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Old 02-01-2012, 10:09 AM
326 posts, read 571,306 times
Reputation: 387


We are originally from MD but have lived in upstate NY for 8 years. We love that we aren't congested like in MD, if it takes 20 minutes to get someplace...that's how long it takes vs. MD which takes you 2 hours to get what should take 45 mins. because traffic is always so bad, people are kinder here, less entitlistic in attitude, great school where even the public school promotes some religious discussion like at Christmas where they discuss ALL religions from that time of year and my one son was just encouraged to recreate the Creation of Adam picture which is being held for a school art show, love our doctors who have wonderful bedside manners/do their own research/are open to discussion so no God complex/combine medicine with holistic approaches, safe (cars/houses are often left unlocked and in 8 years we've only had 2 things happen - an egg to a window and our mailbox hit) - totally different from our experiences in MD. So why do we want to leave? The cost of living. We have 4 children ages 1 to 11 and I'm a stay at home mom. We can't handle the $5K property taxes for a 1/3 acre property and we can't afford to get a bigger house to accommodate us here. My oldest sons also have trouble with season induced asthma and I read that Colorado Springs was the #3 place to live if you have asthma.

So far I've looked at different states that could give us what we love here but with a lower cost of living but while I know there is no such thing as a perfect place, there is ALWAYS some major thing that makes it kind of a deal breaker. One place doesn't allow for vaccination exemptions. I vax, but don't want to not have an out should I ever feel the need for the option. Another charges a 10% food tax on top of all their other taxes.

I'm wondering what the catch is though because so far CO seems like it could be pretty darn perfect. Philosophical exemptions, homes the size we need on lots of land we'd want at prices and property taxes that are feasible (are the listings I've seen correct when for CS there are houses on 10+ acres with less than $3K in property taxes??), seems like wonderful weather (always hated the humidity in MD but despise the 7 months a year of winter here though I know the mountains there would be the same - realistically how would you describe the weather in CS?).

We want a small town feel, a sense of community, safe, great schools (very important and great doesn't mean they push the kids to do calculus in kindergarden ), great medical care as we will be bringing my mom with us who has serious heart and lung issues. What about sports for the kids, cost for sports? What is this I am reading about gangs and ending up without water??

Any info for someone who doesn't know much about the area would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:38 AM
20,302 posts, read 37,784,136 times
Reputation: 18081
Sounds like you're talking about COLO SPGS, if so, I can move this to the COLO SPGS forum for you (let me know).

Yes, it is very nice here. I grew up in the Baltimore area (26 years) and spent the next 31 years in the DC area. I know all too well the humidity and traffic issues you seek to avoid....that's why we came here in 2005, we love it and we only go back for funerals and crabcakes.

Nothing along the I-25 corridor (COLO SPGS, Denver metro area, Ft Collins) is in the mountains, nor is Boulder in the mountains. We're all on the far western edge of the great plains with short grass prairies for 600 miles east to Kansas City. To the west are the Rockies, about 20 miles west of Denver, while COLO SPGS sits at the base of Pikes Peak and the foothills. Boulder sits at the base of the Flatirons; Golden sits near the foothills on the far western edge of the Denver metro area.

We do not get the tremendous snow totals that the so-called "high country" gets most winters. Up there it is not unusual to have 500+ inches of snow each winter, which is long up there. By "up there" I'm talking about the stuff you on TV back east, i.e., Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Silverton, Telluride, Gunnison, etc. Down here if we get a total of 50 inches per winter I'd call that a lot, and it's usually powdery light stuff that we remove easily with a push broom or shovel. Lots of sunlight year round, no long gray upstate NY winters. Unless you live up in the mountains you'll find winter here is very much to your liking; the dry air helps a lot too, all year.

Plenty of sports here for kids, both in school and otherwise. Some schools give the kids a ski pass in 5th grade, but I cannot remember which district(s) do that. There's hockey, football, cheerleading, basketball and COLO SPGS does have several skate board parks as well. Cycling, running, hiking and rock climbing are all around us and then there are the snow sports up in the high country, as well as summer mountain biking up there. Virtually all swimming here is done in pools as what few lakes we have are too cold to use.

One thing I can't talk to that well is the school issue, others will have to chip in on that aspect, but I can tell you that we do have excellent schools all along the Front Range, with but a few exceptions.

Key thing is always "where is work" for the income earner, so tell us what kind of work is needed and we can advise you.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:09 AM
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
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1. A lot of older people with respiratory problems or asthmatic people struggle in Colorado due to the high elevation with it's thin air, the dry air with a lack of humidity, an abundance of pollen and other irritants in the air, a lot of dust in the air that gets blown around due to the frequent wind and also along the I-25 corridor where most people in CO live, brown haze and air pollution due to air inversions, mostly in winter.

I have known quite a few people that left Colorado due to their asthma or respiratory issues and moved to a lower elevation, more humid climate where they felt more comfortable.

2. Colorado is mostly a desert state. It gets it's water mostly from high elevation snowfalls that melt and feed rapid flowing streams and rivers. Water is not abundant compared to a state like NY. Water rights issues in Colorado are also weird and different from other states. Before living rurally in Colorado, it is vital to have plenty of knowledge about water rights and having a keen understanding exactly where your water is going to come from. Living in a city your water costs are probably going to be more expensive as cities in Colorado have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars and more in developing huge mountain reservoirs and infrastructure to bring water to the cities. That bill has to get paid somehow.

3. NY is a high tax state but Colorado can hit you hard in state and local taxes as well with things like car registration and sales taxes. And their income tax is middle of the road. Colorado finds plenty of ways to get into your wallet. My state tax burden in PA is way less here than when I lived in Colorado for instance.

4. Colorado has crime and gangs just like most states. I've never looked at stats but over my lifetime, Denver and Colorado Springs have never lacked for having violent crime going on. Not as bad as a place like Detroit or New Orleans, but it happens.

5. I'm a firm believer if you want a small town feel, to live in a small town. Both Denver and Colorado Springs are the epitome of typical suburban living. There are always some suburbs slightly better than others or newer or more wealthy, but to me all of these suburbs are about the same. They all have tract home neighborhoods, schools, shopping, 4 lane roads, parks, etc.

I'd say find a job first and then look at where to live within 30 minutes of that job. That makes it much more simple to figure out. Rural Colorado is sparse compared to rural NY and mountain Colorado is either extremely expensive or where it is cheap, is isolated or lacks water. 90% of Colorado's population lives on the I-25 corridor from Pueblo to Ft Collins. Colorado reminds me of Australia in that most of the land is empty, devoid of people, and what people are there cluster in a few cities.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:35 AM
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
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wanneroo is very accurate in his description above. Bullet point #5 is particularly accurate. The most common misconception about Colorado is that one can live a "small town" experience in the metro suburbs. That's bunk--and the people who perpetrate that myth are mostly suburban residents who don't have a clue about what true small-town living is. That holds mostly true, also, for Colorado's numerous resort towns. They are cartoon, plastic towns that socially are really nothing like a true small town.

My best description of Colorado, as a native over-half century resident of the state, is that the scenery of the state is superlative, but nearly everything else is anything but perfect--and is frequently substandard compared to many other places. That is the BIG tradeoff in living here.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:39 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
2,970 posts, read 6,605,182 times
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I would have a very lengthy conversation with your Mom's Dr. before bringing her up to altitude.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:37 PM
Location: Arlington, Va
236 posts, read 394,473 times
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from what I've seen Colorado is a very "Red-State" I loved it there...
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:43 PM
590 posts, read 2,007,406 times
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Colorado is a mixed bag politically. We are against gun control and at the same time are trying to legalize pot. Weather, housing, and being geographically isolated are negatives for some people. Some people have trouble with the high altitude or the dry climate. Others do not like the high winds. I've had full cups of coffee blow over because it was so windy. Housing can be expensive depending on what part of the country you're coming from. And if you want to leave Colorado, chances are you'll be driving a LONG time or flying. Its not like back East where you can be in a different large metro area by car in a few hours. Salt Lake City is 535 miles west, Albuquerque is 450 miles south, Kansas City is 600 miles east and Calgary is 1000 miles north.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:44 PM
Location: here
24,469 posts, read 28,723,874 times
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The "catch?" There's no ocean. I'm not a huge fan of the vegetation. Some of it is beautiful, of course, but the high plains are rather barren. No place is perfect, but CO is pretty darn close IMO. It is not a "red state" if the previous poster was talking about politics. It is quite purple, lots of independents, and very exciting at election time.
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:51 PM
Location: Arlington, Va
236 posts, read 394,473 times
Reputation: 132
haha no the Pink's are in Boulder and everyone surrounding them border to border knows... and everyone helps make it known to the traveler by

If I am not mistaken while I was there I read CoSp was the Christian Mecca!
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:05 PM
841 posts, read 1,248,802 times
Reputation: 603
Wanneroo and Jazzlover I think are pretty accurate, I just wanted to add that you aren't going to get away from any entitlement issues with schools or students in Colorado. I have experienced first hand many students in Colorado Springs, specifically (as that is where I live), who feel that they should have the moon and do nothing but text or Facebook their friends about it while it's being handed over on a silver platter.
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