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Old 06-07-2012, 10:14 AM
 
7 posts, read 8,916 times
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First off, I'm grateful for all the information I've been able to find on Pueblo on the various threads here. I think that my situation and desires are different enough that it warrants a new thread. My family and I might (we are finalists for a job in Pueblo) have the opportunity to move very soon. We will be visiting to check it out for ourselves soon. So, naturally I have some questions. Also, any Pueblo or CO residents are welcome to disabuse me of any false notions I might have about Pueblo.

(I've posted elsewhere in this forum, as we're also checking out jobs in a variety of areas, from Maine to upstate NY to the West Coast).

A bit of context: we have small children (all under age 6). We currently live in a very small, rural town with very little culture (aside from great bluegrass music, drinking, and a serious meth problem). Shopping for us is Wal-mart or ... Wal-mart. We are a young family, and our struggling town has done little to attract or retain young families.

Why Colorado? I love the front range and the high desert. I spent a summer in Boulder and fell in love with the geography. We have two opportunities coming up: one in Pueblo in a couple of months, and one later this year (or early next) in Fort Collins (two VERY different communities).

Pueblo seems to me to be an ethnically diverse city. This is an attraction for me--I want my children to grow up in the real world, not some secluded white community where people play at being tolerant, but don't actually have to live together. I also enjoy Latino culture; I am slowly improving my Spanish, and this job will likely give me the opportunity to continue that.

Pueblo's blue collar vibe is also an attraction. When I was in Boulder, I said that I fell in love with the geography. This is true, but the people left a lot to be desired. (That's why I spent all my spare time bouldering in the flatirons). I have driven in DC, Milwaukee, NYC, and the Tidewater (VA) metro area, and I have never experienced the anger in traffic that I have in Boulder. I was also turned off by a sense of entitlement/elitism. I don't mean to be judgmental--it's just an attitude that turned me off.

What I'm getting from these forums is that Pueblo's attitude is more "live and let live." I'm curious as to how the different ethnic groups interact. Do they generally stay away from each other? How would the Hispanic community respond to overtures from the white community? Vice versa? Is there tension between these groups at the schools? This is potentially a big attraction for me. I'm not looking for a perfectly-integrated paradise, but if the city is filled with racial tension, that will be a big turn-off for me.

I also get the sense that Pueblo's religious attitude is more live and let live. Back in 2000, it seemed that the further south I went from Boulder, the more intolerant the religions people were. A little context about our family: my wife and I are accepting of gay and transgendered people. We have little tolerance for homophobia. I understand this is an issue in Colorado Springs, and possibly Denver. (Again, tell me if I'm wrong; this is just a notion I've built from the forum posts here). I'm just curious if Pueblo has an open attitude of homophobia. (Kudos to the gay community for the early efforts at a Pride march, by the way).

Schools are a big issue for me, and I read bad things about Pueblo's schools. The greatschools website lists Pueblo as a 4 out of 10. Yet there is a magnet school that gets a 10 and a charter school that gets a 9. Are these difficult to get into for someone that would be moving in August/September? Our oldest child is kindergarten-age, and he is a very smart kid--smart enough that he will act out if he is bored. I don't want him to get an ADHD label from an overworked teacher.

To give an idea of where we would live (for both schools and crime), there is a nice, well-maintained house provided by the employer in Northside, not far from Parkview Medical Center. (At least, Google maps puts it in Northside). Any thoughts on that area? We wouldn't have to live there, but it's nice to know that there would be something available if we could not sell our current house in this economy (a real concern for people on any income level in our little southeastern town). If we had to buy a house, there are some beautiful options for us both in town and in Pueblo West.

As for culture, I mentioned before that I am very interested in the old west, the Southwest, and Hispanic culture (especially language, art, and food). My wife is an artist, and I understand that there would be opportunities for her to meet other artists. (Remember, we are coming from ZERO culture, aside from NASCAR and bluegrass. I can't stand the former but LOVE the latter. When the local cable channel interrupts a Red Sox game to bring you to lap 264 of the Goody's 500, my wife cusses like a sailor).

I also love the outdoors--especially that transition between the desert and the mountains. I get a little vertigo, so I don't need to be tromping around at 14,000 feet, but I do love hiking in the scrub pine forests. I imagine I'll build up my tolerance for Colorado's lack of shoulders on its roads above the treeline. It looks like the mountains are anywhere between a 30- to 90-minute drive. Any good bouldering in that range? Hiking? Any opportunities for climbing (for a beginner who wants to start slowly and not be on the side of a sheer, 1,000-foot cliff?) I'm an avid trail runner back East. After I get acclimated to the altitude, I plan to get out there. Is it safe? I've heard that the Rockies around Pueblo are bear country. (We have black bears and rattlesnakes in the Appalachians where I run now ... so I know how to handle myself if I did see something).

Also, how is the local YMCA? Is it family-friendly? Any CrossFitters in Pueblo? (I see two affiliates online, does anyone have any experience with either of these?)

The job itself is a good enough opportunity, with co-workers we think we will like, to give Pueblo a serious look. We will be visiting soon to see for ourselves, but a visit of a few days always misses something, and forewarned is forearmed. I appreciate any clarifications, slaps in the face, or further information you all could give me after reading my long post. If we don't take this job (or if it isn't offered) I may be posting a similar thread in the future about Fort Collins.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Pueblo West, Colorado
30 posts, read 81,977 times
Reputation: 26
Pueblo isn't bad, not my top choice if I had to pick between Fort Collins, Denver, Springs or Pueblo. I lived in Pueblo West, Pueblo's biggest "suburb" I guess you could call it and the schools out here (D70) are usually assumed to be better than Pueblo City Schools (D60). There definitely are a lot of Hispanics here, but there's been very few times in the 10 years I've been here that I've felt any kind of real racial tension. Same with the gay community, most people just let each other be, regardless of religion, sexuality, etc. Pueblo does have a different geography than other cities on the Front Range as it is a little drier and has a more defined "desert" feeling compared to other cities farther north. Shopping will be better than just having a Wal Mart but not by much. Most Puebloans drive to Springs or Denver for serious shopping. You can live anywhere in the whole city and make it to Parkview within 20/30 minutes. I know many people that live in Pueblo West and commute there no problem. The YMCA is alright, its small compared to others but widely used to residents, no idea about Cross Fitters though. There are lots of outdoors opportunities but after you live here for awhile they all get boring (the nature center, reservoir, riverwalk, even driving out of town to Beulah, San Isabel, etc). Hopefully this answers most of your questions and gives you a little more of a perspective on Pueblo. In all honesty, I'd stick with Fort Collins or Denver but that's just my two cents.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,106 posts, read 20,417,798 times
Reputation: 4148
Let me answer some of your questions:

Pueblo is ethnically diverse and we all get along and interact and personally I don't think race is a issue in Pueblo at all.

Pueblo is a "live and let live" city. That goes for race relations, religion and sexual orientation (I say that as a gay male who has never had a issue in Pueblo). That is one of the reasons I love living here.

District 60 schools are having issues however I still maintain that if a student puts effort in his or her education they can get a good education there. I went there and went on to get my masters degree from the University of San Diego and I am not exceptional. That being said you could look into the magnet schools (I am not sure how hard it is to get in I would recommend giving them a call) or moving to the suburbs. For example Pueblo West, Pueblo's largest suburb, has good schools and its a nice community.

The area by Parkview Medical center is a great area and was rated as one of the best historic neighborhoods in the nation and the best in Colorado.

Pueblo has a great cultural scene. In my biased opinion I think its the second best in the state and Pueblo's goal is to become the Santa Fe of Colorado. For example Pueblo has a great art center that is 40 years old, a 1,700 seat performing art theater that is undergoing a multi million dollar renovation, art space is looking into building a facility here, local theater productions that are fun to watch, and more. I am a strong believer that a city is judged on how good their culture scene is and I think Pueblo is doing more then cities much larger do to make the culture here great. Pueblo just received a state tourism funding to double the size of the convention center and build a arena for the Professional Bull Riders. It will have a huge impact on downtown and I can't wait till it starts.

Pueblo has a lot of outdoor activities including trails, lake and only a 30 minute drive to the mountains the same that it is from downtown Denver.

Pueblo has a new YMCA that I am told is very nice. Honestly I have never been there as I work out at home but I have never heard any bad things about it.

As far as shopping. Obviously Colorado Springs and Denver (cities that are much larger) have more, however, Pueblo has a mall and many local shops. Personally everything I need can be found in Pueblo and I never have to drive to Springs and Denver to shop.

I have lived in Fort Collins, I went to CSU FC, and while its a nice town I think its to much of a suburb of Denver without its own identity yet its a hour drive to downtown Denver. Pueblo has its own identity, culture (its a top 10 food and culture city in the nation) yet we are close enough to Denver so if I want to see a bronco game or a nice musical that will not come to Pueblo I can drive to Denver.

If you have any specific questions feel free to ask.

Last edited by Josseppie; 06-07-2012 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:28 PM
 
20,378 posts, read 37,939,090 times
Reputation: 18194
To the OP, if my moderator tools are giving me accurate info, you are in one of the best looking places in the country, the Shenandoah Valley in VA along the I-81 corridor. I spent 31 years on Fairfax County, VA, and know how lovely the valley is.

There is meth here too, you won't be leaving it behind.

No NASCAR tracks anywhere near here, not sure the fan following, but never seen any show interrupted to show any of it.

Not much bluegrass here either, and you are near the mother lode back there. There are a few festivals here each summer.

Much of the Front Range would work for you, but with a job in Pueblo you'd want to stay in this local region which means Canon City, Pueblo West, Rye, Pueblo, and COLO SPGS.

All will give you mountain access and access to Hispanic culture.

COLO SPGS has some truly excellent school districts.

I suggest you read our threads on these areas, there is an index in each COLO Forum, and try to get out here for a visit.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,756 posts, read 16,497,453 times
Reputation: 9292
mfbe wrote:
To the OP, if my moderator tools are giving me accurate info, you are in one of the best looking places in the country, the Shenandoah Valley in VA along the I-81 corridor. I spent 31 years on Fairfax County, VA, and know how lovely the valley is.
Agreed! If it wasn't for the persistent year round humidity of the east in general, I'd probably be living somewhere in the Roanoke-Blacksburg area. The countryside of the Shenandoah Valley is magnificently magnificent. Alot more greenery and water there than you will find in most areas of Colorado.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:58 PM
 
7 posts, read 8,916 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks for the replies. Yes, we do live in a beautiful area, and the fall colors are the best. I agree with other posters here, though--the humidity in the summer is almost unbearable. We get into the upper 90's, lower 100's here, and with high humidity, it gets pretty brutal.

I appreciate everyone's replies here--we could just as easily have found out for ourselves during our upcoming visit, but now our questions will be a more informed.
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:19 AM
 
Location: The 719
13,744 posts, read 21,591,793 times
Reputation: 13339
Best schools in Pueblo County are District 70 "county" schools such as;

Rye, best
Pueblo West, second best
County... aka the Mesa, not too shabby.

If you have to go with District 60 schools, I've heard that East has improved scholastically this last year.

The charter schools in Pueblo have skewed data and are run by criminals... or were... allegedly. I'd stay away.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:48 AM
 
7 posts, read 8,916 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by McGowdog View Post

The charter schools in Pueblo have skewed data and are run by criminals... or were... allegedly. I'd stay away.
Any links to news stories about this? I'd hate to ask a Pueblo native about this without some source.

From the reviews on the site, the Huerta prep school is extremely disorganized and poorly run. Other than that, I don't see anything about verifiable criminal behavior. (And believe me, as a parent, I am interested to see if the source).
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:59 AM
 
7 posts, read 8,916 times
Reputation: 16
Interesting--I've checked out my old high school, and it rates a 2. My old middle school rates a 4. That's worse than Pueblo's average. If anything, knowing friends who now have kids at my old high school, it's gotten better. So I graduated from a "1 or 2" high school, and now hold a masters degree, and have never been unemployed.


On another note, could somebody speak to my question about the outlying mountains? Specifically, are the trails, etc, well developed? Are they reasonably safe? For example, when I would hike around Boulder, there were frequently warning signs if a bear cub had been spotted in the area. The trails were also heavily trafficked, so there was that added element of safety. I have only one summer's worth of experience in the Rockies, but the wildlife in your neck of the woods is a little more dangerous than the wildlife in Appalachia.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,106 posts, read 20,417,798 times
Reputation: 4148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Malt_Vicar View Post
Interesting--I've checked out my old high school, and it rates a 2. My old middle school rates a 4. That's worse than Pueblo's average. If anything, knowing friends who now have kids at my old high school, it's gotten better. So I graduated from a "1 or 2" high school, and now hold a masters degree, and have never been unemployed.
That is exactly the point I always try to make. I went to Central High School and at the time it was known as the rougher high school in Pueblo. I went there because I grew up with central (kind of a Pueblo thing) so there was no way I was not going there. I never got into a fight never got bullied and had a great high school experience. I went on to get two bachelor degrees and a masters. Then I have friends who went to the best private high schools in the nation and did not graduate from college. My point is I think its what the student puts into his or her education and how his or her family supports them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Malt_Vicar View Post
On another note, could somebody speak to my question about the outlying mountains? Specifically, are the trails, etc, well developed? Are they reasonably safe? For example, when I would hike around Boulder, there were frequently warning signs if a bear cub had been spotted in the area. The trails were also heavily trafficked, so there was that added element of safety. I have only one summer's worth of experience in the Rockies, but the wildlife in your neck of the woods is a little more dangerous than the wildlife in Appalachia.
Very safe. Southwest of town there is a suburb called Beulah and Pueblo has a city park called Pueblo Mountain Park with free trails. There are numerious mountain biking trails and city trails (they are paved) etc. Pueblo has been called the Fruita of the front range.

Here is a link to a article talking about that:

In the warm desert sun, a pack of mountain bikers skips over shale ledges, pedals across narrow wood ramps and shoots down rocky gullies, finally skidding to a stop at a sunny overlook where a sandstone cliff drops 100 feet to the water. Vance Hubersberger, the lead rider, wipes the sweat from his brow. �Welcome to Fruita,� he says. �I mean welcome to Moab, I mean . . .� He means welcome to Pueblo. Yes, that Pueblo. The Steel City, long known for blue collars and green chiles, is poised to become one of Colorado’s mountain bike hot spots. In the past several years, without fanfare, local bikers have built almost 50 miles of singletrack on a dry, sunny plateau west of town.

Read more: Front Range FRUITA, trails, pueblo, shore - Life - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO
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