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Old 01-18-2014, 05:07 AM
 
22 posts, read 19,170 times
Reputation: 23

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Good morning! We are looking at a possible relocation to the Cedar Rapids area (office would be in NE CR) from central Virginia. We have a 7 year old, so schools will be a huge consideration. We are open to living anywhere within a 30-minute or so commute of the office. Now, my questions:

1 - Schools

We're coming from a school district with lots of opportunities for college bound kids - a wide selection of AP classes, a wide selection of world language (and starting in elementary school), dual enrollment for credit at local community colleges, Governor's schools for selected teens from a regional area, etc, gifted programs within schools and within clusters of schools, etc. Do any CR-area districts have some or all of these programs? If so, which ones? If not, do any have any similar programs? We're open to private schools, too. (I have checked Great Schools and the Iowa Dept of Education already)

2 - Land use

Are there any areas we should avoid due to proposed or anticipated development i.e., neighborhood looks great, but they are going to put a road/factory/shopping center right next door?

I see there's lots of industry in SW CR - any other areas to avoid industrial stuff/smells/other pollution?

Also, where are the landfills and other waste sites? (We'd like to avoid those as well.)

3 - Okay, now that I've ruled everything out, where do we live?

We have an only child, so we'd like to be in an area with lots of kids...the type of neighborhood where you don't have to call and make playdates, everyone just goes outside and has fun. The closer to the office the better, although like I said a commute of up to 30 minutes will do. I don't work right now, but I have in the past, and I'd like to again soon (I'm in law/accounting), so proximity to work opportunities for me would be good. We'd like to be near "stuff" (groceries/shopping), but don't need to be on top of it. The biggest issues for us really are schools and a nice, clean environment - we love the outdoors and want to enjoy it. Budget is $300k and under.

Thanks so much for your help!
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:34 AM
 
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I moved to CR 20 years ago with 2 kids who were 4 and 6 at the time. We lived in the NE part of town (towards Robins) and the neighborhood was one big playground with families who looked out for each other and had neighborhood parties.

1. Schools: My kids went to school in the CR School District and I was very impressed compared to schools in Southern California where we came from. My kids were in the AP programs, but I don't believe they had dual enrollment for college credits at the time. I'm not familiar with other programs, but there may have been. Both my kids are college graduates, one with an advanced degree, and one whose education was paid for fully by grants and scholarships.

Now, I believe Linn Mar, and especially College Community School district seem to be the top choices in the public school system and have newer neighborhoods with lots of young families. The Catholic private schools are very good, but I feel you can get as good an education in the public schools here.

2. Land use: Aside from the SW industrial area, I think you are pretty safe. I don't know of any planned projects, though you might check further into future development of land fills. I recall one neighborhood opposed a potential land fill and won, but can't remember where that was .

3. Where to live: CR has several nice and newer housing developments throughout the city. I really like the area west of Hiawatha, going west on Blairsferry Road, but then you would be in the CR school district, which is still good, IMO. A very nice shopping area/dining complex is being built on Edgewood Road, near Blairsferry Rd, which will bring more shopping options in that area.

Marion, Robins, or Ely would probably be best to find a nice family-oriented neighborhood with young families.

Best wishes on your move to CR!
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:08 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 52,373,875 times
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I agree with rigizug. I think that Washington is considered the "best" Cedar Rapids district high school but not sure. The Linn-Mar schools are highly regarded as well. Marion would be a good choice, but you would want to be in the newer areas of Marion, some of the older areas are pretty run down-unfortunately. There are a lot of lovely older houses that could be amazing.

I really like the area along Post Rd but probably not what you are looking for-bigger lots, more wooded.

Keep in mind that getting through Cedar Rapids itself can take 30 minutes if you end up on the wrong end of town compared to where you are living. Concentrate on neighborhoods near the office. The Beaver Park area would also be one to consider but you would need to check for kids block by block.

DE classes aren't going to be an issue.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,168 posts, read 3,034,020 times
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As for within the city itself, Golfgal is correct about the Bever Park area in southeast Cedar Rapids being a nice area with a mixture of older & then newer housing the further you head east from there toward the CR city limits. It may not have as many kids as it did when I was more familiar with it though. That area feeds into Washington High school.
Kennedy High School in northeast CR always had a good reputation & was the last of the public school high schools to be added, I believe in the mid to late 1960's.
The west/southwest edge of CR would all feed into Jefferson & there is a fair amount of newer housing going up on those edges of the city. A realtor could advise you perhaps as to where to avoid industrial areas on that side of town.
The College Community District is on the west & southwest outside of as well as partially in the city itself. It is a newer & growing district that is served by Prairie High School.
Linn-Mar has been mentioned & it is a good district that serves suburban Marion to the northeast & is by far the largest suburb.
An earlier post mentioned the area near Blairs Ferry Rd. That area of the city itself is nice & still developing. It is west of Hiawatha & I-380 & would be considered northwest CR. I'm not sure as to which high school that area would feed into.
You didn't tell us where the office will be located but keep in mind that as compared to NOVA, getting around in much smaller CR would be far easier, unless there are winter driving conditions that are bad.
Overall it is a fairly clean metro with relatively little blight & is low in crime as compared to the national average for urban areas.
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Old 01-19-2014, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,981 posts, read 5,452,539 times
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Please see this thread for an actual map of CR neighborhoods under discussion:

Cedar Rapids Neighborhood Maps
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
8 posts, read 27,035 times
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To the OP;

Moved to CR 6 years ago from Maryland for my job. Love my coworkers and my career, but am looking to leave and go back to MD. Schools are excellent and the SW part of town is going to be totally revitalized soon. But it's not Richmond ( or central VA).

Good Luck
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:22 AM
 
22 posts, read 19,170 times
Reputation: 23
Thanks everyone! That's the information I needed. Since hubby's office would be in NE Cedar Rapids, I think we'll look close to there. There seem to be some good areas to consider fairly close by.

GBurgNupe - why are you looking to leave? Just curious.
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