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Old 11-01-2015, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Alaska
256 posts, read 235,113 times
Reputation: 239

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Hello everyone, how are you doing?

Initially we are thinking about moving from Alaska down to either Casper Wyoming or Fort Collins Colorado area. Do not get me wrong I love it up here and could spend the rest of my life, but recently wife has finally felt like she is ready for change (born and raised here), which is a good thing because she really needs to get out for a while.

Approximately eight years ago I lived in the Big Sky area before meeting my wife and settling down to have a couple young children. Really loved the area including all my time spent in Bozeman and Billings, however, I am curious how these cities and the surrounding areas have fared over the last few years?

I have heard price on everything have gone up. Form home cost to food, entertainment and eating out.

How are the school systems?

Is there a lot to do with the family, like festivals, events, museums, etc?

How has the snowfall been over the years? I remember the year up in the mountains snowfall was very high that year, but for some reason do not recall about how much was Bozeman and Billings.

Yes, I know this could have been put under Bozeman, but I am also asking about the outlying areas and small communities in-between.

Anyways, thanks for any information!
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Old 11-01-2015, 08:28 AM
 
4,678 posts, read 3,983,141 times
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First, give a lot of thought to Casper---the wind seems blow incessantly there. I would not care for it.

Bozeman / Belgrade is in a housing construction boom at present time. Contractors selling houses from building plans. Eight years ago or less there was a housing price crash in that area---many short sales, etc. . I believe prices have recovered.

Billings did not experience house price crash because of the boom in energy industries. The decline in world oil prices and the fact coal generators not being kept in air quality compliance are being shuttered will likely change that situation. Billings has experienced a strong economy but predicting the near future seems tricky.

Snowfall levels in southwestern MT have been lower than typical. El Nino this year will be similar to winter of 1997-98, meaning different part of state will get severe temps and or snow. Billings has longer summer, shorter winter than Bozeman.

Public schools in MT are generally good. Billings has more options with private schools. Both towns have things to do.
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Old 11-01-2015, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Montana
387 posts, read 358,707 times
Reputation: 678
I can only speak to Bozeman and the surrounding areas. Cost of living in Bozeman is very high, however there are new developments on the west side of Bozeman, and just outside of the city limits which are economical, and near schools. In Bozeman, the public schools are fantastic, and citizens are really involved in passing levies to make sure the programs stay around. Tons of free programs here, museums, and community activities. For example, major fireworks show at the fair every summer, they had the downtown trick-or-treat at 3pm on Friday where all the kids came out and Main Street was set up so the kids could go from shop to shop. Etc.

The schools in Belgrade and Manhattan are not as good, and almost always reject the levies. The towns have a lot less going on, so often the parents will bring the kids in to Bozeman on the weekends to do things. However, you are close no matter where you live to the great outdoors and lots of activities. And, housing is substantially cheaper in developments there. You could also get a house on a few acres out in places like that, or Three Forks, which is still in driving distance to Bozeman for errands (e.g. going to Costco, fireworks, etc.).

Here are some links.

Bozeman Events:

BoZone - Bozeman MT's Events and Entertainment Calendar

Housing in Bozeman:

Search Results | ERA Landmark Real Estate - Bozeman, Livingston & Big Sky, Montana

Housing in Belgrade:

Search Results | ERA Landmark Real Estate - Bozeman, Livingston & Big Sky, Montana
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Alaska
256 posts, read 235,113 times
Reputation: 239
Thanks for this information. We are also thinking about the Kalispell area now. My wife's best friend lives around there.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,525 posts, read 7,798,199 times
Reputation: 13260
I lived in Hungry Horse, Graduated from Columbia Falls High School, worked at Plum Creek and the Aluminum Plant.
The Flathead Valley was a great place to grow up and live back then, but I would not return there now. I can stand to visit there for up to a week (more often 3 days), and I am ready to leave.
Nearly all the lumber mills are gone now (not closed, GONE!). The aluminum plant is shut down, and it sounds like it will soon be gone also.
Of course, nothing ever stays the same, but the changes in the Valley make it less than comfortable to me these days. I can't put my finger on exactly what is wrong, but the changes haven't been for the better, IMO!
I rather like Billings.
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Old 11-15-2015, 03:11 PM
 
77 posts, read 70,133 times
Reputation: 88
People should understand the Rocky Mountain range in general. First, you don't have to worry about being reminded of Santa Monica, or CA for that matter. Most of those areas, from Calgary on down to Albuquerque New Mexico share some things in common. That is a long history of being family and community based. That means the habits are fairly well set in, over years. This does not mean out side people are not welcome. To the contrary, new blood is always welcome, especially if the skill set is a match and some youthful vitality accompanies.
But, in general, people do not drive around looking for new places to spend their money. It is not the greatest place to just come an open up a business, expecting people to find you and patronize the business. It doesn't work that way. Better to attach yourself to a pre existing family, be it a school, a larger company, or some other venue to get yourself established. It is just that people already know where next week's pay check is going. Now, for example, we are getting ready for winter.
This also goes for the way the towns are run. It is like Boston, Chicago, or New York, in that the routine city jobs have been spoken for, going forward generations. Finally, so much depends on the individual and circumstance. Anyone who does not like Santa Monica might be advised to look within for the solution to that.
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Old 11-15-2015, 05:57 PM
 
4,007 posts, read 4,104,637 times
Reputation: 2893
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redraven View Post
I lived in Hungry Horse, Graduated from Columbia Falls High School, worked at Plum Creek and the Aluminum Plant.
The Flathead Valley was a great place to grow up and live back then, but I would not return there now. I can stand to visit there for up to a week (more often 3 days), and I am ready to leave.
Nearly all the lumber mills are gone now (not closed, GONE!). The aluminum plant is shut down, and it sounds like it will soon be gone also.
Of course, nothing ever stays the same, but the changes in the Valley make it less than comfortable to me these days. I can't put my finger on exactly what is wrong, but the changes haven't been for the better, IMO!
I rather like Billings.
Interesting info on Flathead.

I often think re which area of MT (from Eureka/Troy to Scobey/Plentywood down to Miles City & back around again) to relocate sooner than later, yet hesitate to go east of Continental Divide for a real feeling of Patriot territory which is truly west of there.

But any of the more populated towns (though MT as a whole hasn't v many populated size towns, period, I realize) seem to again invite more aggravation via an eventual influx of more outsiders to create even more hassles w/ traffic, pollution, crime, prices going up/cost living, etc.

So, dunno where I'm going w/ this all but suffice to say I really thought NW MT was gold, but see that the Hi-Line area has pick & choose spots/towns (most east of the Divide), & depends on how far you want/need to be from goods/services especially in winter driving terms.

Thanks for allowing my off-the-wall interruption here.
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