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Old 08-28-2014, 04:32 PM
 
6 posts, read 10,193 times
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I have been offered an interview for a company in Ottawa but of course, I don't know anything about the area. I'm in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Lots of trees, lakes, snow. What is the town like there? The surrounding area? It looks like it's roughly an hour to the outskirts of Chicago. Any other towns good to go to? I had a stint in Rantoul/Champaign IL in the mid-80s and I remember lots of fields and not much else. How about the summer/winter weather? Tornadoes? Winter storms bad? Fire away please. Living in an area that I like is very important to me, no matter what the pay is. Thanks.
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 27,186,986 times
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Ottowa/Peru is near I-80. It's about 2 hours to Chicago. There are four trains daliy to/from Chicago at Princeton. It is the nearest station to Ottowa.

Rantoul/Champaign is in central Illinois. It is surrounded by beans and corn because Illinois is an Ag state and top exporter of crop. It also exports grains and livestock such as beef and hogs. You will find many farms and ranches in Illinois outside of Chicago and Cook County.

Winter weather can be just as brutal as where you live. IL is a leafy and green like Michigan. Illinois is what you make of it. Outside of the Chicago area Illinois is rolling hills, towering cliffs, great rivers, beautiful and scenic byways and highways, job opportunities, history, culture, museums, planetariums, zoological parks, state parks, city parks, and botanical gardens, farm towns, cities large and small, good medical care, great food, outdoor activity all year, river cruises, look out tower, theatre, annual events large and small, etc.. But, it is not in one place just as the 4th largest mall in America is in Cook County but it is several miles from Chicago.

Cook County is the second largest in America. Chicago is the third largest city. It is area of 10M persons. It is a regional hub city for trucks, trains, planes, ships, and personal vehicles. Planes land and leave O'Hare Airport every 10 seconds 24/7/365 weather permitting. It has 1000 neighborhoods and 6-8 lane interstate routes.

At one time I lived near Ottawa/Peru in the sleepty community of Marseilles. I loved Peru, but not so much Ottowa. But that was long ago. Illinois towns have been forced to change to survive. That Ottawa is hiring is a very good thing.
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:00 PM
 
35,106 posts, read 43,429,680 times
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http://www.cityofottawa.org/

Found with a search on google
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Old 08-29-2014, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Illinois
41 posts, read 83,601 times
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There are also three trains daily to Chicago from Mendota, IL which is about 32 miles from Ottawa. Its located about 90 miles from Chicago, 80 miles from Peoria, 95 miles to the Quad Cities of IL/IA.

Ottawa is really making an effort to revitalize their downtown, they've put a lot of work into cleaning it up, landscaping, etc.
But they don't have a lot of retail shopping, a mall and big box stores (Kohls, Home Depot, Menards, Target) are located in Peru, IL about 25 miles away.

There is a large state Park about 20 miles away, Starved Rock State Park - Voted the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois!

It definitely has potential, but it is at heart a town of about 19,000 people most of which would qualify as small town folks. In the winter, especially, there isn't always a lot to do in the area. Ottawa is actually one of the larger cities in the area.

Unemployment is finally starting to come down a little in La Salle County, after having one of the highest rates in Northern IL for the last few years.

Last winter was brutal, the worst I've seen in 25 years. This summer has been ok, cooler and drier than usual, but lots of rain and humidity the last couple of weeks.

Good luck on your job search!!
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 27,186,986 times
Reputation: 6317
Outside of Starved Rock is a place called Grizzley Jack's. What it has that might appeal to you is year round inside Water Park, and cabins with washer and dryer and kitchen. Sometimes a gang of friends will go for a weekend and split the cost of a cabin. .
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:28 PM
 
6 posts, read 10,193 times
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Thanks for the replies. CSD610, I did the same search as you did using Google. I asked on here because I knew I'd get a little more detail than the standard web site. Still not completely sold on Ottawa and Illinois. If it looks like the job will have a good chance, I'll have to get down there and have a look around first. I've lived in places that seem nice on paper or on the internet and when one gets a look, it isn't so great. Anymore input would be be great. Thanks again.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:42 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 27,186,986 times
Reputation: 6317
I've traveled extensively and lived in several states. And I've been fooled by eye candy, too. For me the most valuable resources are local newspapers, local yellow pages in the phone books and grocery stores., followed by driving through neighborhoods 1 to 2 blocks from a major street.

What you see two blocks away will tell you a great deal. Walk around inside the mall. Which national stores are the anchor stores? If you want something to compare it too look at the website of the Mall in Schaumburg, IL. This has little to do with size, but rather the types of stores and shopping available. Schaumburg Mall is so large it has a hotel and shuttle nearby.

Do look at Peru. What you do not find in one, you may find in the other. These towns are not that far apart.
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