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Old 01-31-2017, 09:20 AM
 
2 posts, read 1,026 times
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Considering a role with ISU and trying to decide where the best place would be for our family. We have one son, just over one year old, and ideally will have another child in the next year or two. We have majority lived in Iowa City and North Liberty and loved it there. Due to some career shifting, we may end up in the Ames/Des Moines part of the state. We are both young professionals and have enjoyed North Liberty being demographically similar to us (young professionals with kids).

We would like to have something similar to what we had in North Liberty: young neighborhoods with good housing and close proximity to shopping (Coralville) and some downtown culture (Iowa City). I have heard that Ames is not quite the same 'vibe' as Iowa City although a college town. I'm curious how Des Moines compares (while living in Ankeny) compares to just living in Ames.

Assuming the commute isn't a big deal, which combo would you choose if moving to the area?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
3,764 posts, read 3,833,567 times
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Move to Ankeny if you can afford it. The schools are great, and it's a family friendly town. You'll have easy access to Des Moines for the Jordan Creek Mall (and a mall will be built in Ankeny before long), plus you can take the kids to Blank Park Zoo and such.

You might like parts of Ames, but most of the shopping is in Ankeny and Des Moines.

There might be a few days where you might have to stay home or get a motel room in Ames. They do shut down I-35 when conditions warrant. It doesn't happen regularly, but that's just something to be aware it. I wouldn't let that stop you from living in Ankeny and commuting.
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Old 01-31-2017, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,381 posts, read 3,144,353 times
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I've lived in Ames (went to ISU) and now live in Des Moines. I'd much, much prefer living in Des Moines metro (for some of same reasons you list) , but would never consider living here if working in Ames. My reasons (warning: I paint with a broad brush here, but I think it works fine to make my larger point) :

* life is too short, kids grow up too fast. I want to be 15 minutes from home...especially while they are young. Not 45 mins. This lost time not only adds up in a year, but their lifetimes while still living at home. You can't get that back. Also, you miss the chance to pop into daycare or school to watch an afternoon program and then return to work....or catch a late afternoon gymnastics event or soccer game, etc. etc. IMO, you unnecessarily over complicate your family life in order to be closer to more cool restaurants to eat at....which most of those aren't exactly kid-friendly anyway.
* generally you can make stronger connections with neighborhood if you living there, working there, and kids all going to same school.
* Des Moines isn't that far away for major shopping trips.
* Ames just was named #1 school district in Iowa. https://k12.niche.com/rankings/publi...verall/s/iowa/
*weather will cause you to miss work or get stuck at work. You know that would be unfortunate for your family if you can't make it home sometime. Will it put you at a competitive disadvantage with your co-workers who live in Ames and can always be counted on to get there?
* For "cool factor" Ames beats Ankeny hands down. Ankeny is nice, but it is anytown USA. Big box stores and chain restaurants....a lot lot of identical looking houses and neighborhoods. It has (relatively speaking) a lot of affordable housing and good school and thus it is a fit for many working in the metro that are OK with suburban living (or even want that). But they are living there because work is close.

You are correct, Ames is not as urban as Iowa City but they are trying to do some things with their downtown. That said, is is a nice, safe, city and does offer culture and other amenities that punch above its weight (since it is a college town of a 30K university population.

On the plus side, I-35 between Ankeny and Ames is being converted to 3 lanes each way. On the downside, they have barely started this project so it will be a few years out that you'd benefit from the extra lane and in the meantime, you'll be dealing with the headaches of the construction.

At the very least, I'd highly suggest you try Ames first....especially while the kid(s) are young and if you just feel it cramps your style too much (I would wager that won't be the case), then move to Ankeny at that point.

Last edited by capitalcityguy; 01-31-2017 at 11:03 PM..
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