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Old 05-04-2011, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Colorado
315 posts, read 185,548 times
Reputation: 252
Default Yet Another Maybe Moving to Omaha Thread

Good morning,

I know there are already a bunch of “maybe moving to Omaha threads,” but I have several specific questions. I have already searched all over this site, though I may have missed some threads, so please forgive me if I’m asking what’s already been asked!

My husband has an interview for a position at Offutt, AFB. If he gets/takes it, we’d be moving in from the DC area. We’re in just about the last rural enclave in the area, but we’re interested in more of an urban/walkable/bikeable lifestyle. From everything I’ve read the Dundee area seems to be exactly what we’re looking for. I’ve been poring over real estate in the area, and trying to find out everything I can about the schools. As for me, I’m currently a software analyst, but I’m planning on going back to school for a non-cubicle career, so the proximity to UN Omaha and UNMC is fabulous as well.

As for weather, differences in lifestyle, etc., my husband and I both grew up in Wisconsin, so we have a decent idea what we’re in for in the Midwest. I’m trying to not let “the Smithsonian factor” influence me too much – it’s such a pain to do anything up in the city that we just don’t go very often. I’m more concerned with daily life issues.

On to the questions…

I can find a lot of houses *for sale* in Dundee and the surrounding area, but when I search recent sales on various real estate websites (to view actual home prices), I see zilch. In fact, I see only a small handful of sales anywhere north of about Harrison St., whereas there are hundreds of sales south of that line. I find that highly unlikely. What’s going on here? Does Omaha have some weird disclosure laws with regards to home sales? Does anybody know where I can find better data on recent home sales, price per square foot, etc? We’d probably rent for a few months until we could sell our Maryland home, but finding the lifestyle we want at an affordable price is going to be a factor in our decision to take any job offer. Asking price and sale price in MD tend to be quite different – is that true in Omaha?

And now the all-important schools questions.... I’ve done my research on greatschools.org, but I know that realistically it only gives part of the picture. In my experience, greatschools gives a better view of the socio-economic status of the residents in the area than on the quality of education in the schools. The best scores in Omaha seem to be in the suburban areas, but I’m a firm believer that kids lose something when they have to spend their entire childhood being shuttled everywhere in mom’s car. On the flip side, I don’t want to end up in a truly rotten school district.

Dundee elementary and the middle schools around the area don’t seem to get great scores, but what’s the word-on-the-street info about the quality of the schools for kids who have involved parents? My kids are starting Kindergarten and first grade in the fall, so high school is a long way off, but we don’t want to ignore that. It seems to me, from reading this forum that Central has its problems, but if you’re a bright kid with parents who stay on you, it’s a good school. I’ve also been reading about the magnet program at North with interest – my six year old already wants to be “a rocket engineer”. For those of you who know engineers, you’ll know what I mean when I say that he has the knack. I understand that North isn’t in the greatest neighborhood, but it also seems that for people used to DC and Baltimore, it’s not that big of a deal.

I also understand that you have an element of school choice in Omaha. Does it really work out that way? Are the waiting lists for the supposedly best schools long and difficult to get through?

I appreciate everybody’s feedback!

Charlotte
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Old 05-04-2011, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Omaha
467 posts, read 716,863 times
Reputation: 175
You can use Home DC Assessor to find the valuation on any home in Douglas County. I think that Dundee Elementary is an excellent school.
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Old 05-04-2011, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Omaha, NE
305 posts, read 325,119 times
Reputation: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by laserdisque View Post
You can use Home DC Assessor to find the valuation on any home in Douglas County. I think that Dundee Elementary is an excellent school.
Also the DC Assessor will list purchase history, including sale price in the property description. I don't think their database allows you to search by recent sale though. Although, if you look around using the GIS map, you might be able to find some comparable sales that are recent.
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Old 05-04-2011, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,298 posts, read 5,924,013 times
Reputation: 1106
From what I know, Dundee Elementary is fine. Lewis and Clark Middle School is a bit sketchy but by then you'd have been in town for a good 5 years so who knows what could change in that time. North Highschool's magnet program is great from what I've heard and so long as you stay involved in your child's life they will be fine. And North Omaha is pretty safe so long as you A. Aren't involved in gangs/drugs or B. Aren't walking around in the middle of the night. But the thing about Omaha schools is that they all have something unique to offer, so I encourage you to explore your options.

As for Rentals, it could be because Dundee is such a popular area in the city that is older and more established where as areas south of Harrison are almost entirely suburban built in the last 20-30 years or so.
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:02 PM
 
772 posts, read 645,697 times
Reputation: 182
Dundee is likely about as walkable/bikeable community as you can find in Omaha, but sadly that is not saying much. I am a year round commuter cyclist from south Omaha and have never owned a motor vehicle. While most motorists will tolerate cyclists there are a lot that would sooner run you down. Things are getting better, even in just the last 3 years. We are getting our first commuter bike lanes and now have a pedestrian and bicycling coordinator.

Visit these sites for information of walking and cycling in Omaha and if you have questions feel free to pm me or contact any bike store in Omaha (I would try greenstreet Cycles on mike fahey street first)
Activate Omaha
Omaha Bikes
Omaha Trails
http://www.facebook.com/omahabikes


Greenstreet cycles (very friendly people and locally owned)
Welcome to Greenstreet Cycles in Downtown Omaha

Lastly. Omaha has no truly "rotten school district". I know some argue this, but each district has it's highs and lows. While you may gain something in western school districts, you loose the diversity of the schools on the east side.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Colorado
315 posts, read 185,548 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by laserdisque View Post
You can use Home DC Assessor to find the valuation on any home in Douglas County. I think that Dundee Elementary is an excellent school.
Good morning all,

Thanks for the DC Assessor link. I'll try to see if I can make it work to find home sales.

I'm not sure if this link will work, but here's an example of the home sales oddity that I found on zillow:
http://www.zillow.com/homes/omaha,-ne_rb/#/homes/recently_sold/Omaha-NE/40152_rid/41.356015,-95.879631,41.158315,-96.363029_rect/10_zm/

I just realized this morning that what I saw as a Harrison St. boundary is actually the boundary between Sarpy and Douglas counties. There must be some sort of reporting rules differences. No real estate agents on the board?

I've seen "Dundee is an excellent school" on this board a few times. Can anybody elaborate? Has anybody sent their kids there? What about other elementary schools nearby?

Thank you!
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Colorado
315 posts, read 185,548 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raphael07 View Post
From what I know, Dundee Elementary is fine. Lewis and Clark Middle School is a bit sketchy but by then you'd have been in town for a good 5 years so who knows what could change in that time. North Highschool's magnet program is great from what I've heard and so long as you stay involved in your child's life they will be fine. And North Omaha is pretty safe so long as you A. Aren't involved in gangs/drugs or B. Aren't walking around in the middle of the night. But the thing about Omaha schools is that they all have something unique to offer, so I encourage you to explore your options.
Thanks! It really does seem like the biggest factor, in the Omaha area, at least, is parental involvement. That's a good thing to know.

I worry about saying "a lot can change in 5 years...". That's what we said when we moved to our current neighborhood! Well, we're tickled with our son's kindergarten teacher, but not all of the teachers at our school are so great. And our middle school is horrid.

By sketchy, what do you mean? Fights, or bad teachers? Lack of music and arts programs? Lack of after school activities? Do you have any experience or knowledge of the school choice program?

I appreciate your input. It's much more useful than NCLB scores!
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Colorado
315 posts, read 185,548 times
Reputation: 252
Quote:
Originally Posted by harshbarj View Post
Dundee is likely about as walkable/bikeable community as you can find in Omaha, but sadly that is not saying much. I am a year round commuter cyclist from south Omaha and have never owned a motor vehicle. While most motorists will tolerate cyclists there are a lot that would sooner run you down. Things are getting better, even in just the last 3 years. We are getting our first commuter bike lanes and now have a pedestrian and bicycling coordinator.

Visit these sites for information of walking and cycling in Omaha and if you have questions feel free to pm me or contact any bike store in Omaha (I would try greenstreet Cycles on mike fahey street first)
Activate Omaha
Omaha Bikes
Omaha Trails
Omaha Bikes | Facebook


Greenstreet cycles (very friendly people and locally owned)
Welcome to Greenstreet Cycles in Downtown Omaha

Lastly. Omaha has no truly "rotten school district". I know some argue this, but each district has it's highs and lows. While you may gain something in western school districts, you loose the diversity of the schools on the east side.

While I’m hoping for a walkable/rideable neighborhood, I am realistic in my expectations of what can be found in almost any American city. We could all do better, but it sounds as if Omaha could do a whole lot worse. And it’s certainly better than what I’m used to now! I used to bike to work here, until a semi ran me off the road and I decided that I’d rather slowly kill myself in my car. I don’t know if you’re familiar at all with the DC area, but the equivalent neighborhood around here to Dundee/Happy Hollow seems to be parts of Arlington – where a small house with no basement costs $800k. Oof.

Here’s a long shot question for you… Can you get to Offutt AFB via surface streets? I know bike lanes would be a lot to ask, but my husband was wondering if he at least *could* make the trip. Google maps makes it look doable. I’m not sure that he’d be willing to do some 15 miles in a morning, but he’s also still thinking that Belleview and Papillion are worth looking at.

Appreciate the links - thank you!
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Middleburg
837 posts, read 757,763 times
Reputation: 305
I lived in Fairfax, VA for a few years, and I can tell you the biggest factor to deter you from bicycling here in Omaha is the weather. While you can ride your bike in Northern VA nearly year-round, in Omaha you're only going to want to ride it about 10 days of the year. Either strong winds, extreme heat, or extreme cold will make you say "lets take the car today". Unless you are married to Lance Armstrong, he will not want to ride his bike from Dundee to Offutt more than once. The walkability within Dundee is excellent, though, and it is even more-so downtown.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Omaha
467 posts, read 716,863 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainMen View Post
I lived in Fairfax, VA for a few years, and I can tell you the biggest factor to deter you from bicycling here in Omaha is the weather. While you can ride your bike in Northern VA nearly year-round, in Omaha you're only going to want to ride it about 10 days of the year. Either strong winds, extreme heat, or extreme cold will make you say "lets take the car today". Unless you are married to Lance Armstrong, he will not want to ride his bike from Dundee to Offutt more than once.
That may be how you feel about biking in Omaha but I have 5-10 friends who bike year round or nearly year round and love it.
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