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Old 02-23-2012, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL- For NOW
704 posts, read 657,550 times
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Honest opinions on KC area as a whole? Please dont tell me you love it just because you may be stuck there, tell me the truth please!!!!

So my wife is interviewing for a job within her company today in Kansas City that she has a very excellent chanve of being selcted for. Not looking for ideas where to live, or what to do for schooling,just looking for peoples honest feelings on KC. We are currently living in Washington DC and are torn with the idea of leaving for a more simple life or sticking it out here and dealing with the bad to get the good sort to speak.

We are both originally from Minnesota and Wisconsin (born and raised). We left there in 2006 and have been moving around a bit to places like Dallas, Charlotte NC and Washington DC trying to see what we like and where we could live. We have loved the south. We love everything about Charlotte NC, we Loved living in Texas and DC is O.k.

Let me say this, We are a young family in our early thirties with two boys, 12 and 7, and we want nothing more than to provide them a quality life similar to what we had growing up. With that said, we would also like to install culture and diversity into them, Something that maybe we lacked a bit growing up. We want to own a nice larger home ona culdesac, let the boys ride their bikes with friends, throw the ball around, let the dog run in the yard and spend the weekends at a lake. We really are simple people, but we have been spoiled with conveniences living in big cities. We also enjoy pro sports, museums, festivals, fairs, concerts etc. Most of all we want to stop moving until they are out of school, just worried that we wont like KC.

Would we be happy if we did move to Kansas City Area?
I used to work in management with Hy-Vee and have actually worked in some of the stores in the area and am a bit familiar with the Overland Park Area, and that is probably where we would end up living, but Iwould be very interested to know what peoples thoughts are on KC that can offer a non bias opinion or maybe from people that dont just want to defend it. I realize it isnt paradise, but is there agood life to be had there?
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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If you like Charlotte and Dallas and DC is okay, then why would you not like KC? There is not that much of a difference. It's a big city that offers just about everything you could want (more than Charlotte, less than DC, surprisingly about the same as Dallas IMO). While there might be less to do in KC than DC, it's so much easier to take advantage of the things to do in KC than DC on a regular basic, especially if you have a family and don't live smack dab in the middle of the city. It can be a PITA just to go to a ballgame, concert etc in DC compared to easy to get around KC. KC has PLENTY of culture, arts, concerts, sports, museums, casinos, festivals, amusement parks etc.

I live in the DC area now and while I really like it, I would move back to KC. I guess I don't understand why you think you wouldn't like it. The only reason I don't like KC is its location. It's in the middle of nowhere smack on the state line of two very conservative midwest states. Missouri is more liberal because of KC and St Louis, but the state seems like the rural and suburban politicians run the state. I LOVE how the mountains, the beach, and a half dozen big cities are just hours away from our house here. Not to mention we are ten minutes from the bay and 25 minutes from Downtown DC and Downtown Baltimore and we are living in one of the most interesting and charming small cities in the nation IMO (annapolis).

The other thing I don't like about KC is it's lack of urban recreation. It seems like every city out there (larger and smaller than kc) has so many more vibrant urban parks, greenways etc and more people out biking, running etc. While KC has a ton of parkland, it's all so under utilized and generally ignored by the masses compared to most cities.

But KC as a city is really a decent place that generally seems to have more to do and more culture than most cities its size and even many much larger cities. And while KC might be in the middle of nowhere, the entire country is more accessible. You can easily fly or drive to Canada, West Coast, East Coast, Gulf etc. So while nothing is really close, everything is at least more accessible (I'm still not used to 3-6 hour flights out of DC). You would probably like the KC area.

Last edited by kcmo; 02-23-2012 at 08:08 AM..
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:44 AM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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KC is a pretty hassle free place to live with more big city amenities than might be expected for a metro of 2M people. I can live anywhere (and telecommute around the country once in a while) yet prefer the balance of KC livability and amenities.

KC is part old school industrial (though not as much as rest of Midwest) and part New Economy city. It's fairly strong as a tech town (Sprint, Garmin, Cerner, lots of Android developers) but not to the degree of DC. The arts are surprisingly strong here, especially theatre, dance and Xroads district is one of largest arts districts in US. The new Performing Arts Center is probably tops at the moment. There's quite a bit of sports too (NFL, MLB, MLS, Nascar and plenty of sub-pro league sports).

Overland Park area (aka JoCo - Johnson County) is pretty United States of Generica cookie cutter suburbs but is where highly educated tend to look first, is higher income for the most part and has more higher end retail than most other parts of KC metro. Think Orange County LA, Plano TX, Naperville IL, Charlotte, nicer burbs of MSP area. If you like those areas, JoCo is probably for you.

KC has some less generica suburbia areas like Parkville and Riverside on MO side. Quaint river towns along bluffs and less cookie cutter. Just 10-15 minutes from downtown. Brookside tends to appeal more to those who want older established hoods with neighborhood shops.

Some of KC's weakest points are sprawl, poor transit (city core is passable but metro wide is dismal), awkward airport design and crime on the E Side, which I'm sure plenty here will dwell on.

It depends on expectations. Some want KC to be a bigger city than it is and are disappointed. Others are surprised what KC has to offer for its size. One thing that separates KC from most of the Midwest is that a higher % of people who move here tend to stay here. KC, MSP, Indy and Columbus are the only Midwest larger metros where there are more people moving in than moving out - but doesn't have borderline unmanageable growth like the South. KC actually has slightly higher net in-migration than MSP lately. Frankly, I think KC has more depth than Charlotte, Dallas or most of the South in general. MO and KS outside the cities lean mainstream conservative (with some radicals) but not nearly to the degree as the South.

Last edited by xenokc; 02-23-2012 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:01 PM
 
266 posts, read 472,871 times
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I'd try Dallas. It's growing faster and has more to do. KC may have a good set of cultural amenities, but everything really is bigger and more comprehensive in Texas. And, the lakes are actually IN the area, whereas ours are rather out of the way, and certainly not close to Overland Park. You like pro sports? Last time I checked DFW has at least one of each major sport. KC has Chiefs and Royals, both haven't been doing so well... If you're looking for diversity, when I went there, I was shocked at how diverse everything was there. Minorities and white people actually seem to get along there, whereas KC is a lot more segregated. The only thing really segregated I found was myself being the only white person at an all Asian strip mall in Plano!

That said, KC area is certainly fine. To have that quality life where your kids can play safely on a good sized lot, Overland Park, Lee's Summit, and other suburbs are a good idea. To really be close to the culture, you'll want to look in OP north of 435, Prairie Village, northern Leawood, the areas in Shawnee Mission. I wouldn't however give up the KC job to flee to Dallas if you don't have a job lined up there (if you were single, that might be a different story :0).

HyVee the store itself is pretty good overall.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:09 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 35,848,534 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtloucks View Post
Honest opinions on KC area as a whole? Please dont tell me you love it just because you may be stuck there, tell me the truth please!!!!

So my wife is interviewing for a job within her company today in Kansas City that she has a very excellent chanve of being selcted for. Not looking for ideas where to live, or what to do for schooling,just looking for peoples honest feelings on KC. We are currently living in Washington DC and are torn with the idea of leaving for a more simple life or sticking it out here and dealing with the bad to get the good sort to speak.

We are both originally from Minnesota and Wisconsin (born and raised). We left there in 2006 and have been moving around a bit to places like Dallas, Charlotte NC and Washington DC trying to see what we like and where we could live. We have loved the south. We love everything about Charlotte NC, we Loved living in Texas and DC is O.k.

Let me say this, We are a young family in our early thirties with two boys, 12 and 7, and we want nothing more than to provide them a quality life similar to what we had growing up. With that said, we would also like to install culture and diversity into them, Something that maybe we lacked a bit growing up. We want to own a nice larger home ona culdesac, let the boys ride their bikes with friends, throw the ball around, let the dog run in the yard and spend the weekends at a lake. We really are simple people, but we have been spoiled with conveniences living in big cities. We also enjoy pro sports, museums, festivals, fairs, concerts etc. Most of all we want to stop moving until they are out of school, just worried that we wont like KC.

Would we be happy if we did move to Kansas City Area?
I used to work in management with Hy-Vee and have actually worked in some of the stores in the area and am a bit familiar with the Overland Park Area, and that is probably where we would end up living, but Iwould be very interested to know what peoples thoughts are on KC that can offer a non bias opinion or maybe from people that dont just want to defend it. I realize it isnt paradise, but is there agood life to be had there?

Absolutely.

There are plenty of games & parks programs as well as "league" youth sports. Cultural opportunities in regard to the arts (both fine & performing) abound in Kansas City, MO. Concert opportunities, professional & college sports, are plentiful on both sides of the state line. Cultural diversity is available and becomes what you choose to make of it by not sticking to the OP suburbs alone but getting to activities in downtown & midtown KCMO.

Lake opportunities: Longview, Shawnee Mission, Lake Shawnee, Clinton Lake, Perry, Hillsdale, Pomona, Truman Reservoir, Lake of the Ozarks, etc..... .


Unbiased opinion, well, as a 4th generation lifer, probably not. However, a cousin and his wife pretty much meet your description of you and your family. They chose to come to KC to raise their children for all the things you say you seek for your family.

Last edited by lifelongMOgal; 02-23-2012 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,346,783 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtloucks View Post
Honest opinions on KC area as a whole? Please dont tell me you love it just because you may be stuck there, tell me the truth please!!!!
I don't love it because I'm stuck here, and I'm not a homer. I moved here willingly five years ago. I have perspective as a transplant who has lived rurally and in urban and suburban areas elsewhere, and have no "I was raised here" bias. My significant other is also a transplant (he from the east coast, I'm a native Illinoisan who has also lived in Minnesota, so I have no midwest culture shock). We are early thirties. We like it enough that we bought a home here.

The cost of living is great for the size of the city, and the size of the city is great for the cost of living. The cultural amenities are quite impressive, given the size of the city, especially for people interested in the arts (SO and I are both musicians, although we have other day professions). Strong civic arts community, great museums, greenspace is vast (and I don't ignore it, I use it, and gladly), professional sports are accessible and fun, people are nice and down to earth, for the most part. Festivals, fairs, and civic activities are abundant. There is always something going on, usually family-friendly.

The only significant downside, for me, is the quality of public schooling in parts of Kansas City... I don't have children (but I work in education). Since you would likely be living in a suburban district, I wouldn't sweat that point, as the suburban districts are largely considered to be of high quality. I would say that as long as your kids aren't stuck with the KCMO school district, this is the sort of city/metro where a family can live a quality life. I certainly would feel positively about raising a family here, myself.
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL- For NOW
704 posts, read 657,550 times
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This is all great response. Thank you all for taking the time to write so much quality. My wife got home tonight very please with her experience there today. She had nothing but good things to say about downtown, how now the people were, how comfy she felt going out an about. It all lines up with what you all say on here. I guess we will find out our options early next week.

For the record, it's not that I don't think I'll like it. I just don't know if I will, that's why I was asking all of this. I don't have enough info to form an opinion and I have only been there a couple of times but didn't get to experience the fun. I did a lot of research today and never realized how many things there are to do there and the comment above about the accessibility to things beinguch better than DC makes a lot of sense. You all are very kind and helpful for taking time out of your day to write to me on this so again thank you.

Are there and traffic concerns there going into downtown KC comparable to Dallas or DC?
What kind of summer and winter weather does KC get? Similar to to DC, Minnesota ?
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Old 02-23-2012, 07:59 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtloucks View Post
Are there and traffic concerns there going into downtown KC comparable to Dallas or DC?
What kind of summer and winter weather does KC get? Similar to to DC, Minnesota ?
No traffic in KC. None. You might hit the brakes on the freeways and be delayed five minutes during rush hour and congestion on the urban surface streets is pretty much non-existent.

Weather is about the same as DC, but KC will get some more intense thunderstorms in the spring and it seems to get a little hotter in the summer.

I don’t know what part of DC you live in. If you tell me or tell me what parts of DC you like I can compare for you. Parts of Johnson County are sort of like NoVA (tysons corner), Other parts like Olathe are more like Manassas, only Manassas has a neat downtown, Olathe's is run down. Lee’s Summit and eastern Jackson County is sort of like Anne Arundel County (Serverna Park etc). The Plaza is sort of like Downtown Silver Spring, Rockville or Bethesda. Central KCMO is sort of like Baltimore City. The Northland is sort of like upper Montgomery County. KCK is weird and I don’t even know what to compare it to, maybe PG County, but not really.

Last edited by kcmo; 02-23-2012 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,346,783 times
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Traffic is nothing. Seriously, nothing. You can get most places you need to be in reasonable time with or without utilizing the freeways, and even during rush, the stop and go is minimal to nonexistent. I work right at one of the busiest highway interchanges in the metro (near Cerner's south campus), and I really never have a problem getting to or from work, unless there is wreck or something.

Weather in Kansas City is a walk in the park compared to winters in Wisconsin and Minnesota, speaking from years of experience. The worst winter I have had in Kansas City so far (last winter) wasn't as bad as the mildest winter I experienced in Minnesota. Summer is humid, but not unbearably so. People will talk about storms, tornados, etc., but I went through an F5 tornado in Minnesota, and have yet to experience anything close here on the MO/KS border.
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Old 02-23-2012, 10:01 PM
 
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I think you guys would like the burbs of KC just fine. Cheap to live in KC compared to most areas of it's size. Major sports teams, Nascar track, growing arts developments and close to outdoor rec (lakes and hunting).
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