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Old 02-09-2011, 12:02 AM
 
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So, my wife and are considering moving our family (us and two young daughters) to Fargo this spring. We are trying to decided between moving there or back to Alaska, where I am from.

Can anyone tell me about the school systems in Fargo? Are they all pretty decent, or are there any we should watch out for? I have noticed I'm becoming and overly concerned parent as my older daughter approaches school age.

We are looking for a place to settle down and raise our family, and Fargo seems to fit the bill perfectly. Although my family is all in Alaska, the thing that concerns me is the growing drug problem there. Is this a major concern in Fargo? Perhaps the issue is just magnified in Alaska, as it has affected some family members; but again, I notice myself becoming over-protective.

As far as jobs are concerned, is it really as rosy as the very low rate of unemployment suggests? I am a college graduate, with experience in hotel/restaurant management. I certainly have no dreams of grandeur, but I would like to be able to find something a)relatively quickly and b) that allows us to live comfortably. I would be perfectly happy serving or bartending in a restaurant, as long as there were hours to be had...

What about cost of living? I have looked on rent.com and Craigslist, and have a rough idea of rental/home costs in the area. But, what about things such as gas, groceries, and utilities?

Any information that someone can provide would be extremely helpful. I have done a few searches on here, but a lot of the information is dated.

Thank you!
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
418 posts, read 1,185,647 times
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Can anyone tell me about the school systems in Fargo? Are they all pretty decent, or are there any we should watch out for? I have noticed I'm becoming and overly concerned parent as my older daughter approaches school age.
--We have been fairly satisfied with the Fargo Public Schools. Our kids have gone to one of the smaller neighborhood schools (Clara Barton/Hawthorne) and had a great elementary education. Overall, their middle school experience has been very good as well. Our older son is now in 9th grade and we've had some dissatisfaction w/ the lack of academic challenges for him, but looking for that to improve once he hits AP classes. The West Fargo Public Schools have had their challenges in past years, but w/ a new superintendent things seem to be improving. They've had a STEM magnet program that has been widely praised, but there is quite a waiting list to get in. Moorhead (MN) schools--like all MN schools currently--is struggling with declining state support. But always--the quality of education depends on the individual teacher often and parental support makes a huge difference.

We are looking for a place to settle down and raise our family, and Fargo seems to fit the bill perfectly. Although my family is all in Alaska, the thing that concerns me is the growing drug problem there. Is this a major concern in Fargo? Perhaps the issue is just magnified in Alaska, as it has affected some family members; but again, I notice myself becoming over-protective.
--Alcohol is typically the drug of choice. Meth had been a larger problem but after the crackdown and restriction of Sudafed sales, the number of meth labs is declining. You sound like you want to be involved in your kids' lives--know their friends and their friends parents and you can perhaps head off the worst of the exposure to drug problems.

As far as jobs are concerned, is it really as rosy as the very low rate of unemployment suggests? I am a college graduate, with experience in hotel/restaurant management. I certainly have no dreams of grandeur, but I would like to be able to find something a)relatively quickly and b) that allows us to live comfortably. I would be perfectly happy serving or bartending in a restaurant, as long as there were hours to be had...
--There are several colleges in the Fargo-Moorhead area that pump out a lot of graduates. However, given Fargo's position at the intersection of interstate highways and its role as a regional service center, there are a lot of hotels and restaurants. Take a look at the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors' Bureau to get an idea of how many. Some place to start for job postings are www.jobshq.com and www.jobsnd.com

What about cost of living? I have looked on rent.com and Craigslist, and have a rough idea of rental/home costs in the area. But, what about things such as gas, groceries, and utilities?
--Take a look at the Fargo-Moorhead--West Fargo Chamber of Commerce site for cost of living information. They usually have fairly up-to-date figures. Gas is more expensive here than in the south, but cheaper than in Michigan. I find produce to be more expensive, but beef & pork are often cheaper.

Thank you![/quote]

Let me know what follow-up questions you may have.
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:46 PM
 
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Thank you for the very informative reply, it is much appreciated! I will talk with my wife and see if we have any other questions.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:14 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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Hi

I live/work up in East Grand Forks-Grand Forks about 70 miles north but have been to Fargo many times and just being close enough I am pretty familiar with the area.

Schools over our entire region are good to excellent. Like most city districts, some elem schools in Fargo are in older buildings than others, north Fargo elem schools tend to have smaller class sizes than south Fargo schools. Remember that some of Fargo (Osgood area) is in West Fargo school district which has been going through a population boom and class sizes there are a bit high and they are looking at several options to ease crowding.

I dont live in Fargo so dont know as much about neighborhoods, except most all the growth has been south, thus you will find newer construction in the south and southwest part of the area and older homes/neighborhoods in the north end. I dont think there is any real bad areas to stay away from...just older versus newer.

The drug problem in Fargo is no different than any other smaller city....it is mostly hidden and generally small time. Fargo is very safe for a city its size. Yes things can happen anywhere of course.

Fargo is still the population hub of the region and has all the big name stores and tons of restaurants. Shouldnt have a problem getting a job in the service industry. Now pay does tend to be lower it seems than similar jobs in other parts of the country from what other folks have said on this forum. I am not in the service industry, so I dont know what is normal.

Fargo generally has lower costs of housing than other cities in North Dakota. I think that is due to more competition. Gas prices are usually the lowest as well there....always it seems 10 to 20 cents lower than Grand Forks and Grand Forks tends to be 10 cents lower than Minot.

Overall, Fargo is a great small city. It has some traffic, but nothing compared to anyone who has lived in a larger city. It has all the stores, shops you could want and if not the Twin Cities is 3 1/2 to 4 hours away down I-94. Lakes country is an hour east.

The area if flat and agriculture is big in the valley. Dont expect to see hills or anything in the immediate area. Wind is common and winters are cold and summers warm with short spring and falls. In other words, our weather is one of extremes with wide variations from season to season.
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:38 AM
 
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Thank you for another informative reply, I appreciate it!

What can you tell me about flooding? It seems to be the one thing that is holding us back from just jumping head first into a move that direction. I've never lived in an area susceptible to flooding, so it concerns me. It seems as though it's a fairly regular occurence. Is that the case, or am I getting a case of "internet hype?"

Thanks again!
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
418 posts, read 1,185,647 times
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Don't buy along the Red River, or along Rose Coulee (also called Rose Creek or County Drain 27) or along Drain 53 (the Silverleaf neighborhood). There is a huge amount of information at www.cityoffargo.com/flood. Poke around; the Engineering Department is still updating some of the mapping for this year's event, but most of it is current. If through the various real estate sites you've found an address that looks interesting go to that page, click on "Your Property" in the left-hand column, and then click on the interactive flood stage map. You can enter a street address and see at what water level both the land and the structure would be affected. But remember, those water levels are stated as if there were no levees (permanent or temporary) in place. For example, water would hit my back steps at 41.5 feet, but since the permanent levee on the south side of downtown protects to 44-45 feet, I'm not terribly worried.
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:38 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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HI

I agree with Dutchinnd....I am a meteorologist at NWS Grand Forks and flooding is a concern still for a few areas along the immediate Red and along Rose creek and certainly down around Oxbow. But most of the city is just fine and with ongoing improvements the city is protected. Work and study is underway for a more permanent flood protection system, but personally I wouldnt let flooding concerns stop me if that was the only thing. As the prev poster said, if you are looking a place, check with the city and websites. Most of the city is ok


Dan
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Old 02-10-2011, 12:42 PM
 
4 posts, read 8,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchinnd View Post
Don't buy along the Red River, or along Rose Coulee (also called Rose Creek or County Drain 27) or along Drain 53 (the Silverleaf neighborhood). There is a huge amount of information at www.cityoffargo.com/flood. Poke around; the Engineering Department is still updating some of the mapping for this year's event, but most of it is current. If through the various real estate sites you've found an address that looks interesting go to that page, click on "Your Property" in the left-hand column, and then click on the interactive flood stage map. You can enter a street address and see at what water level both the land and the structure would be affected. But remember, those water levels are stated as if there were no levees (permanent or temporary) in place. For example, water would hit my back steps at 41.5 feet, but since the permanent levee on the south side of downtown protects to 44-45 feet, I'm not terribly worried.

That website is extremely helpful, thank you again!
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