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Old 10-09-2013, 11:13 AM
6 posts, read 14,736 times
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Hi, just hoping to gather some thoughts on comparing 'burbs for family living ...specifically looking at Verona (Madison) vs. Brookfield/other possible western suburbs (Milwaukee), taking into account safety, schools, quality of life, children's activities, things to do, friendliness, lots of kids around playing outside, etc.. I know it obviously depends on specifics in each region (no need to type that in your response), just hoping to get some generalities and thoughts as a whole.
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Old 10-09-2013, 09:08 PM
Location: Bay View, Milwaukee
2,430 posts, read 4,507,705 times
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Both sets of burbs are fine, as there's a variety in both areas to suit most needs. The categories you mention (safety, etc.) are pretty much equivalent, though Milwaukee suburbs may have a slight edge with quality of schools. A lot depends on what you and your family want to do, and what kinds of activities/experiences you want.

Madison in general is rather compact and easy to get around; there isn't as much sprawl there as you find in Milwaukee. But Milwaukee is also easy to navigate; it's just a bigger metro area, so it can take longer to move between places.

Brookfield is right in the heart of the Milwaukee Metro's western suburban sprawl, so you'll have lots of shopping and activities around, but you'll have to work a little to get to green spaces, especially wide open green spaces. Brookfield's schools are often considered among the best in the state, and there are plenty of kids in some neighborhoods, but overall (compared to Verona) the demographics skew older (more empty-nesters, etc.)

Verona, OTOH, is more of an exurb/suburb blend, right on the southwestern edge of the Madison Metro, so it seems a bit more remote than does Brookfield, which is surrounded by other developed suburbs. To add to this, Verona's population is around 11,000, whereas Brookfield's population is around 35,000. Verona and its immediate environs won't have as much shopping or activities, but again, other suburbs and the core of Madison's Metro are compact and thus a short drive off.

High-income, white-collar professionals predominate in both communities, though both also have little pockets of neighborhoods with more of a working class or mixed blue/white/pink collar demographic. Both communities are predominantly white. Brookfield (Bluemound Rd.) is a major retail corridor in the metro area, so you'll see a fair bit of demographic diversity there anyhow, including a couple of Indian restaurants, an Asian grocery or two, etc.

Friendliness? That's just so hard to gauge. If you find the right neighborhood in either, you won't have any problems.
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Old 10-10-2013, 01:07 AM
Location: Sector 001
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If I didn't have a good paying job and could move back to WI I'd move to a small little bedroom community close to lake Michigan like Belgium.
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Old 10-12-2013, 01:40 PM
Location: La Jolla, CA
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Old 10-12-2013, 05:54 PM
Location: Mequon, WI
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I prefer the "feel" of Milwaukee's western burbs especially "Lake Country" Pewaukee to Lac La Belle.
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Old 10-12-2013, 11:23 PM
Location: Mequon, WI
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So I just looked at a map of Madison, by the looks of it you are comparing all western MKE's suburbs to Madisons' 2 or 3 western suburbs? Verona and Middleton? Cross Plains and Mt.Horeb would qualify as exurbs. Fitchburg is south so I am not counting that one. So if this is the criteria I would say MKE's suburbs. I guess the real question is do you want to live in Madison area or western suburban Milwaukee. For instance Mukwonago is a lot different than Chenequa and Elm Grove is a lot different than Delafield or Oconomowoc Lake. I have always said you can get Madison feel or Madison like suburbs in the Milwaukee area but you cannot get Milwaukee type suburbs in Madison, because the Milwaukee area is different.

You can get the smaller town feel in the Milwaukee area but you can get a better feeling in the Madison area, does this make sense? You can live in a Milwaukee suburb but it all blends together unlike Madison where you can get the more true feeling of a small town. If you live in Black Earth you actually feel like you're living in a small town but if you live in Genesee Depot, Wales, Mukwonago, North Prairie, Sussex, you still feel a part of Milwaukee and surrounded by subdivisions everywhere since it all blends together.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:18 PM
20 posts, read 32,489 times
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Brookfield is a planned city with lots of subdivisions where fences are not allowed.
For that reason, I'd never live there. It's also
Built on swamp land, which means lots of mosquitoes in the summer. Unless you want to live with pesticides. If new construction homes are your thing, then live there. Most areas will not have sidewalks, so not a "walking" neighborhood per se. Great shopping. Hate driving out of Milwaukee going west to Brookfield when the sun sets. Driving into the sun slows traffic. Wauwatosa schools are far superior to Brookfield.

Stay away from the Milwaukee public school system. Depending on where you live, homes are built with neighbors just a few feet away. But the mentality in Milwaukee - people mind their own business and if you know how to handle and carry yourself in a diverse city, you'll be fine. Plenty of character homes. Call the police for any non emergency, you could be waiting for hours if they even decide to come. On the other hand, you'll be less likely to get petty traffic tickets. Milwaukee police have bigger fish to fry. I enjoy Milwaukee. You just have to find the right areas to live in.

Wauwatosa on the other hand has one of the BEST school systems. I know people who won't leave here for that reason. Police here are very responsive, fair and honest. I feel safe though as we are on the fringe of not so nice areas of Milwaukee. Too politicky for me - only until recently you weren't allowed to have a fence higher than 4 1/2 feet. When you live on such small lots, that leaves little room for privacy and unlike Milwaukee everyone seems to want to be in everyone's business. While getting to know your neighbors has its upside, living here is more like living in a soap opera. I call it the granola crunching city filled with liberals, and like me, I know others from the big city who moved here for the small quaint feel only to decide that these granola crunchers around me are too much to bear. I call them the east-side wanna-be's. everyone wants to say they live in a beautiful character home, but most around me can't afford to update them (1920's homes), Or do it on such a low budget that its painfully obvious they couldn't afford quality.

Neighbors around me will only use use a push mower, neighbors fight when someone wants to put up a fence on their own property. Everyone complains to city hall when they don't get their way, whiner central.

New fence ordinance requires I think a three foot set back from the lot line (I haven't checked recently), and when most homes under $300k sit on less than 1/8 acre, that's a teeny yard and very little in terms of privacy.

City hall here is corrupt, trust me I know personally.

People are anal retentive about property lines. I have a neighbor who gives me a hard time whenever I go behind my garage. The setback from his property is 18 inches. Apparently he's worried that I'm stepping over the property line. He also complains to another neighbor if a Hosta is over the property line, but his creeping Charlie infested lawn is apparently ok.

Other neighbors replaced a rickety 6 foot fence with a new 6 foot fence. Their Neighbor called the city, city made them cut it down to 4 1/2 feet. Too many people with nothing better to do with their lives. Another neighbor had a tizzy that a neighbor put up a fence, triggering new setback ordinance because whiner number 7 complained to city hall.

On the flip side, whiner number 7 could only afford to
Roof the front half of his house and not the back or the garage. So while the roof looks great from the street, the backside is atrocious with shingles falling off and off the garage into a neighboring yard. Regularly. In spite of this,
Whiner number 7 filed a complaint with the city about a "retaining wall" that was installed on a corner lot. The people had no back yard and only a deck in the side yard open to the street. They have a small child and wanted an enclosed area. They hired a contractor. He built a beautiful stone wall around the deck. The owner had to petition neighbors to prove to city hall that neighbors didn't have a problem with it. City let him keep it. Meanwhile, whiner number 7 still can't afford to fix his dilapidated roof which is an obvious eye sore not to mention ordinance violation. So the moral of the story is, if you HAVE money around here to do things to beautify your property, those who do not get viscously jealous and retaliate. I've seen it more often than not. Instead of appreciating that you are increasing the value of your home, they want to penalize you because you have what they strive for but can't achieve.

I lived in Milwaukee most of my life with neighbors closer than this. Never had ANY of these problems and can't wait to get out.
Dumb ordinances - you can't have a trellis in your front yard, but installing a ridiculous looking community library on your front lawn is ok. I havent checked, but im
Sure theres probably granola bars stuffed in there too. People put patios on their front lawn, it looks completely absurd, and I feel like I'm living in an episode of design on a dime with their plastic statuary and sorry excuse for landscaping with plastic junk.

Any contractor will tell you - there are two cities in the Milwaukee metro area where you do not want to mess with the city inspector - brown deer and Wauwatosa. Do not replace a toilet and put it curbside for garbage pick up. Inspector will knock on your door. The staff at Home Depot will say the same thing. So if you have nosey neighbors, know that your activities will be watched and anyone can punch in an address on the city website to confirm whether you've pulled a permit. Like I said, they've nothing better to do.

Can't stand the block parties, which usually coincides with a holiday weekend around here. What that means for me is that I lose my ability to drive my vehicle to and from my house if I want to work on projects that weekend. All so the granola crunchers can get together and share granola stories.

If you don't mind the drive, look in the merton area. You'll get a better return on your investment, guaranteed. That's where the real money is. Not phony wannabes playing pretend.

Last edited by Chocolateforchristmas; 10-14-2013 at 08:31 PM.. Reason: Added to it.
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Old 10-16-2013, 11:07 AM
4,838 posts, read 3,754,442 times
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Why do you live there if you hate it so much? This is your second post complaining about Wauwatosa. Personally, I would never live there. I prefer the east side/Riverwest. I'm one of those liberal granola crunchers you loathe so much. Good thing you don't live around here, eh?
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:53 AM
Location: OC/LA
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Some people just like to complain.
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Old 11-09-2013, 08:16 AM
31 posts, read 86,163 times
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I vote for Waukesha County. I grew up in Pewaukee, went to school in Waukesha and currently live in the Town of Genesee. It is so beautiful here - very hilly and you can see for miles and miles. The neighbors here are awesome - not nosy but would give you the shirts off their backs. I work in downtown Milwaukee so I still get my fill of city life but on my way to work I drive past about 4 farms so I get it all!
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