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Old 05-29-2008, 03:33 PM
 
1 posts, read 18,601 times
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Hello,

My family and I (2 young children) will be soon moving to the South Bend area (from Ohio). We do not know much about this area except what I have researched online. Seems to be that the city of Granger is the nicest place and best school district.

Any thoughts on good areas/neighborhoods?

Also, are there any houses/condos to rent first before we decide to buy?

Any advice would be much appreciated!!!
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:14 PM
 
36 posts, read 46,930 times
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Hello there
Yes, you are correct, Granger is 110% better, safer, etc. than South Bend. As you have probably noticed, South Bend's crime is bad, and it's not getting better, at all. It's dangerous, dirty, and overall just not really a pleasant place to be. I would definitely recommend living in Granger or at least Mishawaka. I don't know too much about the schools systems in SB, but I have heard that the Penn school district is probably the best. The S, W, and some of the E sections of SB are mostly pretty rough. If you stay near UP Mall, or Notre Dame you should be fine. The area where Scottsdale Mall use to be is getting very popular (it's almost like a little Mishawaka), but the surrounding areas are scary. Also, areas near IUSB are mostly run down. If you don't mind a 30-40 minute drive, New Carlisle and La Porte might suite you nicely. La Porte School Corporation is a lot better than New Prairie (new carlisle), but they are both nice. New Carlisle only has 1k people, but it has that small town feel. La Porte has around 20k and has a lot of stores and shops, not to mention it's close to the bigger shopping stores in Michigan City, South Bend, Mishawaka, and even Hobart. If you have any more questions, send me a DM and I'll answer them

p.s. I'm from South Bend
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:38 AM
 
Location: Mishawaka, IN
855 posts, read 2,124,404 times
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Bucknerck, there's a thread just a few lines down about someone moving to this area from the Detroit suburbs. I live in Mishawaka myself and am quite happy here. As far as South Bend goes, most of the crime and nastiness is in the west side although there is something of a trickle down effect towards the east. South Bend has it's good spots and bad spots like any city its size. As bad as it seems to the people who have seen it get worse over the years, it's nowhere near as bad as some places I've been around. I suppose it depends on your perspective.

In the end, it depends on your means and what fits you best. Families in Granger tend towards upper middle class, in Mishawaka lower middle/middle class, South Bend is similiar to Mishawaka in that regard with more people in the lower income ranges. Mishawaka is half the size of South Bend population-wise so that factors in. Incomes are more consistent in Mishawaka, while there is a broader range in South Bend.

Property taxes tend to be higher in Granger if that's a consideration. South Bend/Mishawaka probably has more houses to rent than Granger although I'm not 100% certain. Condos aren't as readily available in Mishawaka. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are North Douglas. No one in our family has ever been in the market for one so my knowledge is limited in that regard.

Schools, I would rank Granger, Mishawaka, South Bend. Penn HS in Mishawaka is a good one but has a pretty good size enrollment.(~3,000 students)

If you like to be away from the hustle and bustle, either Granger or Mishawaka would be the best choices, hands down. Again, it would depend on what you can afford.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:33 PM
 
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We moved to Michiana from the West Coast in August. Check out Penn Schools - http://www.phm.k12.in.us/; (broken link) Bridges Preschool - http://www.bridges-school.com/index.html; (broken link) St. Pius X School - http://www.stpius.net/; (broken link) and the Harris Branch Library - Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library. Many of the Knollwood subdivisions are in Penn boundaries. Look at Great Schools for stats - Greatschools.net Search: Granger. We've had a good first year in one of the schools ranked 10. The Knollwood and surrounding area homes range from modest to a handful of McMansions. Double check with the schools on the address you are interested in - also pay attention to the taxes as they VARY GREATLY. The Penn offices are open for the first week in June and then close down until the first week in August. School starts August 13. Hopefully you can find a good fit for you family. Good Luck!
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:54 PM
 
8 posts, read 72,165 times
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Default South Bend is ok

I live in the city of South Bend and have friends who live in Knollwood and other Granger area developments. If you live up there you basically are living on the state-line with Michigan. Prepare to drive everywhere and prepare to have your kids drive everywhere. If you have a dog you will walk it in the road and if your kids have bikes they will have to ride in the road (but only in the subdivision because the outside roads are horrible for biking). Snow removal here is horrible so get an AWD car. Anything from Ironwood to Bittersweet and North of the toll road is a good bet if you want a great home on a good bit of land in what are sometimes nice rolling hills developments.

If you are moving from one isolated suburban development to another Knollwood CC is a bargain - you can get a great house for $200-300K that would sell for $700K in many other places if not more. The course has nice rolling hills and there are dozens of places for sale there and in nearby developments. It is a buyers market and some of these homes have been on the market for two years. You can offer much less than they are asking! If they are asking $250 find out if it was on the market last year. You might be able to get them down to $200. Houses here are almost never a good investment, but Granger and those areas around it that are in South Bend are somewhat better. There are better deals outside the CC, and some real Mega-homes as well. There are new homes going up also. I have friends trying to sell and the market is horrible right now - so make aggressive offers!

Now, you might be able to tell I am a city person, but Toscana Park in Granger is making that area less of a snooze. It is a bit "cheesy" but a good sign:

http://www.toscana-park.com/

I am single so I find that whole area boring and isolated and without sidewalks there seems no real "community" unless you are a member of one of the mega-churches.

In South Bend proper there are good areas in Sunnymede south of the Notre Dame Campus, Harter Heights, North Shore Triangle, and Wooded Acres near ND. Most of these people are upper middle class and send the kids to Catholic schools (or the baccalaureate program at Adams HS), but you can go for a bike ride with the kids and on a summer day ride down to the few coffee shops, and cafes that have opened in our downtown. If you like old historic homes there is the Chapin Park area (like any urban area it has problems but it also has a strong neighborhood community group). Crime is not that bad at all in South Bend and most is clustered in a small neighborhood West of the downtown.

The downtown might have been nicer by now. There were supposed to be 2-3 new condominium developments in downtown but they all went out of business. Local developers here are pretty dumb and they were asking $180-600K for condos in an underdeveloped downtown - those are Chicago prices. The target market was the rich ND Alumni coming for "football" weekends. You don't get rich by buying $500K condos in a city where you can buy a whole block downtown for that price!

At any rate, the downtown is better as a weekend destination. There is a new jazz club, and 2-3 very good restaurants downtown. The people of this area truly destroyed what was once a great Midwestern downtown.


Good luck!
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Old 05-30-2009, 09:08 AM
 
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Default Many parts of South Bend are just fine

We live in Sunnymede and like it. If you like the burbs and don't like city living then Granger is for you. My kids went to South Bend schools (but all the advance programs.) The Kennedy Academy and the Tarkington Tradition school are great for elementary schooling. LaSalle Academy is wonderful for 5th through 8th grade and Adams is good for high school.

My son goes to Notre Dame, so I guess the South Bend schools didn't harm him any.

Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,990 posts, read 11,196,070 times
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I just moved to the area a month ago (from Three Rivers, Michigan) so I can offer some input.

Overall:
South Bend is an OK city. In my opinion it's not nearly as nice as where I used to live, but it's OK. It strongly reminds me of Dayton, Ohio in it's look, layout, culture, and overall "feel." The crime is not that bad, it's not nearly as bad as what you would see in a city like Detroit or Chicago. The city has several nice areas, mostly north and east of downtown, and near Notre Dame's campus. The economy is doing better than many areas in the Midwest; not great, but OK. The Michiana area has everything you need, and if you want the big city, then Chicago is only an hour away.

Granger:
I'm not a fan of Granger. It's a bland, boring suburb with cookie-cutter McMansions and upper to upper middle-class people. There are tons of subdivisions and a few golf courses and parks. There's not much in the way of business or shopping. It is exactly like any outer-ring suburb in any city in America. In other words, it bores me to death. If you like cookie-cutter suburbs with identical houses in gated subdivisions, then you'll love Granger.

Mishawaka:
Mishawaka is a mostly middle to upper-middle class suburb. The University Park Mall and many other stores are located there, as well as several subdivisions and apartment complexes. It's also a bland suburb, but has more to do than Granger.

Niles:
IMO, Niles is the best part of the South Bend area. It's just over the state line in Michigan, about eight miles from downtown South Bend. Unlike Granger and Mishawaka, it is an actual city with a real community feel, and not just a commuter suburb, although it has become somewhat engulfed in suburban development, especially on the south side of town. Niles has a really nice downtown with great local shops and restaurants. There are also the big box stores and car dealerships along South 11th Street. The city is primarily middle class, with pockets of poor and wealthy. Many people commute to jobs in South Bend or Mishawaka, however, many live and work in Niles. There is little crime in the area.

Other areas:
There are other Michiana cities like Buchanan, MI, Edwardsburg, MI, Cassopolis, MI that may be worth looking into. These are all small towns within close proximity to the South Bend metro area.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:58 PM
 
2,462 posts, read 7,895,081 times
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These are all interesting comments. We moved to Granger from the metro DC area last summer. If you are also coming from a much larger city, you will find that it is possible to live just about anywhere in "Michiana" and have a tolerable commute. Your housing choices will be driven by your budget and whether you're looking for city, suburban, or rural living. The South Bend schools are pretty awful by most national standards, but many families in the South Bend district choose to send their kids to private schools.
I would take issue with the comment that a four wheel drive vehicle is necessary. We did just fine with our minivan, even though our own street seemed to be one of the last to be plowed after every snowstorm. There are virtually no real hills here, which helps tremendously.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:44 AM
 
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Our family moved to South Bend this past summer, and we are loving it. We live in the Sunnymede neighborhood where our neighbors literally came over to our yard those first few weeks to greet us and offer to help with getting us settled in (nice older people, young families, high school and university employees, city employees...just regular middle-class people, a bit more highly educated than average). We quickly had babysitters, yard help, playdates, potlucks, and a neighborhood yard sale to think about. This established area is full of cute, tidy homes, mostly 3-4 bedooms, with (mostly small) neat yards that are FULL of flowers and pretty landscaping details in the summertime. Adams High school is nearby, and we are easy walking distance to the Farmer's Market (amazing variety and excellent, Midwest prices) and to Potawatomi Zoo and park, along with an interesting variety of independent businesses. (We can reach the big boxes quickly if necessary, but we don't have to go out that way all that much because so many independent businesses are still vital in South Bend.) We chose the neighborhood because it has sidewalks, quiet streets, lots of kids, and enough variety and closeness to the downtown area that we can enjoy the perks of a little city (great restaurants if you look for them, modest but interesting museums and theatre, great libraries) as well as of course the closeness to Notre Dame, where we both work. We would not like to live in Granger because we try to ride our bikes and walk as much as possible, and we have the clear sense that all around us our neighbors choose to live here for similar reasons: they value the city. By the way, downtown is absolutely beautiful in many parts--the bridges over the river, greenspaces, and early 20th-C parks and architecture are lovely. I agree that South Bend has poverty and interracial tensions to contend with, but these do not compare to major cities or their terribly depressed outlying areas (in California or the DC area for example). Our children's school (an affordable private school, not a public school though I've heard great things about Adams and about the magnet schools) is within walking distance, and it's nicely diverse, nicely progressive, and offering excellent guidance in both intellectual and moral virtues. In brief: Be happy you're moving here! There is so much great stuff going on! Do a lot of looking before you believe that the only nice place in the area--or even necessarily the nicest places--are outside of town.
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Old 09-23-2009, 07:43 AM
 
5,703 posts, read 15,481,614 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps View Post
Our family moved to South Bend this past summer, and we are loving it. We live in the Sunnymede neighborhood where our neighbors literally came over to our yard those first few weeks to greet us and offer to help with getting us settled in (nice older people, young families, high school and university employees, city employees...just regular middle-class people, a bit more highly educated than average). We quickly had babysitters, yard help, playdates, potlucks, and a neighborhood yard sale to think about. This established area is full of cute, tidy homes, mostly 3-4 bedooms, with (mostly small) neat yards that are FULL of flowers and pretty landscaping details in the summertime. Adams High school is nearby, and we are easy walking distance to the Farmer's Market (amazing variety and excellent, Midwest prices) and to Potawatomi Zoo and park, along with an interesting variety of independent businesses. (We can reach the big boxes quickly if necessary, but we don't have to go out that way all that much because so many independent businesses are still vital in South Bend.) We chose the neighborhood because it has sidewalks, quiet streets, lots of kids, and enough variety and closeness to the downtown area that we can enjoy the perks of a little city (great restaurants if you look for them, modest but interesting museums and theatre, great libraries) as well as of course the closeness to Notre Dame, where we both work. We would not like to live in Granger because we try to ride our bikes and walk as much as possible, and we have the clear sense that all around us our neighbors choose to live here for similar reasons: they value the city. By the way, downtown is absolutely beautiful in many parts--the bridges over the river, greenspaces, and early 20th-C parks and architecture are lovely. I agree that South Bend has poverty and interracial tensions to contend with, but these do not compare to major cities or their terribly depressed outlying areas (in California or the DC area for example). Our children's school (an affordable private school, not a public school though I've heard great things about Adams and about the magnet schools) is within walking distance, and it's nicely diverse, nicely progressive, and offering excellent guidance in both intellectual and moral virtues. In brief: Be happy you're moving here! There is so much great stuff going on! Do a lot of looking before you believe that the only nice place in the area--or even necessarily the nicest places--are outside of town.
SunnyMede is adorable.
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