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Old 07-13-2018, 12:36 PM
2,840 posts, read 3,572,637 times
Reputation: 2171


OP you aren't going to get a large university in a 25-50,000 population city in Colorado. You could get it in Larmie Wyoming but without the weed accommodation. Every city you mention is way, way bigger than the population range you prefer. Durango area is closer to that. Small college, with aspirations but has lost enrollment as admission standards went up. Spearfish SD is a nice city with a small university too, but I doubt it gets legal weed soon. So you'll either need a bigger city or drop the large university. Or perhaps you could make Windsor, Erie, Fountain, Monument or Manitou Springs and what they are near kinda work.

You're ideal is what Bozeman MT, Chico CA and Flagstaff AZ were in the 80s / 90s and what Fort Collins & Boulder were before that. There aren't many places in west close to that set up so the originals kept growing. Pocatello ID and Logan Utah might be options for some but too conservative for many. Las Cruces NM might work for some but not for others. Walla Walla WA, Ashland OR, LaGrande OR, Kalispell MT, Pullman WA / Moscow ID, Twin Falls ID, Elko NV, Cedar City UT, etc. are other available variations.

Last edited by NW Crow; 07-13-2018 at 01:06 PM..
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Old 07-13-2018, 01:26 PM
Location: Fort Collins, USA
1,424 posts, read 2,283,503 times
Reputation: 1729
Fort Collins has a very good public school system (I raised a child here and my understanding is that it hasn’t declined in quality since then). IMO, it is liberal now but not to the level of Denver or Boulder. Larimer County, however, is more centrist and even Republican-leaning to some extent. City size is bigger than you would like (approx. 150,000) and it is only going to grow larger.

I think for me, the quality of life here is inversely proprortional to how much of your regular needs involve travel to the large metro area to the south (and I say that as someone who really likes Denver proper). If you only go down there for the occasional excursion but your daily like is mostly self-contained in FC (my circumstances) the high growth rate and size of the city shouldn’t be a problem. If you already have $500,000 to spend on housing you won’t have a problem on that front either.

I’m not sure about entrepreneurial activities. I do suspect you’d be better off closer to the many small cities south of here and the Denver metro area but I don’t really know.
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:24 PM
Location: The 719
13,788 posts, read 21,720,028 times
Reputation: 13396
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
Have you considered Pueblo at all? Maybe Pueblo West? It meets all or most of your criteria, depending on perspective.
I love Pueblo West.

Let me show you some pics...

... Just to list a few.

These were literally just blocks from my home.

I'm so proud of my town out in Pueblo County and the whole county as a whole as it went red in 2016! The city of Pueblo actually went red for the Presidential Election! The rest of the state was a huge fail, but that's ok. Can't wait to get out and vote in November.

Hope my very informative post helps you with your relocation decision.

Originally Posted by Thoreau424 View Post
^ TMI McGowdog,

Last edited by McGowdog; 07-13-2018 at 02:49 PM..
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:30 PM
2,840 posts, read 3,572,637 times
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I remembered a few other possibilities: Ellensburg WA, Pendelton OR. Corvallis, OR if you don't mind the drizzle. Helena MT.

It depends how picky you are.

In some cities, the community college is the main higher ed. Sometimes if you add all the higher ed together it gets to be "enough".

Last edited by NW Crow; 07-13-2018 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:30 PM
Status: "Freedom-Diversity-Unity" (set 7 days ago)
Location: Better left unsaid
4,088 posts, read 1,608,580 times
Reputation: 5879
^ TMI McGowdog, for this Friday the 13th. Any pics of Trump Halloween mask wearing residents skulking around?

Last edited by Thoreau424; 07-13-2018 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:26 PM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
21,049 posts, read 38,018,549 times
Reputation: 21216
For Colorado.... Glenwood Springs and nearby Carbondale. (~15 - 20k pop, but very well serviced + edu)

Not cheap, but very nice and diverse too!

WA and OR would be closer to ID (especially if you are from Sandpoint or Moscow, ID) and a better fit, including 420 friendly.
Also Acadia, CA

The left coast will not disappoint your social preferences, especially CA and OR. WA still allows 'free thinking', so you would run the slight risk of someone with a differing opinion. But they won't ram it down your throat or shoot you.

Oregon is PERFECT... think just like you OR ELSE!

WA will provide FREE FT College for your 'gifted' daughter instead of her wasting away in High school. Income tax free and high wages made WA a good choice during our earning yrs.

30 yrs near Ft Collins was nice (then) but did not have the EZ access to a huge variety of recreation that WA avails. Yr round sailing and skiing + hiking / pics / and Canada / ID, MT, OR 'next door'

Think CO Front Range...
Think GROWTH (endless suburbia), Brown cloud, CROWDED recreation, disillusioned dream seekers (with guns... temporarily)

Hopefully you REALLY cherish your quality time spent at Traffic lights!

Last edited by StealthRabbit; 07-13-2018 at 05:38 PM..
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:31 PM
8 posts, read 12,326 times
Reputation: 19
Thanks all! So many helpful, informative replies.

Fort Collins does sound pretty good for Eastern half, GJ for Western Slope. I like Boulder/Denver quite a bit bit Boulder is already so pricey that my preference for a cash home purchase gets a little too stretched. To be clear, I’m a centrist/independent and don’t dig filthy hippie homeless towns either with runaway meth head teenagers and their dogs.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-13-2018, 09:29 PM
Status: "And now for something completely different." (set 16 days ago)
Location: Aurora, CO
6,234 posts, read 9,635,727 times
Reputation: 9047
Originally Posted by Thoreau424 View Post
Good observations Blue I enjoyed the unicorn and Jesus parts too. Fun post before the weekend.
You're welcome, and thank you for the kind words.

Originally Posted by COcheesehead View Post
If you go by unemployment rate, using labor department stats from May.

Ft Collins >>>Boulder>>>>Denver>>>Colorado Springs>>>Grand Junction>>>Pueblo.

Realistically they are all really close varying form Ft Collins at 2% to Pueblo at 3.5% unemployment.
Fort Collins/Loveland/Greeley is not as easy to work in as Denver or the Springs - especially if you're in tech. I just ran a LinkedIn job search for Senior-level C#/.Net developers and got about a dozen results - total. A few of them were 6+ months old. Slim pickens. On top of that, between CSU, UNC, Aims, and Front Range there are roughly 50,000 college students (in an area with a population of roughly 400k) putting downward pressure on wages.

I actually got an offer for a job in Loveland a couple years ago, but turned it down because I didn't wanna get up there, get settled in, and after a few years find myself commuting back-and-forth to Denver because of how crappy the IT sector is there. The only thing that would get me back up there is a fully-remote job that I could see myself retiring from.

OP would actually probably be best-served setting up basecamp in someplace like Longmont and commuting into Boulder or the northern Denver burbs if need be, or possibly doing something similar with Pueblo and the Springs.
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Old 07-13-2018, 10:35 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
2,791 posts, read 1,776,956 times
Reputation: 3065
Originally Posted by Brianz72 View Post
Hi, my family and I are interested in leaving Idaho and moving to Colorado. Our primary criteria:

1) We want a metro area of 25-50,000+, whether in the town or clustered with other nearby, easily accessible towns/cities.

2) We want as relaxed marijuana laws as possible. Recreational dispensaries are a must, in town or in a neighboring town less than a half hour away.

3) Outdoor rec is key - we want easy access to mountain biking and hiking trails. We don’t ski though. Some things are just too scary to start at age 45... periodic bike crashes are enough for me.

4) We want a place where people are nice, welcoming, tolerant, not church-obsessed, and NOT rural/Trumpy/right wing/religious. I am not looking to debate anything with anybody. This is just our preference.

5) Our 10 year old daughter is in “gifted” programs so we need a good school system for her.

6) We want a town that’s growing with a diversifying economic base and well-educated, reasonably successful/affluent people. Not elitist or exclusionary. A local large university always helps.

Professionally I’m in a position where I want to purchase a $500,000 house with all cash and then figure out the rest. I’d like to try something entrepreneurial after being a well-paid but demoralized corporate slave for 20 years. I’m leaning toward launching a cannabis oriented business (I’m already well-connected and invested in some for a few years) or just buying a fun local business of any kind and running it. I can be a photographer too. That’s why I want a growing/booming city with a diversified economic base.

We are leaning heavily against Denver/Boulder since it’s just way too big and pricey now. We’ve also ruled out Colorado Springs for social compatibility reasons. We’re intrigued by Fort Collins and Grand Junction but haven’t visited. Any thoughts? Thanks all!!

RE the bolded. I think you've fallen victim to media bias influence for a few reasons I'll explain below

1) This flat out doesn't exist in CO. This type of request is very typical of those relocating from east of the Mississippi who have never lived in the west. The west simply did not develop this way. Population centers grew up and out from entralized sources. They did not sprout up organically throughout the region a few miles apart. Metro and 50k sounds like an odd mix anyway, but, any 50k city, as a legal entity, is typically going to be sittings astride one of the major metro areas so as to appear continuous.

2)Colo Spgs does not have recreational weed within the city limits right now. There is continual conversation about this and I anticipate that will change in the near future. It may not be a wholesale change with 100s of stores opening, but I think it will be modified. The county is another story. Manitou, just minutes west of COS proper, has several recreation stores. Additionally, the medical dispenseries in COS number in the many dozens. Also, news flash, the expensive residential real estate in Denver also means expensive commercial real estate. Weed growers are leaving Denver and many are moving to Cos because of lower rent, lower utilities, and available space that blends well with indoor cultivation. Pueblo is seeing even more of this than Cos.

3)Colo Spgs rivals Boulder in our access to close in mountain recreation. We may not have as hard core of a participant base, but we have a more extensive trail and park system with considerably more wild land acreage, within the city limits, than many other cities in the state. We also have that huge mountain just west of us.

4)Cos has a more diverse and mobile population base than many Nor CO cities because of its military influence and it has been a tourist destination for more than 150 years. This has tended to make the vast majority of people here friendlier than average. Yes, we do house some evangelical organization headquarters here. Some that even get national attention for their opinions. You do know they relocated here for business reason, right? No different than any other corporation. They are not home grown and their influence is considerably less than you may believe. In fact, organized church attendance in Cos is actually below the national average. At one time, we had ore Wiccans and Pagans than any other city our size. Now, the city does tend to vote on the conservative side in national elections, especially in the northern parts of the county, and we are occasionally fiscally conservative to a point of being painful, but there are significant sections of the city that elect Democratic reps to local politics. Socially, the area is actually much more centrist and Libertarian overall than the national media would lead you to beleive. The central core and west side could actually be called progressively liberal. We have a reasonably sized LGBTQ population, a host of New Agers, a very large Holistic and Metaphysical Fair, Womens Roller Derby, and one of the few places in the US that has annual coffin races in next door Manitou. We're not exactly had core right wing with that resume.

5) Colo Sgs has several school districts that regularly rank within the top ten in the state. Cheyenne D12, Academy D20 and Lewis Palmer D38 are very high achieving. There also are GT magnet schools and personalized learning programs within Manitou D14 and Cos D11. Numerous schools have cooperative agreements with CU Succeed for college credits classes in high school. You child can find lenty of challenge in a variety of schools within Cos.

6)Diversity in economy is one area we don't have nailed down yet, but are improving. Military spending here is large. However, unlike many other military towns that are full of any service's foot soldiers, we have a very large technical base within the military sector that tends to have a much higher than average level of college educated military. We also are way above average with education levels in the non military sectors and cyber, tech, and manufacturing segments are improving as well. Median incomes are very good. Over 50% of our population is from someplace else. We have more mixed race persons by percentage than even Los Angeles. We have a large population of Korean and German expats who have brought their food and hospitality here. We host several international sporting events on Pikes Peak every year, which brings tourist from around the globe. We are a national training center for some of the nation's most elite Olympic athletes and they host teams from all over the world throughout the year. We are home to the fastest growing college in the state with the CU extension school UCCS. We also are home to one of the highest rated liberal arts colleges in the US with Colorado College in the downtown area. The Air Force Academy has several high division NCAA athletic teams within their school. Yea, we've got a few large colleges.

We are growing our entrepreneurial base within the city. Numerous co-working spaces are sprouting up The military has brought extensive communications infrastructure to town and our telecommunications is world class. Co-op meeting space, farm to table cafes, a recently opened public market, seasonal farmer markets. How about art walks in Old Colo City, Blues under the Bridge summer concert series, a growing number of local original music bands, Meadowgrass Bluegrass festival n Black Forest. Yea, we are starting to step it up. Regarding starting a cannabis business though, well, your about 6 year late to the party. The industry is still growing, but it is changing rapidly too. If you have nitch or unique idea, really deep pockets, or a new slant on business, you may be able to become a contender.

I'd encourage you to pull back a couple of layers on the pre-conceptions of what exactly Colo Spgs is before completely writing it off. Come out, visit, talk to people you meet. You might be surprised.
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Old 07-14-2018, 03:23 AM
Location: Woodland Park, CO
193 posts, read 176,844 times
Reputation: 494
Durango is your best bet. It matches nearly all your criteria across the board.
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