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Old 05-19-2008, 06:56 PM
 
6 posts, read 17,357 times
Reputation: 14

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I use to live in Kalamzoo but have not been to the area in several years. My husband and I are considering moving to either Kalamzoo or Northport, MI (near Traverse City) to take part in their college tuition programs for students who attend high school in those cities. While I prefer Kalamazoo for it's educational and cultural opportunities, (as well as the all important job opportunities) and the affordable real estate, my husband prefers the TC area because of the outdoor activities and the small time lifestyle it affords. Which area to you think offers the better lifestyle to raise a family? I see the pros and cons of each and am just wondering what people think of both areas. What is the job situation like in TC, what are the schools like in the area? Any nightlife, theatre, shopping in TC and surrounding areas? What are the schools like in Kzoo? Would you actually want your children to attend their public schools?
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Old 05-21-2008, 10:59 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 2,924,087 times
Reputation: 236
I'd rather live in Traverse City.... but I would get yourselves a job first and then move to whichever place has the job you're seeking.

They're both great places to raise families but I think you'll find more families in Kalamazoo probably... just in general.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:26 PM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,237 posts, read 8,245,696 times
Reputation: 3088
Smile Northport by a nose

Quote:
Which area to you think offers the better lifestyle to raise a family? I see the pros and cons of each and am just wondering what people think of both areas. What is the job situation like in TC, what are the schools like in the area? Any nightlife, theatre, shopping in TC and surrounding areas? What are the schools like in Kzoo? Would you actually want your children to attend their public schools?
I grew up in Kalamazoo (Portage, actually). I love it, but Northern MI always edged Kzoo out in my heart. Northport is about 45 minutes north of TC, but TC has nearly everything Kzoo has, only on a smaller scale and more natural beauty.

Kalamazoo has improved quite a bit, and a recent announcement of at least 3,300 new jobs will improve your job prospects. Kzoo schools...still pretty rough, much more than Northport, but they're trying to improve, and there's a ton of community support. The promise has been a major morale boost for the city.

If I were in your place, and had a job offer, I'd go with Northport. It's a small town with free college, as opposed to a city (with city problems) with free college. But both places are good, Just make sure you have a job first.
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:58 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
2,067 posts, read 5,192,944 times
Reputation: 823
Northport is a pretty little town at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, but I do want to make sure you realize that it is probably a 40 minute drive each way to TC.

TC itself is a resort town, but not the type that closes down in the winter. It's a vibrant year round community with plenty of opportunities for you whether your interests are outdoor activities, the arts or eating out! We are lucky that we have many talented people who are living here who could be successful wherever they chose to live, but choose to make TC and the surrounding area their home.

As for jobs............. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT expect to make as much as you would make in a larger metropolitan area here. Employers are well aware that people will take less pay just to live here. There is a reason why one of the most popular local sayings is 'Half your pay is a view of the bay'!
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL (Ravenswood)
25 posts, read 87,643 times
Reputation: 11
Many of the public schools in Kalamazoo have been faltering in recent years... you should do some careful research on the individual teachers and the grades of the schools before choosing a location. My younger sisters were pulled out of public schools several years ago when the area middle school received several failing grades. They will be returning to public schools for high school next year, though a visit to the school (where I graduated from 8 years ago) showed that the student body is a bit...rougher than I remembered.

Kalamazoo has a lot to offer but the economy is definitely going downhill and depending on your field, quality jobs can be hard to find. Someone mentioned the 3300 new jobs but only 900 of those will be in Kalamazoo, the rest will be in Mattawan.
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:18 PM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,237 posts, read 8,245,696 times
Reputation: 3088
Quote:
Kalamazoo has a lot to offer but the economy is definitely going downhill and depending on your field, quality jobs can be hard to find. Someone mentioned the 3300 new jobs but only 900 of those will be in Kalamazoo, the rest will be in Mattawan
Still, Kalamazoo is a reasonable commuting distance to Mattawan. You can easily live in the KPS district and work there. The point is the Kalamazoo area is about to receive a HUGE influx of jobs (the 3300 doesn't include the spillover jobs). And 900 new jobs is a good chunk (a little less than 1/3 of the total). Far from going downhill, it looks like Kalamazoo has the worst of this recession behind it.

I do agree you should be discerning with KPS. There are a lot of good families, and a lot of bad ones. But the families are what make or break a district, in my view. So if more good families choose to come, then that makes the district (and town) all the better.

Your post struck me as exessively pessimistic.
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Old 05-25-2008, 06:57 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL (Ravenswood)
25 posts, read 87,643 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post

Your post struck me as exessively pessimistic.
Pessimistic wasn't my goal. My goal was to answer the OPs questions accurately and to the best of my ability. As a long-time Kalamazoo resident and a KPS grad, I felt that I was in a position to give my opinion in terms of what is happening now in terms of the school system and employment prospects.

I understand that you grew up in Portage but I'm still here now and things have changed rapidly in recent years, as I believe I indicated in my initial post. As I also stated, Kalamazoo has a lot to offer and many people are able to find exactly what they need here. The Kalamazoo Promise is an amazing gift and I am hopeful that many students are able to take advantage of it and to give back to the community after graduation.

I'm thrilled that MPI is expanding, and I hope it's the first in many necessary steps to rebuild the community in the future.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:49 AM
 
Location: St. Joseph Area
6,237 posts, read 8,245,696 times
Reputation: 3088
KSML,

Sorry for the accusation. It just came across pessimistic to me. And having gone through KPS you are a better expert than I am. I can only go by news reports.

But now I'm curious. You see, I would have thought the promise would revolutionize the district. But you said the schools are "a bit rougher". In what way? Do you think the promise will actually affect district performance?

My degree is in education and I'm considering working in KPS. If I don't find a job this fall I'm planning on subbing there and getting into their new middle school on Drake Rd. So any info you have is really useful.

Mackinac
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL (Ravenswood)
25 posts, read 87,643 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackinac81 View Post
KSML,

Sorry for the accusation. It just came across pessimistic to me. And having gone through KPS you are a better expert than I am. I can only go by news reports.

But now I'm curious. You see, I would have thought the promise would revolutionize the district. But you said the schools are "a bit rougher". In what way? Do you think the promise will actually affect district performance?

My degree is in education and I'm considering working in KPS. If I don't find a job this fall I'm planning on subbing there and getting into their new middle school on Drake Rd. So any info you have is really useful.

Mackinac
When I say the schools are rougher I mean the student body in general. There was very obvious gang presence, fighting in the hallways, students boldly skipping class and obscenities being shouted, etc. The staff made little to no effort to approach the students, allowing them to run the halls as they pleased. It was a shock to me because that would have been very atypical behavior when I was a student there. On the middle school level, reports of weapons and drugs and the school receiving a 'failing' grade were the primary reason my sisters were pulled out of the public school system.

The school is taking steps to turn things around with incoming students. They have a new program for Freshman and the teachers we spoke to all seem very motivated and encouraging. Hopefully it will make a difference with the performance rates for the school as well. Also, for every student I saw running and swearing in the hall, there were 10 sitting in class so I don't mean to imply all the students were out of line.

Kalamazoo has a lot of room to grow; the Promise and the hope of new jobs in the area can only make things better. Kalamazoo is a very safe place to live with great colleges, arts, and some very strong neighborhoods. KPS as a whole has schools on both ends of the spectrum so while it is very, very possible to get a good education and have a good experience in the district, the opposite is possible as well.
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