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Old 07-19-2010, 08:31 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,247 times
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We are planning a move from Phoenix to Denver, and are seeking advice on good neighborhoods and excellent schools in the metro area - not big fans of the suburbs.

A little background: We have a 3-year-old and a 3-month-old, and are seeking excellent schools for them. We love outdoor pursuits - hiking, mountain biking, going to parks, walking the dogs and doing kid-friendly activities. But we also like a nice wine bar, unique restaurants and shopping at locally owned stores, as well as the mall.

We've heard and read a lot about the suburbs of Denver. We really want the scoop on the nice areas to live in Denver proper. Priorities: Excellent schools, safe neighborhoods, nearby amenities (both for physical activity and entertainment).

Our housing budget is around $300,000. Thank you.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,181 posts, read 5,636,113 times
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I would take a look at Stapleton first because it's kid-friendly and the schools are (apparently) good. There are also a lot of other kids in the area, from what I hear. The single-family homes are usually more expensive than $300K, but there are new construction 'paired homes' with two-car garages and 3-4 bedrooms that start at around $200K, but probably would cost more like $250-$275 once all of the finishes are chosen. Might be worth a look.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,913 posts, read 29,404,684 times
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Denver is a very suburban city. Where is work?

"Excellent" and "safe" are highly subjective and subject to change.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,700 posts, read 4,064,633 times
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If you base schools on standardized test scores, then look at Colorado School Performance Maps

I assume work is in Denver? Look near where work is, call local police for crime map. Google amenities nearby.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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A few things up front. Technically you can "choice in" to any school. Charter Schools are not neighborhood schools and each kids has to apply to get in. ECE is just pre-K (Early Childhood Education).

$300K in one of DPS (Denver Public Schools) excellent elementary school areas might be a bit tough if you want more than a small house. The marquee elementary DPS schools are Steck, Bromwell, Slavens, and Southmoor. These roughly cover Hilltop, Congress Park, Cherry Creek (the Denver neighborhood, not the school district), Country Club, Wellshire, Southern Hills, and Southmoor. Of those, parts of Wellshire and Southmoor are generally the most affordable of the group.

Here's one for $300 in Wellshire in Slavens (there are a ton of complete tear downs in this area because the lots are big enough for McMansions, so a bigger lot size means more $):

REcolorado.com - brought to you by Metrolist Inc. (http://recolorado.com/Search/propertyDetail.asp?mls_number=903017 - broken link)

Here's one in Southmoor:

REcolorado.com - brought to you by Metrolist Inc. (http://recolorado.com/Search/propertyDetail.asp?mls_number=898103 - broken link)

A lot of people shop these neighborhoods with school boundary maps in hand, so the home prices will reflect the school.

Beyond those schools, there's Steele, University Park, Corey, Asbury, which are very good schools and cover chunks of Washington Park, Bonnie Brae, Observatory Park, and Platt Park (although some of those areas are also covered by McKinley-Thatcher and Lincoln, which are struggling schools). Of those areas, Platt Park is the last one to gentrify and the most affordable...although the southern part of Observatory Park (immediately north Yale - just north of Wellshire), has some nice post WWII homes.

Here's a home in Platt Park:

REcolorado.com - brought to you by Metrolist Inc. (http://recolorado.com/Search/propertyDetail.asp?mls_number=888557 - broken link)

I've heard really good things about a Montessori Charter School up in Highlands (the Denver neighborhood, not the city of Highlands Ranch), but it's difficult to get into.

From what I can tell, Stapleton's ECE, K, and 1st grades are a bit of a mess right now. The housing development overall has a much higher birthrate than expected. So those grade levels are overcrowded at the moment. They've had to divert funds from parks to build a new schools to handle the huge influx of kids. And a lot of folks I know in Stapleton have choiced into DPS Charter Schools or gone private.

This article is a bit old now:

Greene: Stapleton botches delivery - The Denver Post

There were eleven K classes scheduled for fall 2010, but because so many parents found alternatives, that number has gone down quite a bit.

Also, all of the top school areas had baby booms about 5 years ago and the ECE and K classes are packed with neighborhood kids. From what I can tell, Bromwell (covers Cherry Creek) is the easiest to choice into, because it's not all residential. But Bromwell is pretty selective - not easy to get into.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:02 PM
 
25 posts, read 53,072 times
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Quote:
From what I can tell, Stapleton's ECE, K, and 1st grades are a bit of a mess right now. The housing development overall has a much higher birthrate than expected. So those grade levels are overcrowded at the moment. They've had to divert funds from parks to build a new schools to handle the huge influx of kids. And a lot of folks I know in Stapleton have choiced into DPS Charter Schools or gone private.
A new school is under construction, the charter that shares half of Westerly is moving. There is no overcrowding, in fact above third grade there are quite a few choiced in kids.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agerowin View Post
A new school is under construction, the charter that shares half of Westerly is moving. There is no overcrowding, in fact above third grade there are quite a few choiced in kids.
Right, the new school will be done in the Fall of 2011, according to this:

Stapleton To Get New Elementary School - cbs4denver.com (http://cbs4denver.com/local/Stapleton.neighborhood.school.2.1563854.html - broken link)

Which is good, considering that year is supposed to have more K students than Fall of 2010.

I know the upper grades aren't crowded...friends of mine in Stapleton with kids in the upper grades are generally happy with the schools.

So what happened such that there's no overcrowding in the K classes now? They went from 11 K classes in the Fall of 2010 to what? Did everyone choice out or go to private schools? I know a lot of Stapleton parents were trying to get into the new Denver Language and Denver Green Schools...

It's good news. There was no way Denver or Forest City could let that situation go bad. Stapleton is a huge, marquee project for the city and Forest City has the rest of the land to develop. I can't believe how huge the tract north of 70 is - amazing stuff.
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Old 07-19-2010, 05:58 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 5,311,217 times
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I know it's technically the suburbs but Old Littleton meets all of your criteria (other then being in Denver city limits ) It has a charming, historic, walkable downtown with local shops and unique restaurants including at least one wine bar, coffee shops, a brewery, etc. It's close to the Park Meadows mall. It's convenient to trails, hiking and biking with plenty of parks and activities for families. The schools are very good. It's on the light rail line for quick, easy access to downtown plus you'll get more for your money then you would in similar areas of Denver.

Historic Downtown Littleton
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:33 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,006 posts, read 102,606,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorthy View Post
I know it's technically the suburbs but Old Littleton meets all of your criteria (other then being in Denver city limits ) It has a charming, historic, walkable downtown with local shops and unique restaurants including at least one wine bar, coffee shops, a brewery, etc. It's close to the Park Meadows mall. It's convenient to trails, hiking and biking with plenty of parks and activities for families. The schools are very good. It's on the light rail line for quick, easy access to downtown plus you'll get more for your money then you would in similar areas of Denver.

Historic Downtown Littleton
I would add on to this and say there are many nice suburbs that would meet your needs. Arvada and Louisville are two with nice downtown areas and all the other stuff the OP wants (though I don't know of any wine bars in Louisville).
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:46 PM
 
2 posts, read 8,247 times
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Thanks for all of the great responses. I didn't know some of the outlying cities had downtowns or were connected by light rail. A lot to think about.
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