Moving to Great Falls Summer 2007 (Missoula, Bozeman: transfer, middle schools, contractor)
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Hello Leaving California,
I have read the above comments and can tell you from experience that Great Falls is a great place to live. I moved from California 14 years ago. I can honestly say it has been a great place to raise my children. I am not quite sure where you are coming from in California but I was from the Los Angeles/Orange County area.
Every city/town has it's up and down and good and bad. You can make a difference if you get involved in the community. Housing is affordable, I know that even with the salary I make now I couldn't afford to live where I grew up in CA and I make a great living here. The pay schedule really is not very good for start out pay so hopeful you are moving with a job/career that you will be comfortable with.
The school systems educational experience is great with some teachers and bad with other just like anywhere else. But you won't have the "ghetto" areas as some refer to as you do in CA. The drugs are here as well as anywhere else you go but not to the degree they are there. You send your kids to school and hope that you have raised them well enough to be strong and stay away from them. There was a boy who did shoot himself in the bathroom at CMR High school, but what the person above failed to tell you is that the boy had problems at home with family issues.
Property and income taxes are higher here. But we don't have a sales tax of 7.25 to 8.50%. All in all pretty much balances it out.
The weather gets cold in the winter - for a few weeks below zero. It is crystal clear on those days and to see frost on a tree or fence is remarkable with the looks of crystals sparkling. But I can tell you that we don't have snow days and since I have been here we haven't ever been closed due to weather or the school closed down for anytime. Snow fall is not very deep (possible 6 inches or so at once) but the wind blows it away. I have yet to see a white Christmas but I keep hoping. Summers are usually pretty nice but for some reason this one was hot with a few weeks of 95 plus degrees. And not enough days of summer as far as I am concerned. But you can't have everything.
People in general are the nicest people in the world. There are some that are not so nice to people that are not born and raised here. But like I said earlier if you get involved in the community and get to know different people you will find yourself happier and more knowledgable about what is going on.
Wow, finally somebody that has some wonderful insight and actually made me feel hopeful! Thank you! I was beginning to get very worried. We are currently in the Sacramento area and the reason we are moving is because we have family there and we are looking for a quieter, nicer place to raise our daughter. We will be in Great Falls the first two weeks of October to really check things out and I intend to do ALOT of that!
My husband works in the bottling industry and will be (hopefully) setting up an appt w/the Coca-Cola plant while we are there, so hopefully that will go well. That is one of our biggest questions is the pay schedule. I currently work part time and want to be able to quit completely when we move, but not sure if that's a possibility.
Tell me this, for public school (elementary) I've been told that Meadowlark is the best, is that true? We've also considered Foothills, but not sure if we'll be able to swing the tuition until we know more about the pay schedules.
I would love to keep in touch with you, if you don't mind, just in case I have some questions that family can't seem to answer. You can send me a private message if you'd like and I can send you my e-mail address.
Can't wait to see it in October ... NOW I'm looking forward to it!
ok, u want a nicer place to raise your daughter? is that your reason for moving? great falls could be the place your looking for or it could be the worst decision you have ever made just like any place. this windswept city has its ups and its downs. there was a person earlier that pretty much said it all. something about some ppl love it and some hate it. are you willing to move to the 4th largest state in the US that only has 900,000 ppl in it? cowboy/hunting/rodeo/bars/4H are a big part of montana life, is it part of yours? if your not into the outdoors, it might not be the best idea. basically, your ? depends on your situation. honestly i dont know that much about the elementary schools but from what i know the school ur kid goes to is based off of where you live. the only big decision is great falls high or cmr as far as im concerned. if your into sports, are yuppiesh, or make alot of money, cmr is where your kid goes. and as far as that goes it matters even more what college ur kid goes to. it looks to me like your going to move there no matter what, so what is the purpose of this forum post? montana is in a drought, great falls weather is not nice! the economy is shot to hell. what else do ya wanna know?
btw: i will tell you one thing. great falls is one of the most well designed cities i have ever lived in. look at mapquest.com. everything is on a grid and the streets are on the number and cardinal direction system.
Great Falls is a good town. Every town has problems but each person experiences it differently. What is a big problem to one person may not be one to another. I lived in Great Falls for 15 years. Moved to Minnesota - worst place in the world - now in Wyoming. We live in SW Wyoming in a town that has a climate, etc much like Great Falls. I was very involved in community activities while we lived there and had a great experience. It does get cold in the winter but it may be 55 degrees the next day. It is windy, however, you're very close to the Rocky Mountain Front and all the outdoor activities that there are there. The Lewis & Clark Museum is wonderful, as well as the Charlie Russell museum. The river is a lot of fun. There are numerous small towns around that are also great places to live. I am concerned that so many people that posted on this site are so negative about Great Falls. To my family it has always been "home" no matter where we have moved to.
In response to ben_mt that stated "looks like you are going to move there no matter what", thank you for your input, it is well taken, but completely wrong. I will not uproot my family until I have completely checked things out amd feel it is in the best interest for all of us. I live in a town right now that is the exact same population as Great Falls except about 11 sq. miles smaller. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our city, was born and raised here, but it's getting too 'busy'. We are looking for a slow-paced, quiet lifestyle. I will be spending 2 full weeks in GF and will be checking ALL things out. I plan on visiting schools, seeing real estate, talking w/ppl in stores, etc. These posts that I've been reading are very insightful and I'm taking all that information with me when I do check things out. And I have heard from many different ppl that that way it is designed is really easy to navigate, so thank you for that, too.
I was cruising around the net and tripped across this forum and found it intresting. I have to say I lived in Great Falls for about five years back in the early eighties and found that I loved that town. As for the drug and alcohol issues present there it sounds like a crying shame though compared to New Mexico or California, Montana is still far better statistically in terms of crime rates.
I presently live in Torrance County here in New Mexico, mobile home capital of the world and also home to some of this states lowest income people. There is a high use of drugs, primarily meth, and drunk drivers wander the highways in search of creating an accident to make headline news. Gangs are a constant threat and even considered fashionable even when a gang member kills a police officer, which does happen with rising frequency. Never mind the constant killing of rival gang members or innocents caught in the crossfire or perhaps the gangs just decided it was a good idea to do a drive by on an elderly person house.
And we'll skip over the subject of schools here as the education system here sucks hard wind. Montanas education system rates pretty high or at least has a higher standard.
I can not beleive for one moment that Montana is any worse than here or any other state like California. Sure, I'm positive it has it's share of problems but those problems exist in other states and communities around the States also. New Mexico, I beleive is number 5 on the highest rate of drunk drivers, it also rates near the top for domestic violence and rape. Not a good thing.
I do plan on visiting Great Falls also sometime in the summer, just for a family trip across Montana. My kids want to move but the wife is yet to be convinced and wants to maybe, and I do emphasize maybe Missoula. Who knows, maybe in a few years............JT
Whoa down there for a minute folks....... Don't know where this thread came from but it nearly blew by me like a good kitty gone bad....
A few things about Great Falls.
Great Falls is "the only" "planned" or "plotted" city in the entire state of Montana. The old boys that drew this town up on paper back in the 1880's must have had the inside scoop on the Montana growth in the 21'st century, because we handle growth around here like a walk in the park.
Nevermind the weather folks, 'cause it's February right now and I'm staring at a temp of 40 degrees with 50's forcast for the next 5.
Hamilton, Montana might be in a banana belt, but we are in the largest rain shadow in the continental united states. It extends from parts north of us... Teton County all the way south to Cascade.
Great Falls has often times been refered to here as Montana's undiscovered gem. Growth is a bit more than a measly 1%, but that's okay... The business boys around here tend to remain on the conservative side.
Wind??... well... heh heh... truth be known.... I've seen it "wind outside" just as hard in Missoula (lived there for 20 years) as it has here. (been here since 91)
Now I'm not an expert by any stretch, but I will say that Great Falls, Montana and it's surrounding communities have got it all over on anything west of the CD.
The guys that complain and were only here for 4 years were either in the military or were otherwise on the dole, because given half a happy chance, Great Falls, Montana will suit you in the end.
Now, take this for what it might be worth folks.
Being born and raised in Montana, I've spent well over a half a century here.
I have cows in Geraldine, land in the Bitterroot, a small very successful construction company right here in Great Falls, and if that isn't enough, my start up internet company over the past 4 years has been doing quite well too...
There isn't anything you can't do here... If you want to make a good go of it, then by golly, no ones to stop you.
Sure, we get a few young hucksters passing through from time to time, but any state or town does.... really nothing to get anyone all up in arms about.
We just give them a little money and send them on their way.
I've got relations all over this state... Libby, Dillon, Charlo, Harlowton and surprisingly enough, even Corvalis and in Missoula.
For all of the good God given years I've spent in this state, I'll put my money on Great Falls, Montana any day of the week.
I'm not here because I have to be, I'm here because I want to be.
I've spent many years here, doing many things, and living in Great Falls, Montana puts me within easy reach of anything, or any one of my interests, throughout the state.
Schools are good, roads are good, city and county government is good, the jobs are good, and housing prices are good..... and don't let anyone tell you any different.
As far as drug use and abuse??... Well, here's a wake up call..... "it's all over everywhere"...... If you want to get away from it... you might as well just hole up on a desert island somewhere, because it will be where ever you move to...... and I don't care where.
The drug abuse in Montana at large is microscopic compared to that of even Spokane, Washington...... So, worrying about drugs in Montana is a relatively moot point..... and should never be used as an excuse for not ever moving here.
If you want to be the tallest hog in the trough around here, then living the simple life will get it done for you. We don't much bother with high minded people who would put on aires and pretend to be someone they aren't.
It's living, and living well, that makes us who we are here.
We don't have to live like Hank Jr., Robert Redford, or the late Peter Fonda (who happens to be a Montana native too), to get on with the good business of living....
We know who we are and it's our good sense that guides us through.
There is absolutely nothing at all wrong with Great Falls, Montana, or many other places from Glasgow all the way up to the Rocky Mountain Front.
I've raised 5 kids, gone and grown, here in this state... not a one of them had the desire to go to college here....... too hokey doke for them........ but guess what??.... all but one of them are back..... and with an education to top it all off.....
They hated being here when they were teens..... nothing to do, no where to go and so on and so forth. All teens are this way... doesn't make a difference what town they live in. They all want out of where they were raised, they want to taste the great big wide open world..... and so they do.
Mine are back, living and working and raising their own kids right here in good ole Montana...... I guess they grew up some, and realized that this wasn't such a bad place after all...... guess the old man was right.
So look around.... you might just be a little more than surprised to find what suits you here.
Last edited by GiftShoppeGuy; 02-04-2007 at 10:55 AM..
Please do not type in all capitals. It is considered shouting and is considered poor netiquette. Your comments will be read more, and will be taken more seriously, if you write with normal upper and lower case.
Also for what it's worth, negatives should be presented in response to people asking about particular areas, but they need to be backed up with true factual data and presented in a positive, supporting framework. Some comments in this forum (I'm not suggesting those by any one person in particular) seem to be written with the main purpose of trying to keep non-Montanans from moving to Montana. Those concern me. While I love the openness and lack of population outside the cities in Montana, I do feel it's important to present people with honest factual data about the state so they can determine whether an area is of interest to them or not.
As with any web-user presented comments (whether here, on amazon.com, or on any other website), readers should take all comments cautiously. I know nothing about you, you know nothing about me, and so on. Checking out cities' own websites, the local newspapers (most of which are online), and other regional information sites generally provide the best factual information for people interested in moving to some location in the state (or in any state, for that matter).
Our general experience over the years and with regard to people from out of state moving here has been that they generally move themselves out, without any prompting from anyone of us who might be native to the state.
You see it every day.... those who would be filled full of fantasy about a place such as Montana, coming here, and realizing that we here may not quite stack up to what previous expectations were.
Nope... telling folks to stay out, or go away doesn't do it quite like the true Montana experience does for these who would move here from out of state.
I'm neither for or against building and growth here in the state......
I'll encourage those who would wish to fullfill any dreams they might happen to have with regard to living here.
What greatly suits me, and the way I've chosen to live, may not necessarilly suit someone else. But folks will never know, 'less they actually come here and live the "actual" experience.
Some who come here, thrive, because they discovered the perfect place. Others who come here, beat a hasty retreat, after a short period, because this isn't what they really wanted... they were lied to by some slick out of state based development company about how presumably great it was to live here.
It doesn't make a difference really, in that Montana is, as Montana does.
Though I do care deeply about my state, and what happens to it, I'm not so arrogant so as to presume that my telling people to not come here will make a difference, because Montana is a rich ole girl, and she, in the end, either by her weather, economics, social environment, will dictate who stays or who will leave us forever.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again......
"There are reasons why Montana's population is so low"
Last edited by GiftShoppeGuy; 02-04-2007 at 11:55 AM..
or the late Peter Fonda (who happens to be a Montana native too),
I stand corrected....
My initial post was meant to present *Henry Fonda and not Peter (his son), and I am also made aware that though Henry Fonda did indeed live here for extended periods of time, he was not born here originally.
Of course, Charlie Russell wasn't born in Montana either, (born in Missouri moved to Montana at age 16 1860-1926), he is often times refered to as native because of his rather extensive artistic capabilities and the many years he lived in Great Falls.
I moved to Great Falls in Sept. for a professional opportunity that would not have presented itself in Dallas. I know, shocking! There are a FEW companies in Montana that can compete on a national level.
I am an outdoor enthusiast -- can't wait til "Warm Season" when I can camp and do more exploring. Hell, it snowed my first weekend in town and my power went out. I love the snow (having never shoveled it)! My only reticence comes in the form of being afraid to drive long distances in the snowy weather -- I've stayed close to GF in the last 5 months.
I try really hard not to laugh in the face of locals who think they're "worldly," especially the teenagers! I'd love to drop them off in South Dallas and see how long they could hang.
Another note: I'm not Miss America, but there are ALOT of mullets here...
Great Falls is what it is, and that's part of its charm. SMALL TOWN AMERICA! There are alot of ghetto neighborhoods. Good restaurants are hard to find -- no sushi, NO local music scene, 4-hour drive to any concert of note, expensive flights to major US cities, limited shopping, and weird colloquialisms ("Yep"). As a single professional, entertainment options are limited. Drink. That's about it. Drink and fend off the meth heads at the bars. I work my ass off, so in my leisure time, entertainment is a priority.
What can I say? I'm not in love with GF yet, but I'm coming from a different prospective, probably. I've always lived in "big cities" and worked for huge companies. Plus, I'm single with no children. My decision to move to GF was calculated and well-researched. I wanted the experience for the best-selling novel I'll write someday.
With that said, "Go Colts!" (Since the Cowboys were eliminated, I had to pick a team.)
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