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Old 01-11-2009, 12:03 PM
 
2 posts, read 14,352 times
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My family and I are going to be relocating to the Decatur IL area from Winston Salem, NC. From my understanding the Decatur city limits is not a good area to live. I have two elementary age children and am looking at Mt. Zion. Can anyone give me information on the area? Any other good options? We will be looking to purchase a house. What is the housing market like? Alot of foreclosures? What about family friendly entertainment?

Any information will be helpful. Thanks.
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Old 01-12-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Yorkville, IL
37 posts, read 166,701 times
Reputation: 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by NC2IL View Post
My family and I are going to be relocating to the Decatur IL area from Winston Salem, NC. From my understanding the Decatur city limits is not a good area to live. I have two elementary age children and am looking at Mt. Zion. Can anyone give me information on the area? Any other good options? We will be looking to purchase a house. What is the housing market like? Alot of foreclosures? What about family friendly entertainment?

Any information will be helpful. Thanks.
I grew up in Decatur/Mt.Zion most of my life. Whatever you do, do not move into Decatur as it's not that great of a place, and you'll subject your kids to go to school with all the other kids whose parents couldn't afford to move out to the outlaying towns - in Decatur, for the most part (and yes, I understand I am generalizing but I grew up there and that's exactly how it is) if your are middle class or higher, you end up moving to the outskirts so your kids can go to one of the surrounding towns schools (or you send them to St. Theresa).

Personally, I feel Mt. Zion is one of the best in the area all around for academics, family friendly neighborhoods, low crime, school sports & extra-curricular programs. Mt. Zion was, and probably still is mostly middle to upper-middle class white families, so take that for what you will.

Mt. Zion has a "reputation" amongst the other area schools of being the "preppy" school, and of being "better than" everyone else, and the school can be quite clichy - but what high school isn't. It's a very competitive school when it comes to sports and things like academic teams such as math team, etc... and things like show choir (it's pretty big there), and there's alot of school spirit in the town. The teachers are excellent, and the administration cares about their kids.

Other area schools/towns that are also decent are: Meridian, Cerro Gordo, Maroa-Forsyth, Warrensburg/Latham.

Decatur is a mostly blue collar town, that is dying.... it keeps getting smaller. Factories close or reduce in size, people move away because the quality of life just isn't that great there. I believe at one point in the 90s it was rated the worst city to live in in America, but at that point in time almost all the major factories were on strike and there were some mild gang issues.

I felt safe in town, but it's pretty much a run down city, and I don't think I'd ever swim in Lake Decatur ever again, as it's pretty dirty.

There is a nice nature conservation south of town in an area called "South Shores" that has some nice trails to walk on.

I now live up in the Chicago Burbs and you couldn't pay me to move back "home" ... Mt.Zion is best of the area surrounding Decatur. Bloomington-Normal area about 45 minutes/an hour to the North is a favorite area of mine as well when it comes to Central IL.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:34 PM
 
10 posts, read 37,224 times
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I live 40 miles down the road in Springfield, and visit Decatur on occasion. I would not move my school age children to Decatur. But there are lots of small farming towns surrounding Decatur with Interstate 72 access. Decatur has an odor of all it's own, partly from the ADM plant, and partly from A E Staleys. Smells like burnt potatoes. You smell it once and you'll never forget the smell. I would NEVER move from North Carolina to Decatur, but good luck.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:57 PM
 
4 posts, read 24,998 times
Reputation: 11
I went to school at Millikin there, and most students did not go far from campus, I know many "townies" as well and drugs are big in the city. If you go on the west side of town (west of Millikin) there are some nice neighborhoods, but I would go with Mt. Zion if you can. I've been to both school districts (I was an ed major) and Mt. Zion is much nicer in terms of facilities and opportunity...good luck in your search!
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Maxwell
2 posts, read 17,147 times
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It doesn't matter where you live around Decatur, you can still get robbed. Decatur is a p.o.s. and it's slowly infecting the outlying towns. Don't let anyone kid you, there are drugs and crime all over Mt. Zion as well as Forsyth, Maroa, Clinton, Blue Mound, Harristown, Long Creek, etc. etc.
As a former resident of more years than I wish to account for, I advise you to lock your doors at night, lock your car(s) at all times, make sure to check the sex offender registry wherever you move, and trust no one on the street.

If I was a parent and still living in the area, I'd look into the private schools.
[URL="http://www.lsadecatur.net"]Lutheran School Association[/URL]
[URL="http://www.stpatricks.pvt.k12.il.us/"]St. Patrick School[/URL]
French Academy | About Our School (http://www.dps61.org/155220111915345923/site/default.asp - broken link) [Mary French Academy. Technically a public school but ran like a private school]

Last edited by MrsKing; 01-30-2009 at 08:50 AM.. Reason: cuz I suck at HTML early in the morning
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:55 PM
 
610 posts, read 2,332,165 times
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I'm sorry that I'm not going to be able to offer any positive advice. My husband's extended family are all in that area (all born and raised) and I just could not put my family there. With 6 of his family members teachers in/around Decatur I've heard more stories than I can stomach. If there is any possible way to live outside of Decatur I would try. If the commute to Bloomington is possible that is the route I'd take. I know there are lots of people who say it is not *that* bad but I personally would not live there.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:58 PM
 
610 posts, read 2,332,165 times
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You asked about the housing market. Prices are very affordable and there is a lot of inventory. Don't expect to make much money though. In a "hot" market my inlaws sold their home of 30 years and sold it for 12k more than they paid for it. I was shocked!!! It was a really nice house and they had maintained it well over the years redoing the kitchen, baths, etc...
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Old 01-31-2009, 03:45 PM
 
367 posts, read 990,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driven4agoodlife View Post
...
Other area schools/towns that are also decent are: Meridian, Cerro Gordo, Maroa-Forsyth, Warrensburg/Latham.
...
Agree that Decatur is not a place I'd like to live. Above all else, it is just "ugly". Just about every street you drive down you can see the poverty and neglect of a town that has had it rough for a long time now.

If you don't mind the commute, I would add Monticello, IL to the list. It's around a 30 min drive on wide-open I-72. A lot of U of I profs and other professionals from Champaign commute from there. It's bigger than a lot of the other towns mentioned (except Mt. Zion), if that's important to you...although it's still a fairly small town. Schools are very good as far as I know. Above all, it is more affluent than the other small, agricultural-oriented towns mentioned (except never been to Mt. Zion). Downtown is cute, nice outdoor recreational stuff in the surrounding area. Above all, my vibe visiting there is it looks pleasant. If the OP is still reading, you might want to drive through there too.
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Old 01-31-2009, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 82,754,694 times
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Monticello's downtown could use a brewpub. And I'm still irked that Sun Singer moved to Champaign but I understand they just couldn't do what they're doing now in Monticello.
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Old 04-18-2009, 01:18 PM
 
4 posts, read 22,047 times
Reputation: 15
I live in Decatur. I have lived in Decatur for 56 years.I enjoy life in Decatur. I wake up in the morning to the birds singing, not caughing as some indicate..I have never been robbed or raped, beat up or knocked down, Embezzled or bamboozeled..Our city is no differant than any other american city..If you are a fool , you will meet a lot of fools around here..If you are a good citizen, you will find a lot of good citizens here too. Decatur, like all other American city, has great suburbs, some with good schools, some with bad schools..Anyone would be a fool to live in a city 50 miles away from where they work and make that commute..Decatur has wonderful churches of all denominations, Christian schools and public schools, some good and some bad..Richland Comm College and Millikin U...The realestate prices are lower and the taxes average..Decatur has a City Manager form of government that works very well..We have all kinds here. It is all in what you are looking for..We can give you a trailer or a million dollar home and everything in between..Try us, You will like us...
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