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Old 07-29-2007, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Madison, Alabama
129 posts, read 282,778 times
Reputation: 41

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I am hoping this will help us out in our decision. This is a great site!

My husband and I will be moving from Germany (he's in the Air Force) back to the states in February of 2008. We're trying to decide where we'll live. He'll be joing either the Reserves or the Air National Guard, and so right now, our choices are Jacksonville, Florida or Greeley, Colorado. I'm from Phoenix and he's from MA so we don't know anything about either of these places. If I could get some help, we'd really appreciate it.

First off, we're going to be living in an apartment for the first year or two, and I've found some really great, big apartments with all the extras that we'll be able to afford. I'm a bartender/server and my husband will probably be looking at some type of mangerial position for full time work. Will be able to afford living here? I made a ton of money serving/bartending in Phoenix, but I don't know how it is over in either of those cities, so if there are any bartenders out there, please tell me how you're doing, and I'll love you forever! I'll also be going to school, so a decent community college must be nearby. And our son is going to be in 5th grade, so we also want to find a community with a great school district.

What I'd like to find, ideally, is a community with plenty of Starbucks, grocery stores, gas stations, and shopping all around. Nail salons, movie theaters, tanning beds, malls, bars and restaurants. I would not want to be more than 1 hour away from big-city type culture, like a theater, or ballet, fairs, museums and things like that. An awesome public transit system would be fantastic, but I heard that's wishfull thinking as far as Jacksonville is concerned. If anyone has also lived in Phoenix (Peoria, Glendale or Scottsdale) and could draw some comparisons for me, that would be great too!

Oh, and I have to mention: When I hear things like "Well, there's huntin'!" when asked about fun things to do I want to die. Hunting? They must be joking. So, I'm not much for outdoorsy stuff, it's nice if it's pretty, but I won't be pitching a tent anytime soon, so hunting is not on my list of priorities. I want convenience and options, all in a nice clean city, if at all possible..Please tell me where I might find it around those two cities, and if there's none of that in either city please tell me now so we can look elsewhere!

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 07-29-2007, 03:09 PM
 
Location: FL
2,392 posts, read 3,354,859 times
Reputation: 1232
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanllabean81 View Post
I am hoping this will help us out in our decision. This is a great site!

My husband and I will be moving from Germany (he's in the Air Force) back to the states in February of 2008. We're trying to decide where we'll live. He'll be joing either the Reserves or the Air National Guard, and so right now, our choices are Jacksonville, Florida or Greeley, Colorado. I'm from Phoenix and he's from MA so we don't know anything about either of these places. If I could get some help, we'd really appreciate it.

First off, we're going to be living in an apartment for the first year or two, and I've found some really great, big apartments with all the extras that we'll be able to afford. I'm a bartender/server and my husband will probably be looking at some type of mangerial position for full time work. Will be able to afford living here? I made a ton of money serving/bartending in Phoenix, but I don't know how it is over in either of those cities, so if there are any bartenders out there, please tell me how you're doing, and I'll love you forever! I'll also be going to school, so a decent community college must be nearby. And our son is going to be in 5th grade, so we also want to find a community with a great school district.

What I'd like to find, ideally, is a community with plenty of Starbucks, grocery stores, gas stations, and shopping all around. Nail salons, movie theaters, tanning beds, malls, bars and restaurants. I would not want to be more than 1 hour away from big-city type culture, like a theater, or ballet, fairs, museums and things like that. An awesome public transit system would be fantastic, but I heard that's wishfull thinking as far as Jacksonville is concerned. If anyone has also lived in Phoenix (Peoria, Glendale or Scottsdale) and could draw some comparisons for me, that would be great too!

Oh, and I have to mention: When I hear things like "Well, there's huntin'!" when asked about fun things to do I want to die. Hunting? They must be joking. So, I'm not much for outdoorsy stuff, it's nice if it's pretty, but I won't be pitching a tent anytime soon, so hunting is not on my list of priorities. I want convenience and options, all in a nice clean city, if at all possible..Please tell me where I might find it around those two cities, and if there's none of that in either city please tell me now so we can look elsewhere!

Thanks in advance for your help!
Greeley is way outside of Denver. I lived in Chandler, AZ the last two years and I'm from Jacksonville. I'll say that the Phoenix area is probably more similar to Jacksonville than it is to Denver in some ways. Maricopa County is just as spread out as Duval County. Southside Jax would comparable to Scottsdale. B/c Southside is technically a big area geographically, closer to the beach would be comparable to North Scottsdale in terms of housing. Glendale/Peoria would be comparable to the NW section of Clay County called Oakleaf b/c of the new expensive housing and the land in both areas looks like a moonscape. Everything in Phoenix looks new b/c Phoenix is a new city by East Coast standards so most places on the East Coast aren't going to look as new but you'll find some spots in the city that have that new look.

You can do well bartending in Jax b/c there are plenty of places to do so. If you were in Greeley your commute to bartend in Denver would be really long. There really isn't much of a transit system in Jacksonville outside of the buses but JTA is working on bus lanes and stuff. The type of bus lane things you see in Phoenix.

I'm surprised you said you aren't an outdoors person. I loved hiking South Mountain in Awatukee and going up to Sedona.
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 23,988,604 times
Reputation: 3188
Hi Vanillabean,

I know Boulder and Longmont, but I'm not familiar with Greeley, so I can't do much of a comparison other than to say the mountains are gorgeous in Colorado (I lived out that way a long time ago) !

Based on population alone, I would think you'd have more opportunities in Jax - it is a much bigger city. You also won't have to struggle with winter weather (while pretty, there can be many downsides).

All the types of shopping and services you listed as wants, we have - in large quantities . We have the museums, theaters, etc. as well - mostly located close to, or in, downtown.

We also have 2 large colleges: University of North Florida (UNF) & Florida Community College (FCCJ). Both schools are literally "down the road" from each other and both are located in a section of the city that is near downtown, upscale shopping, and most importantly - the beaches (they're in the Southside/Intracoastal West part of the city).

As for hunting, there is a strong gun culture in Jacksonville. This is the South and guns are easy to aquire, so you need to consider everyone potentially armed. There are plenty of people who have guns strictly for self-defense and hunting is not part of the equation, but there are also plenty of people who hunt animals. It's pretty clear from your post that you're not looking to live in a rural area. In the rural areas, hunting is a more common topic of discussion and it is usually part of the local culture - this is not the case in the more "city" areas of Jax. People in the city generally have guns for self-defense and it's not a topic of discussion in public. These are the broad strokes, of course.

Public transportation? Maybe in another 25 years the city will get it together, but right now, it serves few. You will be dependent on a car here.

I hope that helps. I like both Florida and Colorado and both are on my short lists of states I'd live in........tough choice !
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Old 07-29-2007, 06:28 PM
 
Location: FL
2,392 posts, read 3,354,859 times
Reputation: 1232
Quote:
Originally Posted by riveree View Post
Hi Vanillabean,

As for hunting, there is a strong gun culture in Jacksonville. This is the South and guns are easy to aquire, so you need to consider everyone potentially armed. There are plenty of people who have guns strictly for self-defense and hunting is not part of the equation, but there are also plenty of people who hunt animals. It's pretty clear from your post that you're not looking to live in a rural area.
Everyone seems to be carrying a "heater", "burner", "gat", "strap" nowadays. But lucky for us most people don't want to clap the "hammer" unless it is necessary. When I was in Phoenix the state legislature passed a law allowing people to carry a concealed with into restaurants and stores as long as they had a concealed weapons permit.
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Old 07-30-2007, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Madison, Alabama
129 posts, read 282,778 times
Reputation: 41
Okay, so Southside in Jacksonville is nice? What about the surrounding areas, like Mandarin, and Something Beach, Riverside, Westside, etc? What should I know before apartment hunting about the surrounding areas?
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Old 07-30-2007, 10:36 AM
Jax
 
108 posts, read 430,505 times
Reputation: 45
Know NOT to go to the Northside or Northwest area of Jax. Too much crime, etc. Orange Park (an area in Clay County) is overcongested. Just the other night, I even heard about a bad apartment complex in Southside...sorry, I don't know the name...they're probably not all bad in that area. It was on or near Old Baymeadows Road...roaches, bad neighbors, etc. We're happy down here in St. Johns County in Julington Creek, but it could be a drive depending on work. Mandarin may be OK for renting...not sure. Good luck! If you're into hot summers, give Jax a try...if you enjoy the great outdoors, hiking, whitewater rafting, etc., you may want to reconsider CO. (I was on a Denver kick recently and was hoping we'd move there someday. )
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Old 07-30-2007, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 23,988,604 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by vanllabean81 View Post
Okay, so Southside in Jacksonville is nice? What about the surrounding areas, like Mandarin, and Something Beach, Riverside, Westside, etc? What should I know before apartment hunting about the surrounding areas?
Mandarin is technically part of the Southside. It's as far south as you can go in Southside. Mandarin borders the Duval/St. John's county line.

Mandarin is very nice. It's a fairly quiet, family-frendly area. The bulk of it is middle class neighborhoods, but there are some spots with upscale housing as well. There are apartments to rent, but keep in mind they tend to be older here (a lot of Mandarin was built in the 80's). There is plenty of shopping running right through the center of Mandarin, so you won't be lacking for stores (for upscale, you'd go north to San Marco or northeast to The Saint Johns Town Center). Mandarin is solid "burbs".

Riverside is a neighborhood on the Westside. It is being revitalized, but crime is still an issue (it's not the worst area for crime, but it's far from the best). It has a youthful vibe, there is a section called "Five Points" that's very cool/hip/edgy/whatever-the-kids-say-now . The rentals I've seen here (friends' places) have been pretty rough. If you want something nicer, lean more towards Avondale. If you were buying, it would be different - there are some really nice new condos being built in Riverside - but I'm not aware of them being available as rentals (1661 Riverside is one example). Riverside is "urban".

"Something Beach"?? We have Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach - renting at the beach would be awesome, of course, but it can be prohibitively expensive (if it's cheap, it will probably be nasty).
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Old 07-30-2007, 12:18 PM
 
Location: FL
2,392 posts, read 3,354,859 times
Reputation: 1232
Quote:
Originally Posted by riveree View Post
"Something Beach"??
Riveree! Don't tell me you haven't been to "Something Beach" yet! It's right there next to "I forget the name of that one place".
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Old 07-30-2007, 01:29 PM
 
Location: on an island
13,327 posts, read 30,288,691 times
Reputation: 12689
I always passed through Greeley on the way to Ft Collins.
It is famous for the yucky smell from the feedlots and meatpacking.
("North till you smell it, East till you step in it.")
The smell is not constant, it depends on the wind. The University of Northern Colorado is there.
I've heard Greeley is growing. Or maybe the suburbs from Denver to the south and Ft Collins to the north are encroaching on Greeley, not sure.

Ft Collins, northwest of Greeley, is a very nice university (CSU) town with lots of amenities and culture of its own, but like Greeley, it is still small town life and certainly there is no international airport like Jax.

If you want the big city culture and Starbucks and tanning beds and lots of urban accoutrements, I think you would prefer Jacksonville.
No offense to Greeley folks, but I know I would prefer Jax.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 23,988,604 times
Reputation: 3188
Quote:
Originally Posted by he's so hott View Post
Riveree! Don't tell me you haven't been to "Something Beach" yet! It's right there next to "I forget the name of that one place".
Shhh......I thought we were going to keep Something Beach a secret, He's so hott ?! It's the best beach going !

:
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