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Old 07-09-2012, 12:23 PM
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
3 posts, read 3,642 times
Reputation: 10


Hi All!

I've spent a few weeks reading through the Colorado forum for several cities and figured it was time to post my own thread to help in my research. Currently live in Kalamazoo, MI (SW MI). We have been trying to generate a list of places in CO that we would be interested in moving to. So far we've seen a lot on the Front Range that is beautiful, but expensive housing. Most desirable locations seem to be around CO Springs or even south towards Pueblo.

My boyfriend and I are planning on getting married next June and plan to move by the end of August. I have a young daughter and we have two pets. What we really want to do is find a smaller town with some land, a mountain view, ability to have our own small scale organic farm, and find accessible work.

We have the following criteria that we're looking for (there is flexibility):

Landscape: Mountain view preferrably, farmable land, average precipitation, less snow season than Michigan. We understand the higher the elevation, the longer the snow lasts, but it's not really an issue. Milder summer temps without as much humidity is ideal. And water would be great! Lake or river.

Population: Preferrably <10,000 - even half that is ideal. Not a large percentage of change in population, low to very low population density per sq. mi.

Jobs: Would like to have a commute less than 1 hour, so preferrably closer to a metro area. We are in manufacturing (him) and administrative professional (me). ** We'd really do just about anything though as long as we made enough to afford housing.

Housing: We want to rent first to establish ourselves and determine where we truly want to be. Buying isn't really an option for at most, 5 years. Our rent cap is $1K/month (that's with utilities also).

Schools: Goes without saying, we want a good school, but private isn't necessary.

Atmosphere: Liberal, outdoorsie, we like to hunt/fish/camp/hike/swim. Like the small town, but want to be able to have the exposure to art and culture as well. Farmer's Markets are a HUGE plus, food co-ops also.

And having neighbors far away is ideal if at all possible. I know it might not be immediately and until we buy our own land/house, but living in the city isn't really what we're looking for. We're kind of sick of the apartment living so renting a house would be our preferance.

Any feedback/suggestions/ideas on where some good spots to really dig our research into are welcome!!

And thanks in advance
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:45 PM
Location: Western Colorado
10,521 posts, read 11,628,203 times
Reputation: 24173
I would suggest visiting first and visiting a LOT. I researched things here for 3 years and visited before I decided to move to Colorado from Arkansas and still some things were unexpected and a surprise. Anyway good luck to you, and the mandatory...

paging jazzlover.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:51 PM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,754 posts, read 16,450,212 times
Reputation: 9287
^ Ditto on Jims advice.

From reading your list it is apparent that you've never been to Colorado. Visit first, and then you'll be in a better position to create a dream list that more closely reflects reality.

OP wrote: And water would be great! Lake or river.

There are 5 million current Colorado residents who would love the same thing! Unfortunately, Colorado is not a state with abundant water resources. If that is truly important to you, Colorado is likely to be big disappointment.
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Old 07-09-2012, 12:55 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
Reputation: 7492
This seems to be a very popular request lately. People who want to live in a tiny town, cheaper housing, mountain views, and still close to a metro area with professional jobs. This really isn't all that do-able in general here
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:31 PM
20,307 posts, read 37,790,850 times
Reputation: 18082
To the OP, thanks for being very specific with many criteria.

IMO you won't find everything you want in one spot, you can get most of it.

Hardest thing on your list is the small organic farm. We get 10-14 inches of rain here per year, and have a shorter growing season due to the elevations. You might be okay with a small organic greenhouse in your backyard to provide for your own needs, then move up later. Getting water for any actual farming operation is going to get entangled in Colorado's byzantine set of water laws that specify how much you may have and from what source you may get it. If you can find a place in the Denver metro area, in your price range, you can have a garden in the backyard you can get a start on growing in this climate. Given the turmoil and turnover in properties these days, some enterprising realtor just might be able to find you a place that meets all your criteria, but's it a very long shot indeed.

You stated that you seek "average precipitation" but if you're thinking eastern levels where 30-inches of rainfall is "average" then you are not going to find that anywhere out here in the west, until you get to the coastal areas of CA, OR and WA, all of which are way out of your rental budget. You might have to stay in MI for a while longer, or go due south to southern MO or IL.

Canon City has a number of things you want, and there are some jobs in the prison industry which has at least ten large prisons in that region, but I wouldn't call it liberal by any stretch, and rainfall is scant.
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Old 07-09-2012, 01:49 PM
8,317 posts, read 25,095,377 times
Reputation: 9065
With the OP's stated requirements, not happening.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:28 PM
Location: Pueblo West, Colorado
30 posts, read 81,578 times
Reputation: 26
Sounds like Pueblo West meets most of the requirements OP is looking for. D70 schools are decent, its 20-30 minutes from Pueblo, only 45 to Colo Springs. Mountains views, larger lots, I'd check it out.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:37 PM
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
3 posts, read 3,642 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks to all who commented, and so quickly!

No, I have never been to CO, and yes, we are definitely planning on visiting. I guess I should've posted that originally.

I think that we've at least narrowed our searching to areas around and between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The Front Range is pretty much out of our league.

And yes, for starters, we have determined that we would need a greenhouse in order to accomplish the growing we'd like. That's the longer term goal anyway.

As in my OP, the "requirements" are flexible, so if a place has most of our wants on it, then it's worth us checking out.

The main idea was to get some perspective on WHERE to visit and really research. We certainly can't afford to travel the whole state; so narrowing it down to regions/areas was helpful.

Again - THANK YOU! and keep the comments coming if need be.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:41 PM
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
3 posts, read 3,642 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you - that was most helpful! And not as discouraging
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:42 PM
Location: Littleton, CO
2,395 posts, read 4,160,971 times
Reputation: 7492
Colorado Springs and Pueblo are in the front range

What about some areas near Longmont / Loveland? Much greener than Pueblo, better access to mountains, closer to major metro areas and housing has to be cheaper than Denver? I'm just guessing on the housing prices though
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