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Old 12-18-2009, 04:14 AM
 
5 posts, read 16,833 times
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We're a family of four considering a move to the Denver area. Job location is Lakewood. We have one child going into 6th grade next year, and one going into high-school.

The schools are my TOP priority. But until we move the kids have been in montessori charter schools, so we want good schools that helps kids reach their potential (one of mine is dyslexic) not push them to score on a state test.

Second, we want to find an affordable farm where one child can ride hunter/jumper horses.

Third, we want a diverse community, or at least one that welcomes those who are not conservative christians.

Our housing target price is $350,000, but it would be great to spend less, and possible to spend more. We'd love to be able to walk more, drive less, but would also love to live near/along a greenway or linear park.

I've been trying to get information on the Littleton area - it seems densely populated and with all those cul-de-sacs and housing developments, I'm worried that we could end up spending our life in the car sitting at traffic lights. But I'm open to all suggestions/thoughts.

Thank you!
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:20 AM
 
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I have similar questions and I am hoping some of the posters here can help with specifics.

Lakewood in particular is hard for me to grasp from afar. There are neighborhoods which appear to be well-kept but have poorly rated schools. A good example is a neighborhood called Morse Park which has large lots, and a semi-rural feel.

Is the proximity to poorer areas causing the school populations to move westward due to open enrollment?
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Napa, CA
151 posts, read 356,016 times
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Lakewood is generally more of a mixed bag than Littleton is; that might be why it's harder for you to get a grasp on the general character of the suburb. Also, when you say you're looking at Littleton, I'm wondering if you'd only be looking at what's currently the city of Littleton, or might also include parts of what is now known as Centennial (a municipality that was recently carved from parts of Littleton)? If you're not currently doing so, and it's feasible with your commute, I would recommend considering Centennial.

Anyhow, here's as much as I can help. Parts of Jeffco Public Schools are quite good, and probably as competitive as the public schools in Littleton. Green Mountain's a really solid high school--the parts of Lakewood that you want to avoid are the parts closer to western Denver (the eastern portion of the city). But if you start to target to particular houses, it might be more fruitful for you to check what high school they funnel in to, and then ask for opinions about that particular school.

I am a product of Littleton Public Schools, and I consider their programs to be first rate. The teachers are competent, there are ample AP options, I think over 80% of the graduating class in most LPS schools will immediately enroll in 4 year institutions (don't quote me on that, I just remember hearing that)...it seemed like in every graduating class at my school, at least 10 kids would make it in to an Ivy. I'm really biased toward Heritage, Arapahoe, and Chatfield. I think Columbine is very good too, tragic history aside.

Your price range of 350,000 will open up tons of options. You might find the average age of a Lakewood home to be a little older than the Littleton or Centennial ones...but there's stuff of all ages in both areas.

I'd start to think about other factors that are important to you that might help you narrow down your search.

Do you want to live in a covenant controlled subdivision that has a clubhouse and pool, for instance? You'll find an abundance of those. Or would you rather live in an older subdivision where there's more freedom to modify the home?

Do you want to be a step or two closer to the mountains/foothills? That might be a +1 for parts of Lakewood.

Do you want to be out on the perimeter of development so you can see more open space? If yes, some place around Chatfield might be a good place to consider.

Do you want to be next to a shopping mecca? If so, perhaps Bel Mar or the Southglenn redevelopment would be good choices.

Basically I guess I'm saying that with the exception of east Lakewood, most of the schools are going to be up to snuff, and your price point isn't low enough to restrict your search too much--so it's best to start thinking about other factors.

Lastly, regarding the diversity issue, that's kind of a tricky one. These areas are not ethnically diverse, and yet I find them to be some of the most welcoming places I have ever lived. My high school in Littleton had a graduating class of about 500. We might have had four black kids in our class, twenty Asian students, and another twenty hispanic students. Despite that imbalance, I never detected the slightest hint of prejudice--it was a complete non issue. Yeah, you'll find your share of religious people in suburban Denver, and your kids are likely to detect a significant mormon presence in school that they may not have experienced. But in terms of religious fervor, it's quite mild--nothing that would lead to an atmosphere of unwelcome.

Last edited by FentonForche; 12-18-2009 at 11:04 AM..
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,802,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
Lakewood is generally more of a mixed bag than Littleton is; that might be why it's harder for you to get a grasp on the general character of the suburb. Also, when you say you're looking at Littleton, I'm wondering if you'd only be looking at what's currently the city of Littleton, or might also include parts of what is now known as Centennial (a municipality that was recently carved from parts of Littleton)? If you're not currently doing so, and it's feasible with your commute, I would recommend considering Centennial.
I live in and think Centennial is a geat place (wouldn't say it was carved from Littleton since it was an incorporation of unincorporated areas that weren't technically Littleton)! When I read the OP, I thought more of the South Jeffco area that has Littleton zip codes - since it is closer to Lakewood.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
Do you want to be next to a shopping mecca? If so, perhaps Bel Mar or the Southglenn redevelopment would be good choices.
As much as I love the new Southglenn redevelopment, it's mainly a bunch of speciality stores not much for normal shopping except for Sears and Macys. And there's not a lot of room for stores/restaurants that are near but not part of the mall like there are at most area malls. I would add SW Plaza as a shopping mecca that is much larger than Belmar or Southglenn and might fit the criteria (Littleton address).

Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
Lastly, regarding the diversity issue, that's kind of a tricky one. These areas are not ethnically diverse, and yet I find them to be some of the most welcoming places I have ever lived. My high school in Littleton had a graduating class of about 500. We might have had four black kids in our class, twenty Asian students, and another twenty hispanic students. Despite that imbalance, I never detected the slightest hint of prejudice--it was a complete non issue. Yeah, you'll find your share of religious people in suburban Denver, and your kids are likely to detect a significant mormon presence in school that they may not have experienced. But in terms of religious fervor, it's quite mild--nothing that would lead to an atmosphere of unwelcome.
I couldn't agree more. I'm also a product of Littleton Public Schools and with a graduating class of about 500 with roughly the same racial make-up you mentioned. I also didn't sense the slightest hint of prejudice. It's up to the individual, but sometimes it seems that people sometimes look down on those of us who come from less diverse areas.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Napa, CA
151 posts, read 356,016 times
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Hehe, okay, you got me on a technicality. But a lot of unincorporated Arapahoe County areas had Littleton as the postal city and people would always colloquially refer to the area as Littleton (that's where I was). Mainly I brought that up to encourage the OP to look a little further east if he determines he can handle the commute. This would be really feasible if he got a place near C-470 and could just swing up the highway toward Lakewood.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Napa, CA
151 posts, read 356,016 times
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And regarding Southglenn, I guess opinions really vary about the long term impact. Personally, I love the redevelopment. The number of stores will never rival what you have at Bel Mar or Southwest Plaza, but there's commercial areas on the east side of University Blvd that could benefit from some spillover effect, and I just think that it will be a great benefit to that area. The neighborhood just west of Southglenn is, to me, an awesome place to think about buying.
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:20 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,802,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
And regarding Southglenn, I guess opinions really vary about the long term impact. Personally, I love the redevelopment. The number of stores will never rival what you have at Bel Mar or Southwest Plaza, but there's commercial areas on the east side of University Blvd that could benefit from some spillover effect, and I just think that it will be a great benefit to that area. The neighborhood just west of Southglenn is, to me, an awesome place to think about buying.
I love the redevelopment as well - I love how the library is there and how it is great to walk around. But it's not just the number of stores, it's the type of stores that make it not as attractive to me personally for shopping. Since the Safeway went out, that shopping center on the east side of University has not looked so good! I love how it is tucked into residential areas of all 4 sides and how it is much, much easier to get to and around than every other mall I've seen in the metro area - but limiting on future growth.

By the way, the neighborhood west of it is a great place to buy
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Old 12-18-2009, 02:37 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,802,966 times
Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
Hehe, okay, you got me on a technicality. But a lot of unincorporated Arapahoe County areas had Littleton as the postal city and people would always colloquially refer to the area as Littleton (that's where I was). Mainly I brought that up to encourage the OP to look a little further east if he determines he can handle the commute. This would be really feasible if he got a place near C-470 and could just swing up the highway toward Lakewood.
No disagreement there Technically I guess we could say that Centennial was made from Littleton, Aurora and Englewood (maybe more?). Anyways, when I was growing up it was referred to as Littleton and even now the 80122 zip code comes up as Littleton often when I'm ordering something online.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: Napa, CA
151 posts, read 356,016 times
Reputation: 113
That was my zip growing up.

You're right, the Safeway strip mall is a little dumpy now. I would assume somebody's going to level it and rebuild? Maybe they could just replace the facade and get a new primary tenant though.

The one that's really turned south is the one that used to have the old Festival 6 theater down on County Line and University. Anyone done anything with that one yet?
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:27 PM
 
Location: western Centennial, CO
655 posts, read 1,802,966 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FentonForche View Post
That was my zip growing up.

You're right, the Safeway strip mall is a little dumpy now. I would assume somebody's going to level it and rebuild? Maybe they could just replace the facade and get a new primary tenant though.

The one that's really turned south is the one that used to have the old Festival 6 theater down on County Line and University. Anyone done anything with that one yet?
We're spoiled here in that even the dumpy shopping centers aren't really that bad - no graffiti, etc. They redid the facade on the center on the SE corner of University and Dry Creek although it's still looking for a primary tenant since the library left. The old Festival 6 hasn't been redone. It's still clicking with Petsmart, Guirys and other stores, but nobody has really replaced the Soundtrack (Ultimate Electronics). those are the types of shopping centers that we hope are revitalized by Southglenn.
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