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Old 01-04-2009, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Idaho
219 posts, read 660,711 times
Reputation: 69
Smile Is Milwaukee a good place to raise a family?

We are still looking at Milwaukee as a place to move, to settle, to raise our family. My hubby would be working at General Mitchell since he is Air Force, so we would live somewhere in that area.

I'm wondering...Is Milwaukee a good place to raise a family? I've been searching the forums, but maybe I'm just not finding the right posts because I'm not finding much in the way of positive input on the issue.

Thanks!

Jessica
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Old 01-04-2009, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,058 posts, read 7,946,617 times
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Overall, I would say absolutely - yes!

I am in my young 30s now and have two youngesters of my own, and although unlike many from this area I did not live in the Milwaukee area my entire life, I have lived in the area *much* of my life. So I was raised here and think overall it was a fairly positive experience.

Now, there are many pro-urban posters on this section of the forum that abhor kind of the "suburbanization" culture that many pursue, however, I can say that quite definitely most of the suburbs are tremendous places for raising kids, as well as portions of the city itself (I was brought up in the heart of the city but now live in a suburb).

"Milwaukee" is generally in broad terms composed of the City of Milwaukee - population of a bit over 600,000 - and the numerous suburbs that compose metro Milwaukee (population a bit over 1.5 million). The entire metropolitan area would generally be thought of as the communities in Milwaukee County, Washington County, Waukesha County, and Ozaukee County (and some even throw in the Racine County towns now).

I see you are currently in Idaho. I am certainly you fully realize this, and certainly being an AF family I am sure you guys have bounced around perhaps a bit? However, just my word of "warning"...again realizing you probably are already more than well aware...Milwaukee is a "big city". Obviously not a Chicago-esque or Philadelphia-esque or Houston-esque or even St. Louis-esque, but this is a city that dwarfs, say, a Boise, etc. Thus, you are going to get the good and the bad that a much bigger city presents (and yes, there are factors - all scaled appropriately as you'd imagine to our size of course - such as congestion, traffic, crime-in-areas, pollution-in-areas, etc. - that might not exist in a smaller town like Boise as greatly).

Having said this, nearly each and every suburban community of Milwaukee has a sterling reputation for *excellent* public and private school options. Close to the airport, you may wish to look into Greendale (I live here...one of the safest suburbs as well as best school systems and very affordable / family friendly - only 14,000 residents as well!)...only a few miles from the airport. Other nearby options that I would recommend considering would be Oak Creek, Hales Corners, and portions of Greenfield; all pretty darn safe with very good schools and family-oriented.

The portions of the city of Milwaukee itself also fairly near the airport (in places such as the Bay View area) are also quite safe and good for families.

I think the good attributes about raising families in this area encompass a not overly congested / traffic / crime laden area where it is still practical, possible, and affordable to have a nice home with the white picket fence type of thing in a nice family friendly community with some still-"salt of the earth" types of people and values. Area libraries tend to be pretty nice, and due to the low-transitory nature of the community, people tend to be stable, unpretentious, etc.
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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It all depends on where in Milwaukee you want to live. There are good areas as well as bad. By the airport it ok.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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We lived in Milwaukee for thirty years, the kids went from grade school to high school there. Like EnjoyEP said the southwestern and southern suburbs are nice area's to live in that are close to Mitchell Field. Just about anywhere in Milwaukee you are only a few minutes from the freeway. In Oak Creek and Greenfield you are only a few minutes away from the airport. Halescorners would probably be a fifteen to twenty minute drive.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Idaho
219 posts, read 660,711 times
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Thank you to everyone for your input!

EnjoyEP, thank you so much for your lengthy and detailed response! I actually do know a bit about Milwaukee because I was born in and lived the first ten years of my life in Oconomowoc, but we didn't get to Milwaukee much, and I was so young anyway. Plus, I do have family that lives there now, and I've visited a couple times, but I never have a chance to look around much. So I'm familiar with it, but not to a great extent in the details of everyday life there. SO THANK YOU! What you shared is helpful, esp. on where to live near to the airport.

If anyone else wants to share anything I'd love to hear more, too! THANKS!
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:12 PM
 
Location: Sebeka, MN
2,901 posts, read 2,727,281 times
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Um yes - if you don't mind giving the hubbie some commute time. I'm going to suggest looking at Waukesha County. If you want to find the children a quality School System and find a place with a safe and secure neighborhood, then look to Lake Country in Waukesha County. The area north of 94. I always had a good shot into town on 94 heading into work. Best of all at the other end I was getting out of the City and not having to go far. There are many communities there of interest. Begin with Pewaukee. A wonderful Lake for swimming or fishing and even boating. The Schools there are excellent. The small village is nice and has a pleasant lake front.

Heading out 16 closer to the outter reaches of the County is Oconomowoc. Great Schools and many lakes. Lots of activities and great shoping. There is a mall development along with a new hospital. Okauchee Lake is spectacular for Boating Fishing and some swimming.

Once the lakes freeze it's a great winter playground. Lake Michigan on the other hand doesn't freeze but it's so cold you can't swim in it, ever.

Now I'm ok with some Milwaukee areas for living. I just think Lake Country is so much nicer.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Arizona & Wisconsin
4,930 posts, read 5,825,977 times
Reputation: 6367
Quote:
Originally Posted by jessysunshine View Post
We are still looking at Milwaukee as a place to move, to settle, to raise our family. My hubby would be working at General Mitchell since he is Air Force, so we would live somewhere in that area.

I'm wondering...Is Milwaukee a good place to raise a family? I've been searching the forums, but maybe I'm just not finding the right posts because I'm not finding much in the way of positive input on the issue.

Thanks!

Jessica
Milwaukee is a good place to raise a family. In my opinion, some places much better than others. I'm usually the pro-urban counterpoint, but I can (maybe) point you in the right direction if you have a few more details. That would or could include suburbs, if necessary.

How far does he have to live from the airport? Is there a distance or time restriction, or is it more of a convenience factor?

What do you like to do in your spare time? Where do you live now?

What's your budget?

Do you like suburbs, urban areas, or somewhere in between?

Do you have school age children?

Private or public school?

Need a big yard, small yard, no yard?

Without knowing these things, and knowing the area, my first recommendation would be to move north and make use of 794, which makes any trip to the airport from the north a fast one. Bay View, an area between the airport and downtown, is nice, as well as anything north along Lake Michigan.

There is a world of difference between the suburbs you will find near the airport, and the suburbs you will find elsewhere. Not only in environment, but with respect to people.

If I knew a little more about what you were looking for, I'd be able to target some areas.
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Idaho
219 posts, read 660,711 times
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Thanks, guys!

Slamont61, thanks for recommending Lake Country. I agree it is beautiful and wonderful place, generally, to raise a family. I actually was born in Oconomowoc, and I was raised in the area for the first ten years of my life. Much of my family still lives there. I must comment on your note that said Lake Michigan is too cold to swim in ever...my DH, daughter, and I went to Kohler-Andrae State Park in August, and we had a wonderful time swimming and splashing in Lake Michigan. It was warm, perfect really.

43north87west, thanks for all the questions! Here are some answers...

Commute...more of a preference. He's had long commutes for a long time, and he'd like to be closer to home. I would say no longer than a half hour commute would be his choice.

Spare time...we love to do outdoor activities. Hiking, mountain biking, camping, sledding, ice skating, building snowmen, roller skating, playing in the parks, walking, visiting zoos and science centers and fairs and such, etc. My husband also enjoys sport bike riding (he's looking forward to Road America in Elkhart Lake) and IDPA (competition target shooting.) We also like having access to farmer's markets, health food stores, etc. We currently live in Idaho.

Budget? Maybe $350,000 for a house, or lower.

We are open to urban, suburbs, or somewhere in between.

We have one 3 1/2 year old daughter, and we have a child on the way. We plan to homeschool, but if not we would probably choose a private Christian school.

I would love a big yard, but my husband is highly allergic to grass, unfortunately. So we probably need a smaller yard to mow. But still, we are open to any size. It depends on how much we love the area and house.

Thank you for recommending Bay View. I will look into that. Somewhere north is actually what we've been thinking, somewhere that's nice, but close enough to the airport, easy to get up to Kohler-Andrae and Elkhart Lake, and not too awfully close to family, but close enough.

Thanks again!!!
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Arizona & Wisconsin
4,930 posts, read 5,825,977 times
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At $350k, you have plenty of options. My personal preference would be the north part of the City, possibly Bay View (very close to the airport), Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, and Bayside (in order of boring-ness as well as distance from the city). These are within 1/2 hour of the airport using surface streets (Lake Drive/WI hwy 32), Lincoln Memorial Drive, then I-794. Occasional traffic and closures of the lakefront will require summertime adjustments to his commute, but they aren't that bad. Most of the time it would probably be one of the nicer commutes a person could have during their working years.

The budget is going to be hit or miss northeast of downtown, but that doesn't mean you wouldn't be able to find a house. But don't expect it to be on Lake Drive. Don't rule out the city, since school seems not to be a problem for you. Not that MPS is a problem, but it isn't the best. The East Side is really nice, but it's pretty pricey. Close to UWM there are a lot of students (read: parties). It's a great family area also, IMO, and most of it is easily walkable, close to the lake, close to great parks, with plenty of outdoor opportunities.

Other fairly close suburbs with "reasonable" commutes are Wauwatosa and Brookfield. By "reasonable", I mean < 30 minutes on most days, from most parts. Wauwatosa is more urban, Brookfield more suburban. Property values vary greatly. Milwaukee county property tax is higher.

I know almost nothing of the southwest suburbs.

I would personally avoid Cudahy ("Crudahy"), St. Francis, and adjacent areas of the city to the west. The most conspicuous thing about these areas, is the relative absence of people out walking, running, riding bikes, or being remotely athletic. And of course, exceptions exist. There are inexpensive homes available, but... not for me.

Finally, most of Ozaukee County is nice, so if he didn't mind the longer drive, the area is nice. It's obviously more of a suburban (or country) atmosphere. The I-43 commute is a little bit of an annoyance because there is some traffic in the mornings.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Idaho
219 posts, read 660,711 times
Reputation: 69
Wow, thank you, 43north87west! How great to get all that info from you! I really appreciate it. Thank you!
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