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Old 03-09-2006, 04:04 PM
 
22,454 posts, read 41,350,578 times
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Here’s how we decided to move to Colorado Springs from the Wash, DC metro area. See my post in "other" to get tips and techniques for how to search out a new place to live. We wanted out of the DC area, which is unlivable due to traffic and high prices.

We started by looking on www.realtor.com to cruise all over. Zillow now does the same function.

We wanted away from summer heat & humidity, hurricanes, bugs, tornadoes, earthquakes, crime, traffic, poverty, high prices. We wanted a basement for hobbies.

Been to Florida several times for vacation and ruled it out due to bugs, heat, humidity, hurricanes. Prices are high,few homes have basements. Greenery looks nice, but Florida's a swamp, so we nixed the entire South.

Been to Scottsdale-Phoenix. Saw Del Webb's Sun City Grand in Surprise, AZ. Saw Wickenburg, Gold Canyon and Apache Jct, AZ. Very nice homes, but way too hot. Del Webb homes are nice, but no basements. Just too hot.

Been to Las Vegas. Houses were affordable 5 years ago, but that changed. LV is growing fast and is a one-industry town. A lot of folks who move to LV stay 3-5 years and move again – too boring. Crime is moderate or higher. Same heat issue as Phoenix.

Visited Albuquerque, NM. Some interesting houses for reasonable money, but the crime is awful. Development is “spotty” which means they’ll be a group of nice homes and very nearby is a pocket of poverty or ugliness. Traffic was awful. Not quite as hot as LV or Phoenix, but a brown desert.

Been to California. Ruled it out due to very high home prices, crowded cities, earthquakes, mudslides, high taxes, etc.

Been to Austin and San Antonio, TX. Too plain, hot, humid. Real estate tax is high ($8k on a $300k house) and makes up for lack of state income tax.

Then there is Colorado. The first $20k of each of our pensions is exempt from CO income tax, nor are property taxes that high. The whole Front Range is lovely. Colorado Springs is far enough away from Denver to have it’s own identity. On the north end where we are, across from the USAF Academy, everything is new, nothing spotty, no pockets of poverty. Entire state is beautiful. Very nice homes in COLO SPGS for much less than Denver or Boulder, they'd be twice that in Fairfax County, VA or most coastal areas.

The Springs has a lot of Federal money, USAF Academy, Peterson AFB, Fort Carson, NORAD, Homeland Security, Cheyenne Mountain, not to mention the Federal contractors and high-tech biz here. Lots of good clean money coming in and few industrial areas to speak of. Lots of upside, very little downside. A well educated populace.

We liked Colorado for the beauty, and it came out a winner in the data analysis too. Dry climate works very well for us, doesn't feel hot in summer or cold in winter. The Front Range is along the prairie, very little snow, which is mainly up in the high country.

Some traffic on I-25, but we get around just fine without the horrendous gridlock of Northern Virginia. Abundance of roads and the lack of gridlock is a key reason we eagerly left the DC area, where it was rush hour all day. We have no dense urban core crammed full of skyscrapers, thus we have no hub/spoke traffic problems like typical cities. Our downtown is quite livable. (EDIT: June 2018, the traffic on I-25 between COLO SPGS and Denver has become terrible with regular backups. No relief in sight until 2020, or later.)

Quality of life is outstanding. There is a local minor league baseball team. In Denver the Broncos sell some half price tickets to see the Denver Bronco’s play; an experience we could not get in the DC area. Ice hockey and cycling are big. There's a ton of parks and pathways to walk all over the area. Football and basketball over at the USAF is affordable and fun, we got to see just about any game we wanted, including USAF vs Army or Navy or Notre Dame.

There is a thriving religious life here, all denominations.

We get decent stage shows (though nowhere as good or as many as Denver gets at 5-6 times the size). Tons of things to do, especially outdoors, and Colorado has the healthiest populace in the nation.

We worked with a realtor who specialized in new home and helped us avoid builders with lesser reputations. Check builders very carefully before you buy – anywhere.

If you like older charming homes, see the Old North End in zip codes 80907, 80903. The area around Colorado College is a delightful mix of old cottages and bungalows, some quite large, in a flat walkable tree-lined area of great gentility.

Preferred school districts are Districts 8, 12, 20, and 38, with D11 having some VERY excellent schools too.

If you want 2-5 wooded acres, see Black Forest, 80908. Good horse country, 5-10 miles NE of town.

If you want mountains, see Woodland Park, Florissant, Divide or anywhere in Teller County, west of Colorado Springs, out highway 24.

If you want to be on a golf course, see Pine Creek, 80920, aka Briargate, or downtown near Patty Jewett golf course 80907.

If you want rustic or Bohemian, see Manitou Springs, on the west side of Colorado Springs known as Old Colorado City (OCC). (Edit June 2018: Manitou has both Medical and Recreational MJ, COLO SPGS only has Medical MJ.)

Something here for everyone, affordable, livable, great.



UPDATE . . . . UPDATE SUMMER 2016

We left COLO SPGS in June 2016 after 11 nice years. The experience just went downhill for us and our needs were changing.

There is a lot to like about COLO SPGS, the dry air, mild temps, scenery, lower cost of living versus Denver/Boulder, access to the mountains, college sports and more.

We had personal reasons for leaving, like my heart issues that make shoveling snow a bit dicey, wanted a smaller home with no lawn to mow, no stairs to climb and very little carpet to vacuum.

Powers Blvd ran about a 100 yards behind us and the noise grew to unacceptable levels, we couldn't sit on the deck if we wanted to.

We've traded 8 months of heating season for 8 months of cooling season.

Main dislike in COLO SPGS is the TABOR law that keep the city so poor it can't fulfill normal city functions. TABOR is the Taxpayer Bill of Rights which, enacted in 1992, which allows new or increased taxes only if voted by a majority of voters. Especially suffering are road work, drainage issues and police services. The city sold off their police helicopters in 2010 during the recession, never replaced them, and now have cut police to the bone. They've not enough parks and can barely maintain the few overused ones they have.

The potholed streets of COLO SPGS are a disgrace and the voters finally approved a slight bump up in the sales tax rate it is only a 5 year temporary fix, after that who knows what will happen. Photo: http://www.westword.com/news/city-di...-in-it-7967768

Stormwater drainage still doesn't have a fix.

Try and live within the service area of COLO SPGS Utilities. This is a city-owned utility with rates a lot lower than some nearby areas served by other entities. IIRC the electric rates of CSU were 25% cheaper than Pueblo with Black Hills Energy. CSU offer gas, electric, water, and sewer service on one monthly bill. One of our mayors tried to privatize CSU but citizens shot it down as rates would have gone way up. We never had any service problem at all, with very few outages in 11 years and those were fixed asap.

Overall it was TABOR that drove us out, the unending vow of poverty of living in a city where 60% of voters are so cheap the city is a bit of a joke to the rest of Colorado. They won't even fund school bonds to build new schools; in Falcon School District (D49) they had to bring in trailers for the students, though that may have changed by now.

Back in 2010 voters said no to a small tax increase so the city had to sell off its police helicopters, let the parks go dry, turn off the street lights, etc. We became a national laughing stock.

Now that times are better there is still a lack of funds for even the police so they've let the force dwindle. Thanks to the anti-tax crowd the cops recently told locals that policing is now a Do It Yourself (DITY) proposition: http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archi...olicing-policy

More news items on crime and policing: http://www.csindy.com/coloradospring...nt?oid=4054116


Colorado Springs may work just fine for many folks but for us it was time to leave, our money is good anywhere so we left for Peoria, AZ.

s/Mike from back east, and I ain't going back!

Last edited by Mike from back east; 06-27-2018 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:01 PM
 
8 posts, read 76,022 times
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Default Very helpful

Thanks for the info. I am currently looking into moving there from San Fran area for much the same reasons. I'm tired of the cost of living, stress, and long commute.
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Old 03-17-2006, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Las Vegas
110 posts, read 652,341 times
Reputation: 258
Quote:
Been to Florida several times for vacation and ruled it out due to bugs, heat, humidity, hurricanes. Prices are high,few homes have basements. Greenery looks nice, but Florida's a swamp, so we nixed the entire South.
Mike - so true!! What an excellent post. As a multiple cross-country relocatee looking to move again, your post was delightfully thorough. We have used the tools you mention many times. So good to analyze just what it is you're looking for. Having gone from California to Oregon to Ohio (job transfer) to Florida, we're conflicted between the sunshine of Texas and back to the coastal but dreary Northwest but you're making Colorado look pretty good. The idea of snow has eliminated the area before but we'll have to rethink it. We're in high tech - will have to look for jobs there.

Thanks,
Kat
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:13 AM
 
22,454 posts, read 41,350,578 times
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Kat: There is a great high tech sector here in the Springs, with a small army of contractors supporting military efforts at the Air Force Academy, Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB, Fort Carson, NORAD, Homeland Defense, and other DoD.

With a focus on Defense, the Springs is a bit of a silicon valley in its own right. Then there's Denver, no slouch in high tech either. This whole region, 60 miles north and 60 miles south of Denver, is THE hot high-tech area for the intermountain-west.

The Gazette newspaper: http://www.gazette.com/ runs a job site: http://www.springsjobs.com/ that may help.

The local Chamber of Commerce sells directories of high tech / aerospace firms in the area, see: http://www.coloradospringschamber.org/site/site/connection/rel.shtml (broken link)

If you're in the internet side of life, there is a Colorado Assoc of Internet Professionals, here in town, at: http://www.csaip.org/ (broken link)

If you're a female, there is a Colorado Women in Technology directory at: http://www.coloradowit.org/directory.htm

In a brief search, some of the firms here are:

- SAIC: http://jobs.saic.com/ajobbext3.nsf/Colorado?OpenView&Start=1&Count=75&Expand=2#2 (broken link)

- INTEL: http://www.intel.com/jobs/usa/sites/ColoradoSprings/ (broken link)

- HP (3 locations here): http://h10055.www1.hp.com/jobsathp/c....asp?Lang=ENen

- Northrup Grumman: http://careers.northropgrumman.com/ExternalHorizonsWeb/getQuery.do (broken link)

- Colorado Tech Assoc: http://www.csiaonline.com/2005techindex.htm (broken link) and their mother lode of tech listings is at: http://www.csiaonline.com/membershipdirectory.htm (broken link)

Others noted in the area are Teledyne Brown, ITT (numerous locations), Oracle, FEDEX, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, SI International, Boeing, and the list is almost endless.

I'm sure there's a high tech job for you here.

We've had 5 inches of snow since last fall, may get some this weekend, but it's been a dry winter. In this town, you can afford to live near where you work, not like the DC area where we came from. People there were commuting up to a hundred miles each way, daily, and when it snowed there you wouldn't believe the traffic problems. There was a city-wide plan for staggering the release of people from their offices, because if they all went out the door at one time the entire region gridlocked, and in one case it took folks 6-8 hours to get home and hundreds of cars were simply abandoned. We don't miss that area one bit.

s/mike
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Old 03-17-2006, 08:10 PM
 
Location: California
563 posts, read 1,091,631 times
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Mike,

Thanks for all of your valuable input. Colorado Springs should hire you to be on their Chamber of Commerce or Visitor's Bureau.

We've been looking around since last summer, and I took a trip through the northwest and Colorado/Utah last September. I was only in Colorado for a day, looking in Loveland, and decided it was too densely populated and too crowded. Now I wish that I'd taken the time to see more of the state. We are thinking of either Colorado Springs or south of there. Idealy we'd like to get a property with a house to live in while we build another one, then rent out the first one. However, the prices in Colorado Springs seem as high as they are here in California. I sent what I was looking for to an agent there yesterday and he said it wasn't available there and I should look elsewhere. By the way, I've been a California Real Estate Broker since 1985. I am optimistic we can find what we want, but it's a matter of locating it first.

The areas we are considering now are either the outskirts of Colorado Springs, or else one of the smaller towns south of there, but we don't know much about the social climate (gangs etc) or quality of life in those places.
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:30 AM
 
22,454 posts, read 41,350,578 times
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The outskirts may very well have something to your liking. If you haven't done so, try looking at Monument, Palmer Lakes, Tri-Lakes and the Larkspur areas here on the North side. East of town, towards the prairie is Falcon and due north of that is the large area known as Black Forest. Castle Rock is probably too far north and too close to Denver. I'd avoid going south of town. I especially hear people talking about Pueblo having gang activity. Going west of town you get to places like Woodland Park that are higher up in the mountains and very pretty. There's a lot to choose from, hopefully there is something here for you.
s/Mike
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Old 03-18-2006, 06:10 PM
 
22,454 posts, read 41,350,578 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmdassit
Thanks for the info. I am currently looking into moving there from San Fran area for much the same reasons. I'm tired of the cost of living, stress, and long commute.
Coincidentally, there is a great story in today's Washington Post (3/18/06) about how middle class families are being forced out of San Fran by high housing prices. The article touched on 8 major west coast cities, and several east coast cities, but it was keyed to prices and issues in SF, CA. The story is at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...031801034.html

Last edited by Mike from back east; 03-18-2006 at 06:18 PM..
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:23 AM
 
Location: California
563 posts, read 1,091,631 times
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Default colorado

Mike, your information is very helpful. I haven't seen any of those areas yet but will keep them in mind. How might Canon City be?
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Old 03-19-2006, 11:45 AM
 
22,454 posts, read 41,350,578 times
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Canon City is well out and away from the larger areas of Pueblo and Colorado Springs. It's a fairly small but nice town that caters a bit to the tourist trade via the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway, a park with attractions at the top of the Gorge, and white water rafting in the gorge. We've been to both and they are outstanding. West of the town the scenery is fabulous. Not sure the job scene, but I do know there's a major prison that employs a lot of folks.

Here are some links for that area:
- http://www.royalgorgebridge.com/
- http://www.royalgorgeroute.com/
- http://www.canoncitycolorado.com/ (broken link)
- http://www.canoncitydailyrecord.com/
- http://www.canoncitychamber.com/
- http://downtowncanoncity.com/
- http://www.homegain.com/local_real_e...anon_city.html

Hope this helps.
s/Mike
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Old 03-19-2006, 12:46 PM
 
16 posts, read 87,404 times
Reputation: 50
long as you all keep your senarios on that eastern front, things'll be ok. You come here developing all this stuff you are running away from. (you know Denver used to be a very nice town- now you got it developed half way to Kansas!)
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