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Old 09-03-2011, 02:10 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,702,524 times
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My wife and I dream of moving to Colorado Springs. It has become a major life goal for us. I have browsed these forums for several months so I could learn about the local economy, community, and weather.

How it all started.

My wife and I live in Iowa. That's enough reason to want to move IMO. We came out here so she could go to the nursing program at University of Iowa. She has finished, but we won't be ready to move until we have our financial base set (we'd like to be able to buy a house about a year after arriving). I had not thought Colorado would be an ideal place. She suggested it and I just stared at her, but she told me to go study it and see what I thought. Within an hour it was at the top of my list. I see the weather for CS each day along with the local weather -- you guys win pretty much every day.

I used the traffic cams to get a feel for rush hour. The lightest of any city this size. The sprawling lay out and wide streets are a testament that is entirely possible to pave the way out of gridlock. Houston did it a few decades ago--then stopped paving while continuing to grow and went right back to gridlock.

Why we love Colorado:
Excellent weather for the seasons
Beautiful views
All the comforts of a city without the constant crowding and gridlock (We used to live in Portland, Oregon)
LOW property taxes - Since we love beautiful property, we will spend more on having a nice house rather than an entertainment budget, new clothes, a flat screen tv, or cable internet. The last thing we want is to be taxed on that choice.
Short commutes to our favorite places. Hospital, costco, panda express, grocery store, all within 10 minutes, generally less.

What I need help with:
We need to know if we understand the area as we think we do. Let me know if we are right about these things.

1. We plan to live in the north eastern side of CS. It appears that traffic is generally light over here, but streets are wide. We would probably be near powers. Will this still be a safe area in 20 years? North of Dublin BLVD. (Expecting to buy a house for 200-250k) Google van images of the streets look good, house listings meet our style.

2. Buying a house facing south or west is ideal because in the winter it will melt a great deal of the snow for you.

3. Is there any major construction planned for the area west of powers and north of Dublin? We LOVE views and want an unobstructed view of the mountain. We will not consider houses that do not have this--or houses where the view is not protected. Generally we would consider it protected if we are on a small hill and there are several houses to the east blocking future construction.

4. Will the springs continue to have lighter traffic? There was conversation before about bringing in some skyscrapers to make downtown more dense and ensure traffic problems. Even some members who thought traffic problems were a good thing to punish people who choose to live farther from "down town". Last I understood the project was dead, but it's unclear how the city feels about it.

5. We don't believe in buying cable TV. Do you guys have over the air channels still broadcasting out there? Currently we get half of one channel. My wife keeps a TV set for that (while cooking), I sold the other one.

6. Financial firms. Does CS have many financial firms? With the significantly higher than norm income to cost of living ratios I'd assume there would be significant interest in retirement and investment planning. I'm working on my education currently and looking at getting an MBA in finance to further my ability to get past HR "professionals".

7. St. francis hospital vs memorial hospital north.
Which is better to work at? Which is better to go? My experience here is that Saint Lukes is the best hospital to go to most of the time, but the university hospital is the best place to work by miles. Higher pay, better benefits, better morale. My wife is a nurse, considering getting a DNP before we move out there since (correct me if I'm wrong) Colorado has a state law prohibiting RNs from taking a BSN (bachelors) to DNP (doctorate) program without getting a masters first. Since the idea of wasting 2-3 years of her life is not appealing to either of us, she won't be getting a masters. Does this law exist? Have there been any efforts to remove it? The training material for Masters and DNP are entirely different, as are the fields that the degrees prepare you for. As a result it is usually a waste to have both.

8 Weather.com is frequently wrong about our local weather and our averages. How warm does it get during January? Our #1 thing to move away from here is the cold. Actual average high in january is around 15 degrees BEFORE wind chill, which takes it to around 10.

9. It seems windy. Does that bother anyone?

10. Are there any non-pine trees? I've seen a couple, but mostly it's just massive amounts of pine. Can they not be grown that high--in those temperatures, or are there rules against bringing them in?

11. What is with the housing price to rent ratio? I'm looking for 2 bedroom apartments in the north have of town and most 2 bedrooms are over a thousand bucks, many of the nice ones are over 1100. When we buy a house, probably a 4 bedroom with a larger lot and a great view, our mortgage payment will be cheaper than (or similar to) renting a 2 bedroom apartment. The tools realtors are using doesn't seem to reflect this. Price/rent ratios and so on.

12. Will property taxes stay low? It appears with Colorados bill of rights, and the local TABOR in force the low taxes will continue. I don't care if they stop providing/subsidizing several things, one of the reasons I want to live there is that I can choose how to spend my money. My wife and I are libertarians. We want to choose what we do with anything that belongs to us. There is a difference between asking for something and taking it by force. Taxes are force. It sounds like this city has a very strong libertarian vibe. That cemented our desire to move here. We are currently in an area with a ton of christian democrats--having grown up where the republicans were almost all Christians and the democrats weren't, this has been a complete reversal. We don't want the republicans to tell us what we can or can not do with our lives, and we don't want the democrats telling us what we can or can not do with our money.

13. How strong are the HOAs there? I've seen mixed results. In some areas in they kept the place nice, but in others they were just forceful intrusions in people's personal lives.

14. Gun control laws. Are there any laws that prevent me from having a gun as part of my home security system? I find a shotgun and a dog to be more effective and more fun to maintain than a wall operated system.

15. I've heard water costs are going up and there is some kind of lawn treatment suggested to use less water. What is it and how much do you save? We'll look at things as small as a .10 acre, but our favorites are usually .2 to .25

PS. I'm attaching a picture of the kind of view I want from my windows. If there are other nice areas within 10 minutes or so of the hospitals I'd love to hear about them.
Attached Thumbnails
Future C.S. Resident and regular forum lurker-l60ee4243-m3m.jpg  

Last edited by lurtsman; 09-03-2011 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 09-03-2011, 04:36 PM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,864 posts, read 7,096,377 times
Reputation: 1543
Holy questions dude. Well, you pretty much asked every thing thing a prospective resident could ask, and I have to say, you have done your research sir.

Forgive me, I don't have time to answer all of them, but suffice to say, yes, I think that area will be safe 20 years from now, hell the area where my parents built a house 20 years ago is still safe and considered relativeley new.

The only thing I'd consider changing is moving in further west, like the Briargate or Rockrimmon neighborhoods. The area you're speaking of is the powers corridor, and its WAY east, and isn't very close to the mountains or wildlife (except the occasional antelope)

As far as guns, buddy, you'll be right at home here. Colorado is VERY pro gun. In fact, you can carry a weapon concealed in your car without a permit. And we're home to Dragon man's. A guy who probably has the biggest collection of machine guns and military equipment in the country.

Hospitals? St. Francis hands down, just because it's brand new. Memorial SUCKS.

There are plenty of deciduous trees here, mostly planted on tree lawns and yards, although most of them were brought here and not native. Part of Spencer Penrose's master plan for convincing his uptight girlfriend to move here.

Plenty of over the air tv, and alot of it is Hi def. I get at least 15 channels.

The wind here isn't nearly as bad as further south of fountain. I always make the joke that if the wind ever stops blowing in pueblo, everyone will fall over. Springs isn't bad though. Some days are calm, some aren't.

As far as grass is concerned, there's no way to get around watering it. Water it every day, or it dies, plain and simple. Sprinkler systems are abundant here.

F*&(& HOA's. Try to stay away from them at all costs. Most of them are house Nazis.

Based on what you're looking for, I think you'd be happy in the 80920 zip code. Still very nice, and it is a little older, so that may save you some money.

But it's up to you. I say come here, drive up and down the academy corridor, and then powers and see what you like the most.

I have a 75 foot oak tree in my yard. They'll grow just fine here.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 09-03-2011 at 07:28 PM.. Reason: Merged 2:1
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:56 PM
 
3,493 posts, read 4,702,524 times
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We may need to plant some trees like that--after deciding the exact angle. We'll probably stay put for about 20 years, but might move toward (into--unless it is too cold) the mountains. The reason for powers blvd is the short hospital commute for my wife. I'll look up that zipcode though and do some google van comparisons.

Money is always an issue, but we shouldn't be struggling at all to come up with the down payment. I don't mind paying more for the right neighborhood, short commute, best views, etc. since we plan to live there so long. We're pretty pumped for our first trip out there, debating when it will be. My parents (retired) are planning to move there after us so they can be closer in retirement. They are visiting there also.

Speaking of cold on the mountains, follow up Q. How quickly does it get colder at higher elevation? That might keep us closer to the city.
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:30 AM
 
Location: 900 miles from my home in 80814
4,669 posts, read 6,739,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
Speaking of cold on the mountains, follow up Q. How quickly does it get colder at higher elevation? That might keep us closer to the city.
The mountains you'd be considering are about 2000 ft. higher than the Springs (starting at Green Mountain Falls, and west to Woodland Park, and the farthest practical--Divide) up to 3000 ft higher in Divide. You can take about 5 degrees off the Springs temperature for every 1000' up in altitude. So, Divide is about 15 degrees cooler than the Springs both day and night. You'll also have a lot more snow for a lot longer in the year up in Teller County, starting from about September and going through May. Growing season is very short up there.


Also, the farther west you go or higher in altitude, the fewer deciduous trees. Up in Teller County (ZIP 80863 and 80814) it is primarily spruce and fir mixed with Aspen. No oaks other than some gambrel oak at Green Mountain Falls.

Woodland Park also has its own hospital and a lot of Dr.'s offices to go with the hospital. If you're interested, check out

City of Woodland Park - City Of Woodland Park, Colorado

Pikes Peak Regional Hospital & Surgery Center | Woodland Park, CO

Teller County, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:28 AM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,864 posts, read 7,096,377 times
Reputation: 1543
I think his whole idea would be to be within 10 minutes of St. Francis. Commuting from Woodland Park every day would take at least an hour.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Thanks, I had no idea how the temperature varied with the height. I just knew higher up meant colder, but no idea how much.

Is there a clear difference between St. Francis and memorial hospital north?

I'll be polling some nurses around there to figure out what they think. I volunteered and worked at the local hospitals where we are now while my wife was in school so I would learn the culture and be able to tell her which place was best to work at. That proved to be a good decision because she ended up with a great job at the best hospital.

PS. Are there any DNP programs around there incase the law came off the books, or any good MBA in finance programs? If she becomes ready to move sooner (and she sure sounds like it), I could be convinced to do the MBA in Colorado instead.

I've found 2 mba programs, 1 at university of Colorado's Colorado Springs campus, and the other at Colorado Tech. It sounds like University Of Colorado has an MSN to DNP program, and is wanting to start a BSN to DNP.

Last edited by lurtsman; 09-04-2011 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:48 AM
 
20,308 posts, read 37,790,850 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
....I had no idea how the temperature varied with the height. I just knew higher up meant colder, but no idea how much....
The top of Pikes Peak is always 30-35 degrees cooler than down at the base. If it's 75 in COLO SPGS then it's 40-45 at the summit (14,115), so yes, about 5 degrees per thousand feet of climb as Marcy said. It's always windy on top of the peak too, with winter wind chills often in the dangerous -20F to -50F range. But the donuts they make up there at the summit gift shop are awesome, anytime of year.

Note too that winter forecasts for snow often include a term called "the snow line" which is the elevation at which rain becomes snow. They'll give it in terms of feet, as in "the snow line will be about 7000 feet" which means Monument will have snow and I-25 over Monument Hill (7500 Feet) will be a mess, while COLO SPGS (6000 Feet) will have rain.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:37 AM
 
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Thanks Mike. Hadn't heard of that before.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
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Yea, Colorado Springs has several little micro climates. The temp and precip can vary quite a bit by just driving north to south.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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Is there a map of these microclimates we can look at? That would be helpful in selecting areas that are ideal to us.
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