm already there, and the link for apartments. Very helpful!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 01:56 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 42,448,527 times
Reputation: 45543
Moody is about 17 miles away. The metro area is beginning to punch out that way, but still has a long ways to go. I don't think the schools are nearly the quality of the Over The Mountain schools. Plus, because it's further out, your daughter might feel a little more isolated.

I was surprised to see Mountain Brook schools have buses, namely because I've never seen one except to haul the football players between the middle school and the high school. Do you have a link?

Overall, I just think the OTM area is best suited to your needs. Your friend will probably agree.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 02:35 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10
SCBOE Transportation

I hope that link works! If you click on the 'Inverness Zone' it shows the neighborhood I've been talking about.

Come to think of it. I think I've been refering to the wrong area. If I have I apologize sincerely. I am an out-of-towner. That's my only excuse. On Google Maps, it lists the area as Lake Purdy/Mountain Brook. I didn't mean to confuse or mislead! Oak Mountain Middle/High are the schools his kids attend. How is that area referred to?

I understand the area you mean when you refer to 'Over the Mountain', but I don't understand the reference. Could you enlighten me?

Last edited by tgcali; 10-24-2008 at 02:36 PM.. Reason: link not working
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 02:42 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 42,448,527 times
Reputation: 45543
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgcali View Post
SCBOE Transportation

I hope that link works! If you click on the 'Inverness Zone' it shows the neighborhood I've been talking about.

Come to think of it. I think I've been refering to the wrong area. If I have I apologize sincerely. I am an out-of-towner. That's my only excuse. On Google Maps, it lists the area as Lake Purdy/Mountain Brook. I didn't mean to confuse or mislead! Oak Mountain Middle/High are the schools his kids attend. How is that area referred to?

I understand the area you mean when you refer to 'Over the Mountain', but I don't understand the reference. Could you enlighten me?
Ah....yes, that's a different kettle of fish.

Over The Mountain is pretty much anything south of Birmingham, but most specifically Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia, Hoover and northern Shelby County. Essentially, anything between Red Mountain and Oak Mountain. The entire area is perfectly safe, so you and your daughter will be fine.

The Oak Mountain Middle/High School district is a great area. You'll like that area a lot. In the job hunt, you'll probably want to focus as much on Shelby County as Jefferson County, then.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 02:44 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you! I guess it's to be expected that I would get mixed-up but it still makes me feel a bit dense!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Kissimmee, Fl/Guntersville, AL Soon
482 posts, read 2,073,201 times
Reputation: 341
There is a real upscale mall out in the Mountain Brook area called the Summit and I know there is a fairly new nice looking apartment complex by the Summit. Past Mountain Brook is an area called Inverness and it is also very nice.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-24-2008, 02:57 PM
 
Location: San Diego, Ca.
33 posts, read 82,990 times
Reputation: 10
I went to the Summit! I liked it. Alot! I also went to the Galleria and another one I think was named Brookwood. Or something like that. I was on vacation so shopping was on the agenda. I mean I brought an empty duffel bag on my trip with me so I would have enough room to pack everything! That's my story and I'm sticking to it...

Any idea what the name is or a street name so I could look it up? That would be great. I like that area.

I think Inverness is actually closer to what I meant to refer to. Just one of the problems with being the brain-dead out-of-towner that doesn't know what she's talking about......But, that is why I am here. So I can find out things. You are all a great help and I appreciate it. Thanks!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2013 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Alabama > Birmingham area
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top