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Old 12-18-2011, 01:11 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,563 times
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We are looking at moving to Marengo, or a similar community close(kind of) to Rockford, IL. We currently live in Downers Grove. What little I can find online says positive things about Marengo, but the same can be said about Downers Grove or any other community with a chamber of commerce. If we move, we will not be commuting to Chicago anymore, and my job will be in Rockford.

We have a few chickens and a huge (100'x100') garden right now, and we are looking to expand that if we move(maybe even some goats?). We are looking for something a little more agrarian and laid back than Downers, but at the same time we don't want to be the only people in town with post graduate degrees. We are fairly moderate in our politics, and are looking for someplace that doesn't force feed one view or the other. Diversity doesn't bother us, nor does a lack of it. We are devout Catholics and will send our kids to Parochial schools, so the quality of the public ones isn't necessarily a deal breaker. We do want a family friendly town that is VERY SAFE. We also don't want to be in an area where everybody tries to "keep up with the Jones'".

We would be looking for 5+ acres, with a 3+ bedroom 2,000+/- sf house and a barn that is zoned A1 or A2, or an empty build-able lot of 5+ acres We would like to be under $250k on the whole project to avoid a huge mortgage, but could go higher. I've found a few online that would meet our general requirements on paper. Remodeling doesn't scare us, and she is an architect. As far as dumping our current house, we could list it for $300k less than anything else in the neighborhood and still walk away with a little money in our pockets.

Can this be found in the area we are looking, or are we better off where we are?

Yes, I know DG doesn't meet all of our criteria either....
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Old 12-18-2011, 02:29 PM
 
13,730 posts, read 22,868,784 times
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Marengo is a small town of perhaps 5,000 people that is about 10 miles west of Crystal Lake. Most of the housing stock is older with the exception of a could small communities that have been developed in the past 10 years or so.

It is a conservative community as are most old farming communities in McHenry Co. As there is significant manufacturing in the area, including a Nissan forklift plant, there is a portion of the population that have advanced degrees. If you are expecting Evanston, you will be disappointed.

Crime is minimal as well, it is pretty sleepy. In other words, people head to Rockford or Crystal Lake for their major shopping trips.

People in McHenry Co. generally don't spend a lot of time talking politics. BUT they DO resent newcomers who want to tell them how much better things are in Chicago or Cook County. Most of the people are more concerned in earning a living and raising a family than in the politics du jour.

Sacred Heart Church has no school attached. However, some children go to St. Mary's School in Woodstock or St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake. Zion Lutheran Church in Marengo also has a school. There is also a school at St. Charles Borromeo in Hampshire
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Old 12-18-2011, 03:03 PM
 
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The last census counted 12,400 in Marengo. I believe Marengo is more tolerant of the activities you mention.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:38 AM
 
28,385 posts, read 68,046,709 times
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I dunno. If the commute to a job in Rockford is key I think there are better values to be had than inside Marengo. If a strong parochial school is your top priority that may be your toughest nut to crack as data even in the more populous portions of the region is pretty sketchy about private schools. You might find that the families are more escaping horribly local public schools than really devout in their adherence to their Church...

High school level stuff seems to be dominated by athletics, not really much insight into how strictly following of the faith such schools might be...
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,069,183 times
Reputation: 2784
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGchicken View Post
We are looking at moving to Marengo, or a similar community close(kind of) to Rockford, IL. We currently live in Downers Grove. What little I can find online says positive things about Marengo, but the same can be said about Downers Grove or any other community with a chamber of commerce. If we move, we will not be commuting to Chicago anymore, and my job will be in Rockford.

We have a few chickens and a huge (100'x100') garden right now, and we are looking to expand that if we move(maybe even some goats?). We are looking for something a little more agrarian and laid back than Downers, but at the same time we don't want to be the only people in town with post graduate degrees. We are fairly moderate in our politics, and are looking for someplace that doesn't force feed one view or the other. Diversity doesn't bother us, nor does a lack of it. We are devout Catholics and will send our kids to Parochial schools, so the quality of the public ones isn't necessarily a deal breaker. We do want a family friendly town that is VERY SAFE. We also don't want to be in an area where everybody tries to "keep up with the Jones'".

We would be looking for 5+ acres, with a 3+ bedroom 2,000+/- sf house and a barn that is zoned A1 or A2, or an empty build-able lot of 5+ acres We would like to be under $250k on the whole project to avoid a huge mortgage, but could go higher. I've found a few online that would meet our general requirements on paper. Remodeling doesn't scare us, and she is an architect. As far as dumping our current house, we could list it for $300k less than anything else in the neighborhood and still walk away with a little money in our pockets.

Can this be found in the area we are looking, or are we better off where we are?

Yes, I know DG doesn't meet all of our criteria either....
How flexible is work? Can you work in Crystal Lake or Woodstock?
How about moving closer to Rockford and using the parochial schools there?
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:13 PM
 
2 posts, read 3,563 times
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Work/commute: If I get the new position, the commute to Rockford is important, but I will still have to go to the loop from time to time for managers' meetings and etc. so having a Metra station sort of close is a good thing. My current supervisor is begging me not to go and trying to block me from doing so. If he is successful, I will be stuck with the Metra to downtown for a while, but I already do work on the train ride, so the length really doesn't bother me too much.

Schools: I'm OK with the Catholic schools focusing on education more than religion. We can and do handle that component at home. We just don't want to send our children somewhere that is hostile to our faith.

Thanks for all the insite into the Marengo area.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,069,183 times
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This is not a knock against Marengo. I travel most of the state and Marengo seems like a small & boring little town. If all you need is groceries, gas, bank, McD's and some small tavern/restaurants then it will work. What is the school situation like? For me, that is tied hand in hand with locating a place to live. What will relocating from a fairly dense suburb to a rural/small town be like for your kids?
There is no Metra from Rockford. Harvard, Crystal Lake and Elgin are your closest stations. Rockford has many private school options & if it weren't for the commuting to Chicago prerequisite, I would say move closer to Rockford.
Something will have to "give" on your wish list.
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:12 PM
 
13,730 posts, read 22,868,784 times
Reputation: 18573
Quote:
Originally Posted by DGchicken View Post
Work/commute: If I get the new position, the commute to Rockford is important, but I will still have to go to the loop from time to time for managers' meetings and etc. so having a Metra station sort of close is a good thing. My current supervisor is begging me not to go and trying to block me from doing so. If he is successful, I will be stuck with the Metra to downtown for a while, but I already do work on the train ride, so the length really doesn't bother me too much.


It is a 15 -20 minute drive to the DT Crystal Lake station from Marengo and IL-176 generally does not have many backups or traffic lights.

Personally, after years of city life, the concept of a "small and boring" town can be very attractive, especially in a smaller town where people have a good sense of community.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Lake Arlington Heights, IL
5,481 posts, read 10,069,183 times
Reputation: 2784
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
It is a 15 -20 minute drive to the DT Crystal Lake station from Marengo and IL-176 generally does not have many backups or traffic lights.

Personally, after years of city life, the concept of a "small and boring" town can be very attractive, especially in a smaller town where people have a good sense of community.
Sure. But Woodstock seems a lot more charming to me. But there is subjectivity to a decision like this. Woodstock Rd from north of Belvidere to Woodstock is one of my favorite drives. And again, where is the best school for my kids and how will they handle this change? If the kids are really young, typically no problem. If you pull a kid from a high school they thrive in and enjoy, may be a big problem.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:07 AM
 
13,730 posts, read 22,868,784 times
Reputation: 18573
Quote:
Originally Posted by cubssoxfan View Post
Sure. But Woodstock seems a lot more charming to me. But there is subjectivity to a decision like this. Woodstock Rd from north of Belvidere to Woodstock is one of my favorite drives. And again, where is the best school for my kids and how will they handle this change? If the kids are really young, typically no problem. If you pull a kid from a high school they thrive in and enjoy, may be a big problem.

I live in Woodstock and I would move to Marengo in a minute if I could sell the house. The ONLY thing that Woodstock has over Marengo is that Woodstock has a historical buildings on the square and the like.

Marengo has much more of a "small town" feel, the people tend to be a bit friendlier.

As for schools, if that was a major concern, I would head to Crystal Lake, period.
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