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I've been researching locations for about 2 years where I'd like to move to when I had the freedom to live wherever I'd like to. (Never had that option while raising kids!!) The time has come (empty nest and sold business) and in all my research and travels, NW Ark was the only place that meets the majority of my criteria. A trip there solidified my decision. HOWEVER, I didn't have time to check out a few cities just over into the OK border so I did some more research when I got home and found Green Country of OK, which I never knew existed. It looks like it could meet even more of my criteria than Fayetteville. I'm planning to visit there the last 2 weeks of August.
Here is a small slice of my criteria fitting for the circumstance in which it's already been narrowed down to the little corner of the world in the Ozarks!
#1) Must be an area with an abundance of hilly/mountainous, trees, lakes and rivers. (Prefer the flatlands and browned grass of prairie be many miles away from where I live, work and play)
2) ACREAGE IN OR NEAR SMALL PROGRESSIVE TOWN OF NEAR 10,000 with employment options.
3) WITHIN ABOUT AN HOUR OF A MAJOR METRO for possible necessary medical care as I get old (er), VA hospital to entice my sister to join me soon, cheaper air transportation costs, and occasional city fun. And employment can always be found in the big city should circumstances ever require commuting. Never hurts to be prepared for the worst...
4) College; may I always be learning and around those who do
5) AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Around $100,000 for my first home and to build my dream home in 1 to 2 years.
I like Tulsa much more than Little Rock. Is there another city near Fayetteville that I am overlooking that might provide the occasional big city needs I mentioned? The area along the string of lakes in Green Country seems to provide a much larger radius of the countryside I'm seeking; hills, trees, water. It seems that the areas that fulfill that criteria in AR are either very small, seasonal (Eureka Springs) or a lage number of retirees. I want to live where my young children would also like to live someday; young families, good schools, etc.
I'd appreciate some insight from people who have lived both sides of the border that can offer their opinions and suggestions before my visit next month.
I forgot! What are the tax advantages of living in OK versus AR? From what I've read: AR has personal property tax. Does OK? Both have state income taxes but seem to be very comparable. Real estate taxes seem comparable also. Do either have inheritance tax? I also read that homestead exemption is automatic in AR. Is that true and does OK have it also?
That's where my husband is from. We travel there a couple of times a year to see family. It's about 30-40 minutes North East of Tulsa and is a attractive town, easy to get around in. It's in Green Country as everybody calls it around there. They have a great Kiddie Park that has amusement rides for the little ones that is open around April till school starts. My kids loved it there when they were smaller. My husband also went to the Kiddie Park as a youngster also. It's a family tradition around Bartlesville. Also, if you go to Bartlesville to check things out, you have to go to Murphy's Steak House and enjoy a "hot hamburger" with gravy over all! They take a hamburger in a bun and layer it with onions and french fries and pour the best brown gravy you could ever eat on top of it. It's so good! Bartleville is just a nice size town without being too big for comfort and the rolling hills are pretty and green also. Not far from the Tulsa Zoo and sites around Tulsa.
Yes, it's mainly in the "plains" but has some rolling hills around. It's very green this time of year and a very attractive area. I'm not sure about how many lakes are close by. It's not like the Boston Mountain area around Fayetteville or some of the Ouachita Mountains that run into the lower part of Oklahoma from Arkansas. When you get to/leave the Fort Smith area and enter Oklahoma, you can still see some of the mountainess range and then as you get closer to Tulsa the mountainess range disappears. You may can look between Fort Smith and Tulsa and see what may seem attractive smaller towns to you. I can think of one lake that I've seen on a sign going that way. It's called, Tenkiller Lake, I believe. What a name! Hope this helps in your quest for a personal paradise. I really like that part of Oklahoma myself. When we went to the Fayetteville, Springdale area. etc. we knew that it was growing too fast for us to consider living there. So much of the beauty is being lost due to fast moving development and highways.
I think you will find NW AR and NE OK very similar. The homestead exeption does apply in both states. We found the cost of housing about the same in Bella Vista and Grove. Grove may have been a little less expensive.
Taxes overall in Arkansas according to the Wall Street Jounal a couple of months ago are among the top 10 in the country while OK is about the lowest. But remember high versus low taxes can be very misleading. For instance, business taxes don't affect most of us but property taxes and sales taxes do.
The homes we were looking at ($100,000) like you had lower taxes in Ar and the sales taxes were about the same, with OK being a hair less. OK has higher personal property tax, that is why our granddaughter, living in OKC isn't going to register her car til Sept. She bought it from her parents a few months ago and it is registered in Texas.
We haven't been to Tenkill lake area, but have heard it is really beautiful. As for choosing an area without a lot of retired people, even places like Bella Vista are becoming younger every year. What you see this year compared to next will be totally different. I can remember moving into neighborhoods years ago with middle aged and older people, just to have the same area become filled with kids within 2 or 3 years as houses sold. I can remember the opposite as well.
Good luck, if I were you I would investigate Ok just to see what you think. WE decided we liked NW AR better, but everyone is not the same.
S.C. - I think you will find NWA and NE OK very different. The biggest difference being the people. Most that live in NE OK are native to the state / region and have lived in the area most if not all of their lives ... true mid-southerners. NWA is predominately populated by people who have transplanted here for jobs .... most coming from East or West Coast or internationally. Even Siloam Springs (though it is in NWA) is very different than the towns along the I-54O corridor.
Based on your criteria I believe NE OK may be a better fit. I agree that Tulsa is much nicer than Little Rock, plus from this area you can be in Kansas City in just over 3 hours and in Springfield in less than 2 hours. NE OK should match the scenic beauty you desire, homes will certainly be more affordable in NE OK, and several institutions of higher learning are within easy driving distance from NE OK - including John Brown University in Siloam Springs.
Many thanks for giving me some more thoughts to weigh. The description of Fayetteville reminds me of what my attractions were to the city in the first place, which makes me wonder if my slice of heaven is within fairly easy driving ditance to Fayetteville. What is the terrain west of Fayetteville and Springdale like once across the OK border, such as the cities of Westville, Kansas and West Siloam Springs?
To help you understand my fixation with hills/mountains and a place where things grow without help of the human, imagine where I came from where it was hilly and green year round, evergreen of Black Hills, and the tropics of Florida for 7 adult years, to the low desert where there is nothing in the way of obstructing a view for hundreds of miles except rock formations, shrubs, sagebrush and cacti. Except in the cities or higher elevations; not a single tree, the only living creatures normally seen are lizards and snakes, and the only colors present most of the time are shades of tan, gray and brown. Of course there is much more than meets the eye, as many desert lovers and flat landers would point out, and I can appreciate all of it, but at this season of my life and with freedoms of choice that come with it, it is the color green I want in my face. The colors that come with the abundance of deciduous trees in the fall are just a huge bonus.
nmnita, it seems like I read in another blog that you were making a trip to AR or OK awhile back with the plans of moving. Will you share your travel experience with me (descriptions of the landscape can't be too elaborate for my blood!) and did you find a location you plan to move to?
Also, it really doesn't matter to me whether I live in an area that is predominantly retirees as long as it isn't in an area that is overrun with over 55 communities or any other segregated type living. I want the young, the old, the rich, the poor, and everything in between. There's nothing homogenized about this ole lady! As long as the majority of residents have pride, I'll be a happy camper.
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