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Old 09-19-2009, 05:22 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
4 posts, read 45,003 times
Reputation: 14

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I will be moving to Helena in a few months and I am wondering what the city and surrounding area are like? Is the city close to the mountains? I really have no idea what to expect. I know that certain cities like Bozeman are very expensive and I would imagine that Helena, being the capital, would also be expensive. Anyone know much about Helena?

 
Old 09-19-2009, 07:32 AM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,886,345 times
Reputation: 3429
Hello, welcome to the board,
Here is an older post to get you started
Helena MT
Good luck and hope it helps.
 
Old 09-19-2009, 11:05 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,868,216 times
Reputation: 3535
They have some great craft shows in the civic center. The civic center is a beautiful building that has a slight appearance of a Mosque. The State capital building is beautiful and there is also a pretty good Mexican restaurant on the west edge of town. I did once catch a guy in the act of stealing the tail-gate off of my truck in broad daylight in Helena once while loading out at the end of a craft show that I exhibited at once at the civic center, right in front of lots of people too ! The brazen little bastard, he took off like a bat out of hell when I caught him !
 
Old 09-20-2009, 05:06 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
4 posts, read 45,003 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks for the information. I was wondering if there is any part of the city to stay away from, or is most of the city nice? I was reading another thread and it mentioned the smog during the winter months. I've never heard of that before, smog in Montana? I know Montana doesn't have a sales tax, but how does the property tax look? Is the property tax high as well as the housing, or just the housing. I was thinking about looking for a house in East Helena or Montana city, what are the pros and cons to each city, or is there a better place to look. I will be working at the airport and don't want to be too far away. Thanks
 
Old 09-20-2009, 08:07 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,868,216 times
Reputation: 3535
I've been to Helena many times and I never noticed or heard of any smog problem. Missoula can at times get air inversions that trap dirty air at the surface that doesn't get blown away at times but that issue is way over blown by folks on this forum. I'm not sure about Montana City or East Helena but the fine older large houses you see in the older parts of Helena I don't think you'll find in those other towns. I could be wrong but you may only get smaller modest houses and mobile homes in those towns. You could always talk to a few realtors about the tax situation. Tax rates can vary greatly from one town to the next. I know that up here along the highline the property taxes in Havre can be twice as high as some of the nearby towns.
 
Old 09-27-2009, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Portland, TX. (next to Corpus Christi)
1,678 posts, read 3,509,381 times
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Jakeatc, Helena definately DOES have smog/air inversions in the winter, where cold air stays trapped in the valley for days to weeks at a time. It can be a problem for people with severe respiratory issues, and Helena typically will stay well below the rest of the state temperature-wise (except for the other Southwestern valleys and the valleys west of the divide). However, once a good front moves through, winds will come, and clense the valley of the smog for a couple of days.

I would recommend you look at East Helena if you are wanting to live out of town, yet want close proximity to the airport. Montana City is not bad, considering I-15 is right there. Also, look at other valley locations, Townsend, areas along Canyon Ferry Rd, Howard Rd, Wylie Dr, York Rd, etc.


Ian
 
Old 09-28-2009, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,882 posts, read 5,763,319 times
Reputation: 8243
Helena is a government town, so it is fairly liberal, lots of regulation and LOTS of taxes within city limits.

The governement is the main employment base, so the economy is fairly stable.
It is in the mountains but most of the city is in the valley.

Many folks live in the surrounding communities and drive in to work due to "progressive" taxing, and there are several commuinities within 30 miles of Helena that are much nicer to live in.

The town itself is just a small city. Traffic, lots of knick nack shops and overpriced coffee shops on the gulch, most of the real stores are on the outskirts of town while the city center dies.

The people are pretty decent, lousy drivers, but pretty nice to talk to.
Several clubs and activities, lots of politics, some decent churches, schools outside of town are pretty good, those inside city limits are ok, not great.

3 reservoirs for fishing and water sports close to town, lots of hunting opportunities, camping, hiking, pretty much standard fair for Montana.

You don't say why you are moving, but good luck with your move!
 
Old 01-05-2010, 09:10 PM
 
3 posts, read 22,695 times
Reputation: 10
I grew up in Helena, and didn't like it much when I was younger because I thought there wasn't much to do. But after living in Oregon and Washington for the last year and a half I realize that there is just about as much to do there as there is here, you just don't have to have a ton of money to do it. I haven't read this whole thread but we also have the tour train, which shows off our towns great background and heritage. There are a TON of great local bands, and the people there are friendly and welcoming for the most part. As for areas to stay away from: As long as you're not looking for low income housing you'll be fine. The worst areas in Helena are probably by Stewart Homes and Almanor Apts (which are two blocks from each other). There isn't much in the way of crime (at least not the kind of crime you see in big cities, i.e. murders or home invasions). As for smog...no smog, just the occasional smoke from a forest fire, which unless you live up in the south hills or on the side of the mountains you will have nothing to worry about I for one love it there and can't wait to move back home!

Oh, and I wouldn't recommend East Helena, just for the fact that the Asarco plant is RIGHT there. I wouldn't trust the water there myself.
Good luck in Helena! I hope you like it there as much as I do

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeatc View Post
Thanks for the information. I was wondering if there is any part of the city to stay away from, or is most of the city nice? I was reading another thread and it mentioned the smog during the winter months. I've never heard of that before, smog in Montana? I know Montana doesn't have a sales tax, but how does the property tax look? Is the property tax high as well as the housing, or just the housing. I was thinking about looking for a house in East Helena or Montana city, what are the pros and cons to each city, or is there a better place to look. I will be working at the airport and don't want to be too far away. Thanks
 
Old 01-06-2010, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 3,954,451 times
Reputation: 702
East Helena is a dive. Montana City is much, much nicer.

Some areas near central Helena are not exactly desirable either - mainly around the streets named after other Montana towns (Billings Ave, Missoula Ave, etc). Not ghetto by any means but lower-income rather.

Aside from that Helena is rather nice. Climate is too dry for me (dry = brown grass) but the town itself has a good selection of nice restaurants and generally has a more upscale feel than many other places in MT. It's local money though as opposed to Bozeman, Whitefish, etc.
 
Old 01-06-2010, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
4,882 posts, read 5,763,319 times
Reputation: 8243
Have to take issue with you about East Helena. It is a working class town, very good community spirit, the houses are much cheaper than Helena and the taxes are less than half of city limits.

The city council isn't much, but most services are good. There is an arsenic plume to the south-west in the aquifer, but it is closely monitored and not in the city water supply.

It is a decent town, mostly retired smelter workers, very strong churches, great little grocery store, some amenities, and the community spirit is very good with a real neighbor to neighbor feel. And it is only 3 miles from Helena, but a world away in attitude.

The oldest residential area in Helena proper is 6th ward near the old train depot. It is old with small houses, and lots of low income people. Not a bad place, but not the same as Breckenridge or Mount Ascention behind the capitol. That is where the well heeled flock together.

The only "Bad" area is around the courthouse. That is the neighborhood with the highest crime rate, but even so, it isn't of the same level as your average neighborhood in larger areas like say Seattle.
Most crime in that area is some burglery, (mostly vehicles being broken into), vandalism that sort of thing.

Most of the drug culture likes to hang in the gulch near the yuppie bars.

There is a 2 year college in Helena affiliated with U of M, used to be a very good Vo-Tech, now it is mostly just liberal arts lite, and Carroll college which is a Catholic College so the drug use isn't as bad as Bozeman or Missoula.

Helena has a lot of history, lots of recreational opportunities, the VA Hospital and Fort Harrison. There are a lot of Veteran Activities, clubs, bars, a couple of theater groups and an orchestra group.
If you can stand the BS from all the government, it isn't a bad town in most respects, as long as you don't live within city limits as the "progressive" taxation is horrendous.

Most people who work in Helena drive in from outlying areas like Boulder, Townsend, Montana City, Jefferson City, or from over Mac Pass in Deer Lodge, Avon or Elliston. They don't live in the city, they just work there.

East Helena is a much nicer town to live in than Helena unless you like paying high taxes and fees, living with draconian restrictions on what, how, and when you can remodel or where you park your car, how often you cut your grass, what holiday orniments you can put up and when, enjoy wall to wall political signs that seem to sprout like fungus every other year, like traffic congestion, and wish to pay twice as much for a house as you would in any of the outlying areas, then if that is what you prefer, then Helena is certainly better than East Helena.
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