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Lawton is what you can make of it and deal with.
It is much like any other small town trying to act like a big city. With Ft. Sill growing every year, last 5-10 years it has gotten better, but there are still some areas to stay away from if possible.
Living areas to stay away from:
South of Lee Blvd. between 11th Street and 38th.
North of Cache Rd. between Ft. Sill Blvd. and 27th
North of Cache Rd. between 38th St and 52nd St.
Most of the other areas are ok, just have to really check out the rental house and neighborhood before renting. Even though areas look great, the neighbors maybe Dr. Jeckal/ Mr. Hyde type.
More shopping centers and fast food restaurants have opened up over the last few years, but that seems to be slowing down some with economy struggling everywhere.
Lawton is an absolute cesspool, avoid it all cost.
I moved just outside of Lawton in 2012 and lived there until 2014. I thought it would be a nice, peaceful, quiet small-city, because it's located way out in the middle of nowhere SW Oklahoma. I had never lived next to a military base before and didn't realize all the scumbags and general trashiness that they attract. There's just a lot of lowlife people that are attracted to Lawton, you have white-trash methheads, rowdy soldiers, black gangbangers, lots of overweight Comanches who don't seem to work or contribute anything to society. There's always tons of crime, it seemed like every other day someone was getting murdered there. A lot of people who come to Lawton are transients so there was never a real sense of community or pride in the city. The schools in Lawton are subpar, so hopefully you don't have children attending them. Speaking of children, I've never seen so many parents beat their children out in public until I came to Lawton. And there were daily stories in the Lawton Constitution about someone getting arrested for child abuse.
Everything is overpriced and inflated because of Ft. Sill. If you're paying $700 a month, I guarantee youre staying someplace run-down and nasty. There are no good grocery stores, and food prices are sky-high. There's really no decent restaurants for a town that size either. Everything is geared towards young military men, so there are lots of payday loan stores, fast food chains, tattoo parlors, "massage" parlors, etc. I had moved there because I got a new job making much more money than I made in Texas, but I never could save any money because the cost of living was higher.
Weather in that area is pretty bad too. It is extremely hot and dry in the summer, always a risk of tornadoes in the spring, and winters are much colder than I would have expected.
The only good thing about Lawton is that it's close to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge which is surprisingly beautiful and scenic. Outside of that there is no natural beauty surrounding the area, it's just wide open plains. If you're set on moving to that area I would recommend living outside of Lawton in Cache or Elgin.
Last edited by justinjj1; 05-25-2016 at 08:23 AM..
I would take the previous post with the proverbial grain of salt. Some people can't post anything without hyperbole. It's not paradise, but there are decent areas. With some reductions in jobs and overbuilding there is a glut in some areas for housing. I rented a very nice 3 BR 2 BA off NE 35th and Flower Mound a few years back when housing was tight for $800 a month. In my neighborhood now there's a 4 BR 3 BA 2500 sqft for $1200 (on 3.5 acres) so they're available. As for COL, I don't understand the post, it's less expensive than OKC or DFW. Maybe a bad personal experience, I wouldn't base a relocation on one curmudgeonly post; j67bubba's post is a better take.
There are several walmarts here, with all the food variety and quality that you could possibly ask for. the "mountain" is a mere 3000ft and other than some bison, there's nothing out there at all. it's way too hot and dry here (most years) I can't wait to get out, but my wife has to finish a year at the nursing college first.
Actually, the mountain isn't even 3000 ft. Less than 2500 feet (and only 1200 or so feet of relief). However to appreciate the Wichitas you have to get out of your car and get into them. There are some interesting spots, but perhaps the most interesting thing about the Wichitas is the fact that they are geologically, along with the Oklahoma Arbuckles, the oldest mountains in North America. So old in fact that they are not tall enough to even be mountains anymore.
Here ya go - This is going to be long (SORRY)
Things about Lawton
If you have a degree of some sorts, then you should be able to find a job here.
If you have a certain skill set, then you should be able to find a job here
Plenty of Jobs on Ft. Sill that are available, either as a Government employee or as a Contractor working for a Company that has a contract to work on Ft. Sill.
Goodyear Tire Plant - Largest in the World and is in process of expanding to add more jobs
Bar-S-Food - makes Hot Dogs and more
End Result - There are plenty of other jobs out there for the taking - if you want to work!
- 2 Super Walmart's, 1 Walmart Neighborhood Market, Sam's Club (Lawton to small for Costco)
- Super Kmart, Target, Kohl's, Academy Sports, Dick's Sporting Goods, Staples, Office Depot
- Lowe's, Home Depot, Harbor Freight, Atwood's, Tractor Supply, Sutherlands
- Several CVS Pharmacy's, Several Walgreen's
- The Central Mall with Sears, JC Penny's, Dillard's, Old Navy and other common mall stores plus a Movie Theater with 12 screens
- Different Local stores with all types of styles and types to suit your needs.
End result - your typical places to go shopping for items of need or want
Texas Roadhouse, Chili's, Applebee's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse
Santa Fe Steakhouse, Wayne's Drive Inn, Cracker Barrel, Mike's Sports Grill, Buffalo Wild Wings
Jack-n-The-Box, Several Whataburger's, Several McDonald's, Several Burger Kings
Several Taco Bells, Several Sonic Drive Inn's, Several Oriental places, Several different pizza places
Several Ethnic style places, Several Mexican/Tex-Mex Places
End result - We would like to have more "Quality" style places to eat beside the typical fast food places - but it is what is. FYI - Panera Bread, TGI Friday's and Macaroni Grill are a few places I personally wouldn't mind coming to Lawton
3 High Schools - Lawton High (Middle of town), MacArthur (East Side of Town) and Eisenhower (West Side of town)
Lawton High is the largest in students attending while the other two are about the same size in students.
Lawton High is considered 6A in all sports and activities while the other two are 5A (6A in Oklahoma is the largest class)
4 Middle Schools (not called Jr. High anymore)
Central Middle School (Next to Lawton High), Tomlinson (Middle of town to the West of Central Middle), MacArthur Middle School (next to MacArthur High School on the East Side of town) and Eisenhower Middle School (Next to Eisenhower High on West side of town)
Several Middle School - Each caters to specific areas of town. Recently the school board closed some school due to lack of funds and students attending.
Cameron University - NCAA II College.
End Result - The Lawton Public School system has gotten a bad reputation about having poor education system. Well I personally don't believe it is the school fault for most of that. The kids and the parents of those kids need to take some of the responsibility for what also goes on in the schools. It should be up to the student to get good grades, not the teacher. They do have ways of helping students that are having issues with learning and they will help them, but the student is the one that has to want that help.
Police department is way under staffed. So that doesn't help.
Gangs in Lawton - Yes. What town the size of Lawton with a military base next to it doesn't have this problem. The police do track where they are located and if they do something wrong, the police do catch them.
End result - Crime is crime no matter what town you are in the size of Lawton. Could it be better - YES, but in all my years living in this area, I have not been a victim of a crime nor have I been the other. Live right, treat others right and be treated right in return.
Yes, there is low income rent housing around Lawton that should be torn down. There is also some really nice rent housing too. One only has to look at their budget and determine what they can or can't afford as well as the location of those areas. Don't expect to live in a really nice area with a limited budget.
I know of nice rent houses that are 2 bedroom/1 bath for $700 - $800 in an nice quite older part of Lawton, while there are some that are the same style house that rent for $500 in bad neighborhoods too. Had a friend renting a house in an older neighborhood for $1,100 a month that was 4 bedroom/2 bath/2 car garage with a typical size 1/2 acre yard.
End result - You have to figure out what you can afford and then do your own research about the neighborhood the house is in. Not all houses are in bad, run down areas.
[/u]Purchasing a House -[/u]
Really depends on what you are looking for. Yard size, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and more.
If you are looking for a yard bigger than 1/2 - 1 acre with the houses spread apart a little then you might need to look to places outside of Lawton (Geronimo, Wichita Mountain Estates, Medicine Park, Elgin, Faxon just to name a few)
End result - You can find some really nice gems in Lawton and surrounding areas if you are wanting to buy a house, just have to be patient while looking.
Things to do
People always complain that there is nothing to do in Lawton - Well, what are you wanting to do? If you are from a big city then yeah, there is nothing to do, but if you open your eyes, there is plenty of things to do in and around Lawton.
Lawton has several festivals that are free to the public to attend, a Farmers Market in the spring and summer months for someone to get fresh veggies from the local farmers and more.
Wichita Mountains - Just north of Lawton
As someone said, park of the Oldest Mountain ranges in North America. Bufflo, Elk, Longhorn Steer and Deer roam free in this area. You can go on Nature hikes for miles, Go Fishing in many of the lakes, enjoy a nice picnic in nature, rock climbing, bike riding and more.
Lake Lawtonka & Lake Ellsworth - Both are Just north of Lawton
Go fishing, swimming, boating, sailing, jet skiing at these lakes all year round (almost)
Medicine Park - little historic town just north of Lawton, has a Couple restaurants, swimming hole, and some sort event happens almost every month that is free to attend.
Great Plains Museum - in Lawton
Really nice place to see some of the history on display about SW Oklahoma.
Comanche Nation Water Park - In Lawton
Several water slides, wave pool, lazy river and more
Apache Casino & Comanche Casino - In Lawton
Lawton Speedway - Dirt Track that has races every Saturday night.
Several Golf courses in the Lawton area - If you are into that sort of thing.
Outside of Lawton -
- Winery's - They are everywhere. Go visit a few on the weekend, they have tours and you can find maps to them all.
- Duncan (40 miles) - Really nice Golf Course and Casino
- Altus (60 Miles)- Air Force Base there - Cool to see the big planes doing touch and goes during the day
- Quarts Mountain Lodge/Lake Lugert (80 miles) - Really nice lake (when it has water in it) Lodge is really nice too. Fishing, rock climbing (Baldy Point), camping and more.
- Wichita Falls, Tx (60 miles) - Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame just moved there, River Bend Nature Center some different restaurants that Lawton doesn't have - Chedders and On The Border to name a couple.
- Norman, Ok (75 miles) - Riverwind Casino (really nice with great Concerts), OU everything!
- Oklahoma City (79 miles) - Bricktown, Concerts, Thunder Basketball, Minor League Baseball (Dodgers), Minor League Soccer - (2 teams), Minor League Hockey (Blazers), Museums, Remington Park Horse Races, Zoo, Frontier City Amusement Park, Wet and Wild Water park and more
- Little Sarah State Park - 1,600 acres of sand dunes for 4-wheelers and camping
- Tulsa - (186 miles) - Minor League Hockey, Concerts and more
- Dallas/Ft.Worth - (200 miles) - Six Flags over Texas, Hurricane Harbor Water Park, Texas Rangers baseball, Dallas Cowboys football, Dallas Starts hockey, Several Minor League sports teams, Concerts, NASCAR Races, Zoo's and more.
End result - if you can't find something to do in this part of the country, then you are not looking to do anything or you are dead!
FINALLY THE END
Look - in a nutshell - is Lawton perfect - NO, never said it was. Is it as bad as some make it out to be, NO.
Lawton or just about any other town is what you make of it.
If all you do is complain about things then yes, Lawton or just about any other town you are in will never be good enough for you.
I have been in the Lawton area for just about all my life. Do I see where changes can be made to make it a better place, YES I do, and some of those changes are being made - it just takes this town a little longer than most to get stuff done.
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