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Old 03-17-2012, 10:28 PM
 
42 posts, read 49,167 times
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My husband just got offered a job in Peoria and accepted it. We are very excited about our move there (we currently live in Springfield). We have 2 young daughters, one will be in elementary school and the other will be in pre-school.

I was hoping that I could get some advice from those who live/have lived in the area. Like I said, we currently live in Springfield, but haven't been here for very long and we still feel new to the state of Illinois.

My first question is whether you would recommend we buy a house in Peoria. What are the housing market and property taxes like in Peoria? Due to the nature of my husband's job, we will most likely not be sticking around for more than 3-4 years. But with it being such a buyer's market right now, and with interest rates being soooo low... we're wondering if it would be foolish not to take advantage of that? Or would it be foolish TO take advantage? I don't know.

I'm also wondering, in the event that we end up deciding to rent, where are some good websites to look for nice rentals? I have checked craigslist and padmapper... but I'm wondering if there are any hidden gems I'm unaware of?

And lastly, if anyone has any input on preschools in the area, that would be great!

Thanks so much for your advice! I might be back with more questions soon
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:21 AM
 
32 posts, read 89,927 times
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Marcar
I have lived in and out of Peoria for the past 49 years and will try to answer your questions...
House prices are probably pretty similar to Springfield...The market for buyers is good right now but if you try to sell in 3-4 yrs then you will be on the opposite side...I think the housing market will move very slowly higher...I found the best places to find rentals were either on Craigslist or the Peoria Journal star....The main problem with rentals, is most of them are in the bad areas...You can find rentals in good areas but they go very fast and also most of the good rentals wont take pets...If you have school age kids you dont really want to live in the city of Peoria, as the school district is not very good and getting worse every year...Either live in one of the towns around Peoria or live in the far north side, as thats the best area of town...I dont have any advice on preschools as we didnt send our kids to any, but again probably far north side or any of the towns around Peoria would be fine...
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,866 posts, read 15,291,434 times
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I've had a place to call home in Peoria for nearly 70 years. Demographically Peoria is twice the size of Springfield. The vibe is different; its not a political city. The only hospital in the state that treats more children than Children's Hospital - Peoria is in Chicago. Peoria is the only hospital in central Illinois that has the level 1 critical care tertiary unit for children and pregnant women. Peoria has 3x more physicians than the national average. It also has a large holistic community too as well as a natural grocery store and a seasonal farmers market. There's been 3 new grocers in the last 5 years: Gordon's, Fresh Market and Hy Vee. There are five other grocers plus a couple of butchers and some independent venders. Add that to a mall and a half-dozen shopping centers and you can shop 'tll you drop.

The one thing about Peoria the kids will love as they grow in the Peoria Park District which manages 10,000 acres. You start out now with the free G-rated family movies on Sat night at Glen Oak Park and by the time they are old enough to drive they can enjoy the knights and ladies at the Renaissance Faire at Jubilee Park or they can sleep to the wolf lullaby.

The new waterpark is in East Peoria. Costco and a new Target store will open this year in East Peoria. Dixon's Fish Market has been in E. Peoria for over a 100 years. Dixon's has had a small fry fishing hole for kids for a long time, too.

Statewide all IL high schools are on the state watch list for non-performance. Some junior high schools are on the list too. Parents who are involved with school, teachers, principals, school events, school work, and school board meetings from K-12 will have children who are educated. Parent involvement makes a difference. My grandchildren were failing last year. This year they are top performers. What happened? Their father got involved with teachers and home work.

Not all Peoria schools are failing. What I do not like about PSD 150 is moving kids every two years to a different school with different teachers. City taxes are higher than county taxes across the state. Should you chose to buy in Peoria, one of the areas I like very well is Rolling Acres. It is family orientated, middle income subdivision where houses sell well. It is not far from Richwoods High School. You do not want to live any farther NW than Rolling Acres due to tornadoes that cross the NW corner of Peoria County. Today Richwoods is a decent high school that offers solid college prep courses. Peoria has a school for the gifted and autistic child. You will also find Montessori, private religious schools. All Illinois public schools provide the same coursework. The only difference is the name of the teacher and the school location. If you want to talk about the far future you have the Peoria school of medicine, Bradley U, ICC, Eureka College. ISU, OSF and Methodist Nursing Schools, and a host of trade schools in about a 38 mile radius.

Religiously Peoria is one of the most diverse towns I've ever lived in. It seems to be home to every major denomination in America, and a few that are not sp well known. Many are listed in the phone book and on the Internet.

Peoria Area has annual events galore from the rubber ducky race, 3K run, juried art fair, Chili cook off, St. Pat's Parade, Santa Parade (the oldest in America), FOLEPI - one of the largest night time Christmas Parades and lighted displays in America, Oktoberfest, Marigo;d Festival and Medallion Hunt, TT Finals and more.

When you start talking about nearby towns there are many. They all have schools, library, post office and a few stores. They are all 10-20 miles from Peoria. With the exception of Eureka, Pekin and Canton what they do not have is a hospital. Do they have the EMT?

If you want all the advantages of Peoria, but you do not want to live in Peoria proper, then do look at the Village of Peoria Heights. It is a desirable address. The K-12 does not rotate schools.. Your children will graduate with the same kids they started kindergarden with. There is also a catholic school and high school. It is surrounded by Peoria on 3 sides. The center of PH is about 3 miles or less from Glen Oak Park. Seven minutes or less from the nearest hospital (Proctor). 5 Miles or LESS from Children's hospital, After Hours Care (open to 11pm), mall and major shopping. You will not have this convenience in any other location.

The last major snow storm closed all Peoria streets. Fire trucks and the national guard were lead escorts for Peoria ambulances. No one died because the EMT could not get to a patient, or get a patient to a hospital.

In terms of place to live I like:
Peoria Heights
Robein K-8
Washington,
Germantown Hills,
Morton
Dunlap
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:49 AM
 
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
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Having family in Chatham/Auburn and having lived in the Peoria area - you should find Peoria more interesting than Springfield. Due to your children being of school age I suggest looking into any area that has Dunlap schools. They are among the best in the state.

Many of the rental houses in the Peoria area are not listed on craigslist. They are listed through local realty companies.
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,866 posts, read 15,291,434 times
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One of the handiest places to live in Peoria and not be in the Peoria School District 150 is in Peoria Heights. It is 4-5 miles from all the shopping you will ever want, 3-4 miles from Children's Hospital, 2 stoplights from the nearest hospital, cops that are as much tour guides as tough guys, 3 miles or less from the Peoria Zoo and Glen Oak Park. There is easy access to everything once you learn the short cuts. Peoria Heights has always had an excellent school system with low teacher to student ratio. They are not bused to outside schools, and your kids will graduate with the class they enrolled with.

Here's the secret. The Village of Peoria Heights is not 5 or 10 or 20 miles from Peoria like the other towns. Peoria totally surrounds Peoria Heights on three sides. The fourth side is the Illinois River. The Villiage of Peoria Heights is a desirable address and well positioned.
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Old 03-22-2012, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
3,755 posts, read 5,914,741 times
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greatschools.org rates Peoria Heights as a 7 for the grade school and a 5 for the high school.
They rank the Dunlap grade and middle schools at 9 to 10's and the high school as a 10.
Peoria Heights schools were decent in the 1970's and 1980's, but have declined ever since.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:52 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,866 posts, read 15,291,434 times
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Actually, the state has all public high schools on a watch list for non performance, All public schools teach the same subjects. I have a really hard time believing the teachers with masters and doctorates are bad teachers. What I think is there are far too many kids that cannot be taught that are unleashed in public schools ill-equipt to deal with autism, deaf, blind, and mental problems.

The only defense the parent has is to be pro-active from the day the child starts school until the day the child graduate from college. It won't make a lot of difference if they go to a snobby school with pretentious neighbors or a poor school in the ghetto; they will get a good education as long as the parents are involved. And if all else fails home school is an excellent option.

As to location, I will only say this much. It is terrifying to try to rush 10 miles to a hospital in any storm. It's worse when the patient is your child.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:45 AM
 
614 posts, read 1,357,837 times
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I second the thoughts about Peoria Heights and Dunlop. Peoria Heights is closer to everything and is a very beautiful, mature wooded area in the bluffs along the west bank of the river. In Dunlop, you'll drive further for errands and appointments--we're talking 6-7 miles.

When I was there, I was fortunate enough to find a rental on Picture Ridge Road during my internship and it was just lovely. Beautiful homes and nice scenery. Any area along the bluffs will be like this. Dunlop is more open farmland.

I also agree with those who said to stay away from the downtown area of Peoria. There are some really shady areas south of 150 and east of 74. The area between 74 and 474 varies in quality, but I don't think the schools are as good there.

And it can be hard to tell from the ads where the home is located. When I was shopping, I had a number of appointments with landlords where, when I got near the property, I rolled up the windows, drove right on by and just kept going. If I had it to do over, I would have hired a realtor to help me find a rental somewhere in the heights, towards Dunlop or west of 474.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone else mentioned it, but if your husband is working at CAT, bear in mind that there are facilities in Peoria downtown, East Peoria across the river and Chillicothe. I lived in North Peoria and worked in East Peoria and my commute was 9 miles / 22 minutes.
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Old 03-23-2012, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
10,866 posts, read 15,291,434 times
Reputation: 5393
Actually there are CAT facilities near Chilicothe and Canton, in Morton and East Peoria, plus the global digs in Peoria.

Bartonville shares a border with Peoria. It is a family orientated, solid, working family community in the Limestone School District. It has always been decent place to live and raise a family.

East of I-74 is vague because of the direction it is laid out. In downtown Peoria the streets are NE and SW; most are sketchy until you pass the last bridge traveling NE or SW. Once you cross University on I-74, the streets are N/S between Nebraska and War Memorial/ US 150; some of it is sketchy although there are some very nice areas if you know where to look. The City of West Peoria is a very interesting community of brick bungalows. it is an extremely small area best suited for quiet singles or older couples. Although WP is nice, the area around it can be sketchy as is surrounded on all sides by the City of Peoria.

The area in NW Peoria specifically in Peoria County is frequently touched by tornadoes that cross US150.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:42 PM
 
42 posts, read 49,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWayISeeThings View Post
And it can be hard to tell from the ads where the home is located. When I was shopping, I had a number of appointments with landlords where, when I got near the property, I rolled up the windows, drove right on by and just kept going. If I had it to do over, I would have hired a realtor to help me find a rental somewhere in the heights, towards Dunlop or west of 474.

.
Thank you all for the advice! I really appreciate it!
So you say that the area west of 474 is generally good? I'm looking at homes in a neighborhood that is JUST BARELY west of 474, but is south of War Memorial. I was a little worried because I read somewhere that I should try to limit my house-hunt to areas north of War Memorial. But is that mostly true for the more central/eastern parts of town? What about farther west?
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