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Old 03-26-2017, 08:53 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,820 times
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After researching different areas, I am considering moving to Alachua. I currently live in a mid-sized city in WV.

I am also planning to visit the area first, to get a feel for the location, the people, etc. etc.

What I'd like to do before I get the chance, though, is to ask people who live there or have experience with the area what it's like. It seems to be decent as far as not a bad crime rate, schools look good, area looks to be what I'm looking for (not too big and crazy, not too small but close enough to larger areas for activities, far enough inland so as to not be as affected by hurricanes as much as being on the coast, close enough to either coast for deep sea fishing, etc. etc.). Also, if needed, it would be easier to get out of the area in an emergency situation vs. having to fight through coming up from the middle or bottom of the state.

Any information about the things I listed, as well as type of people/environment, job prospects, all that sort of thing would be helpful.

I just want to get some genuine opinions as to the area in question to see if I made a good choice in location, as I may not get to make my visit for a little while still. Thanks to everybody in advance.

Last edited by Dr.Gonzo; 03-26-2017 at 09:49 PM..
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Old 03-27-2017, 06:26 AM
 
21,180 posts, read 30,336,326 times
Reputation: 19590
There's not much in Alachua in terms of jobs or things to do and am not sure where you got your information about "good schools" ...but that is not the case. I would suggest looking at Gainesville which is much nicer and has all of the conveniences and job opportunity including lower density neighborhoods if that's your desire, check out the NW side in particular within the Buchholz High School district and the primary schools that feed into it. Overall I think Gainesville is a wise option for families due to decent schools, a smaller town vibe and the positive influences a college town can provide.
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Old 03-27-2017, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Gainesville, FL; formerly Weston, FL
986 posts, read 984,549 times
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We moved to nearby Gainesville 2 years ago from South Florida--we both graduated from the University of Florida many decades ago & Gainesville had gotten high marks as a retirement choice so when my husband decided to retire, we made the move. So far, we have not been disappointed.

Here's my answers to your thoughts, based on my observations & talking to friends & neighbors:
1. Crime rate--yes, it's not bad. You have to be careful about property crime since the university can be a magnet that attracts thieves. I heard a rumor that meth use was a problem in Alachua in particular. You might want to look at the Alachua County Sheriff's Facebook page for more info.
2. Schools--in the pecking order of schools in the county, Gainesville schools are viewed as more desirable due to their closer proximity to the university & it's programs. Alachua & Newberry are the second tier -- not bad schools from what my neighbors tell me but just lacking the more innovative programs offered by schools zoned in Gainesville. In conjunction with this, real estate is priced accordingly & your dollars will generally get you more land & house in Alachua & downtown Newberry than in Gainesville.
3. Activities--Alachua's southern edge borders Gainesville so you are not far from there; the university hosts lectures, plays, concerts, sports, etc. Alachua is host to a fantastic July 4th fireworks show that is very well done.
4. Hurricanes--compared to South Florida, people don't hunker down as much. Our most recent experience was with hurricane Matthew. Like our neighbors, we make sure that we stocked up on bottled water, nonperishable food items, batteries, etc. but no one that I know of left town. One thing that we did find that was a difference from South Florida was the amount of time it took to respond to power outages --they were slower it seemed. They definitely were frequent during bad storms when we were renting in the northwest section (had Clay electric). We now live in the southwest section of Gainesville and the power outages are not as frequent (have GRU). This area of the state has an especially thick tree canopy & during storms I don't think it takes much to cause a power outage due to falling limbs and branches.
5. People\environment\job prospects – –The people here are very very friendly; we rented in one neighborhood and now own a home in another and we found it did not take much effort at all to meet and become friends with our neighbors. I have never been to West Virginia but if you are used to a slower pace and easy-going way of life then you will like the area. As for jobs the University of Florida is the economic engine here and is the largest employer. There are also many service jobs in the area due to the university; however, due to the college-aged population, competition is fierce and wages are low.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:35 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,820 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
There's not much in Alachua in terms of jobs or things to do and am not sure where you got your information about "good schools" ...but that is not the case. I would suggest looking at Gainesville which is much nicer and has all of the conveniences and job opportunity including lower density neighborhoods if that's your desire, check out the NW side in particular within the Buchholz High School district and the primary schools that feed into it. Overall I think Gainesville is a wise option for families due to decent schools, a smaller town vibe and the positive influences a college town can provide.

I was just going by online searches I had done and school ratings (I know, that's not the be all end all. A lot of places care more about getting that number vs. actual education; i.e. my son's current school).

Gainesville sounds like it may be a better alternative, I just had online information to go on and it seemed like there was more of a crime rate there, but the data isn't exactly most recent either. Like I said, I've just been going on what I've been able to glean from searching around online (data, reviews, forums, etc.)

Thanks for the info, maybe I'll look into that area also. Seems to have more housing options also.
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:39 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,820 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizrap View Post
We moved to nearby Gainesville 2 years ago from South Florida--we both graduated from the University of Florida many decades ago & Gainesville had gotten high marks as a retirement choice so when my husband decided to retire, we made the move. So far, we have not been disappointed.

Here's my answers to your thoughts, based on my observations & talking to friends & neighbors:
1. Crime rate--yes, it's not bad. You have to be careful about property crime since the university can be a magnet that attracts thieves. I heard a rumor that meth use was a problem in Alachua in particular. You might want to look at the Alachua County Sheriff's Facebook page for more info.
2. Schools--in the pecking order of schools in the county, Gainesville schools are viewed as more desirable due to their closer proximity to the university & it's programs. Alachua & Newberry are the second tier -- not bad schools from what my neighbors tell me but just lacking the more innovative programs offered by schools zoned in Gainesville. In conjunction with this, real estate is priced accordingly & your dollars will generally get you more land & house in Alachua & downtown Newberry than in Gainesville.
3. Activities--Alachua's southern edge borders Gainesville so you are not far from there; the university hosts lectures, plays, concerts, sports, etc. Alachua is host to a fantastic July 4th fireworks show that is very well done.
4. Hurricanes--compared to South Florida, people don't hunker down as much. Our most recent experience was with hurricane Matthew. Like our neighbors, we make sure that we stocked up on bottled water, nonperishable food items, batteries, etc. but no one that I know of left town. One thing that we did find that was a difference from South Florida was the amount of time it took to respond to power outages --they were slower it seemed. They definitely were frequent during bad storms when we were renting in the northwest section (had Clay electric). We now live in the southwest section of Gainesville and the power outages are not as frequent (have GRU). This area of the state has an especially thick tree canopy & during storms I don't think it takes much to cause a power outage due to falling limbs and branches.
5. People\environment\job prospects – –The people here are very very friendly; we rented in one neighborhood and now own a home in another and we found it did not take much effort at all to meet and become friends with our neighbors. I have never been to West Virginia but if you are used to a slower pace and easy-going way of life then you will like the area. As for jobs the University of Florida is the economic engine here and is the largest employer. There are also many service jobs in the area due to the university; however, due to the college-aged population, competition is fierce and wages are low.

Hope this helps.
That was a lot of helpful information, thank you. One of the things I forgot to mention was that I am a single parent, so in some cases a person has to be a bit more thorough as you're "on your own" so to speak.

That's why schooling and crime rate are two of the most important factors. I don't want to move just to get in a position where my son is in a bad situation in school (especially after moving so far from family and friends) or somewhere that more crime/violence is prevalent. I know you have it anywhere you go these days, but the less the better.
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Old 03-27-2017, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Gainesville, FL; formerly Weston, FL
986 posts, read 984,549 times
Reputation: 986
Generally, crime is higher in east Gainesville than west (the university is on the east side of town). West of I75 is the suburbs, so less students. Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:16 PM
 
830 posts, read 1,028,848 times
Reputation: 1004
Alachua is a small town about 15 minutes north of Gainesville. It's essentially a little suburb of Gainesville where most people commute to Gainesville to work.

I would look for employment in the Gainesville area before considering any move. There are other little towns around Gainesville that you should also consider along with Alachua like Newberry and High Springs.

Find employment first and then visit. The job market is very tight because of the abundance of college graduates from the University. This causes salaries to be low unless you have very specialized skills like medical, techonology, or biotech science where Gainesville is growing in high paid jobs. Outside of this, employment is mostly in retail and service sector and low paid.
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