Moving to AZ from GA? Helpful advice needed! (Phoenix, Glendale: transplants, cliquey)
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My husband has the possibility of a job transfer to Phoenix, AZ. We have been in Atlanta, GA for about the past five years and lived in Southern California for the rest. We are, in fact, West Coast residents. Transferring to ATL five years ago was a huge adjustment for us and one, quite honestly, that we weren't sure was the best move for us. After a couple of years and making some friends here, we like it quite a lot.
Both sides of our families, however, are on the West Coast. Getting to see them requires airline travel that, with two young children, is proving to be quite expensive. Although one side of the family has visited us quite often, the other has never made the trip. So, being a day-long car drive away from everyone is seeming rather appealing to us.
The area we are looking at is Litchfield Park. What can you tell us about this? Schools? Housing? Just everything you can think of. We also had Anthem mentioned by some neighbors you relocated to the Southeast as well.
We realize that taking a weekend trip to AZ would be adviseable, but quite honestly, we likely would have to act on this fairly quickly, so we don't really have the luxury of deliberating on this for too long.
Can you all help us in this regard?
Elizabeth A. Genge
Last edited by observer53; 06-16-2011 at 10:08 AM..
Litchfield Park is a very nice part of the metro - the schools are as good as you're going to find out here (which aren't fantastic, but if you are an involved parent in a community of involved parents you'll do fine with them)
It's a nice community, but one thing to caution is that not everything with a LP address is actually in the city of LP. There is a lot of unincorporated county land that needs a city attached to the mailing address and they get assigned a LP mailing address. Some of these areas are fine, some of them are not as favorable as the surrounding area. Pretty much all of it will feel more like the surrounding cities (glendale, goodyear, avondale, phoenix) than LP proper.
One thing to note the size of the metro out here - it's massive. LP has good freeway access and it's really easy to get to many places. However, commutes can add up the further east or north you need to go. If you get a job in the scottsdale airpark, chandler, etc you may end up getting miserable really fast and there are plenty of other really nice communities that may be more convenient.
With non-rush hour traffic you can get to sky harbor airport in about 30 minutes and downtown a touch over 20 minutes .... getting to southern CA is a snap as you just hop on 10 west and go from there, being on the western part of the city it can cut an hour off the drive from some other locations
The housing in LP proper is a little older, is within the walled in portion of LP near the wigwam resort, their little main street and also within the walls is the community center, library, some parks, etc. They have a few festivals throughout the year along their main stretch that are pretty nice. The Wigwam resort has a little farmers market every sunday on the lawn and puts on events for the major holidays (some you will need to pay for, some such as the 4th of july fireworks you'll be able to enjoy from your home/street/local park)
There are a couple developments that are outside of LP that are your newer tract type developments you'll find in most of the metro
I wouldn't limit yourself to just LP though in the southwest valley. Goodyear is nice as are parts of Avondale and one of the Buckeye developments.
Again, a lot will depend on what you do, where you work and what you are looking for in a community. Estrella (formerly Estrella Mountain Ranch) is a nice master planned community tucked into the estrella mountains in Goodyear. Verrado is a nice master planned community on the edge of the white tank mountains in buckeye. In between are a lot of standard developments.
Which brings me to schools. We generally do not have unified districts out here. Most of the SW Valley is within the Agua Fria HS district. Below will get you to the current boundaries.
Millenium is the best thought of school in that district. There are parts of northern avondale that will get you into that school. However, if you go across the street you can end up at Agua Fria which isn't as nice. All of LP proper is zoned into Millenium HS.
There are multiple school districts that serve the SW Valley. The best overall is the litchfield park ESD. Overall it's a very good district, although there are a couple schools that are a little more challenging. They are some of the newer ones closer to the air force base and tend to be on the north and eastern portion of the district. All of Goodyear north of I-10, all of LP and part of avondale north of I-10 are zone into this district. The schools in Verrado are part of the LP ESD and Agua Fria HS Districts despite carrying a buckeye address.
South of I-10 you are generally dealing with the avondale ESD.
Estrella complicates matters a bit more. There schools are generally really nice. The elementary schools are in the Liberty District and the highschool is part of the Buckeye Union HSD. However, it performs well and is probably the star of the district due to the community it's located in.
Anthem isn't a bad community - but unless you are working in the northern part of the metro it's probably even more isolated than anything you'll find in the SW valley and is further away from CA. We had a few sets of friends relocate there from the NW valley when that community was booming.
You can get some info on services provided within LP at their webpage - there is a section for residents, including a portion for new residents
Of the SW Valley cities, Goodyear probably has the most robust recreation program - however, you can generally access it even if you are a resident of one of the other SW Valley cities - sometimes for an additional fee, sometimes not ........ the big community park in goodyear actually backs up against avondale neighborhoods, we have friends who walk over there all the time for various things
I took the liberty of making the type in your post bigger and darker, it was REALLY hard to read.
Litchfield Park is a nice area. The older part inside the wall is nice, as are the newer neighborhoods which carry a Litchfield Park address. I don't know where your husband's office is located, but it could be a relatively long commute. More so with Anthem, which is quite a way out to the north, and access to Phoenix only by I-17, essentially. Rent, rent, rent until you get a feel for where you really want to be.
I know you said you have to act on this quickly, but make sure its what you want to do before you move. Arizona is a very transient state. People move here and move out frequently for one reason or another, because of this many parts of arizona lose that sense of community that you get in many southern states. People here tend to stick to themselves and do what they need to do without a lot of social interaction. Not to say people here are unkind or rude, but it will be different from that "southern hospitality" you might be used to. Another thing is the job market here has been hit hard, harder than most states. We border Nevada which is #1 for unemployment and our economic recovery here is projected to be slower than many of the other 50 states. I would hate for your family to move out here for your husband to find himself unemployed, so make sure the job is stable first and foremost. The company I work for recently had to lay of the majority of it's workforce and those of us who stayed had to take a 16% pay cut. Another thing I would consider is education for your children. I'm not sure where GA lies but AZ was ranked #2 for worst public education in the nation. I don't mean to discourage your move, just some things to consider. I went to Jr High and High School here and loved the education I recieved. I made a lot of solid friendships and most of my family is here or in California. I understand being close to family is important (it is why we moved here in the first place too). Finger Laker made many good points especially how easy it is to travel here and to-and-from California. I wish the best for you and your family, God Bless, and good luck with the move!
Yes, definitely your dh's work commute would be a good starting point.
I wish we would have started out in the Chandler/Gilbert area since it seems all of the kids activites are located there. The Kyrene school district in Chandler is tops, too.
Top school districts would be Gilbert, then Chandler and Deer Valley is in the top tier somewhere. DVUSD would be the northern Glendale and way northern Phoenix areas. I believe this information is on either Great Schools.net or any other school review website.
I completely agree on the making friendships comment and I've been here 8 years. It seems that people either keep to theirselves (possibly since they are only here temporarily like half of the population here - waiting to go back to their hometown) or travel in packs. i.e. ds joined a baseball team and we were the only non-friends to join the team. Talk about uncomfortable, not to mention how rude they were to us since we weren't part of their clique (could be an entirely separate post in itself). Yes, 30 and 40 something moms are very cliquey. It's so jeuvenille, I can't tell you my level of frustration, but it's my kids I feel for since they don't have friends. I know someone here who does this. She and her numerous friends will enroll their kids in an activity and the poor other couple souls who enroll their kids will be the odd guys out. They did this in preschool too, all enrolled in the same class.
I've turned into a" keep to myself person" lately (even though I'm a very sociable person), it just seems to work better that way. ~Probably why I spend so much time on chat boards while waiting to return to my hometown, lol!
I have had just the opposite experience. While most of my good friends out here are natives, i've also made friends with transplants who are in the same situation.
Yes, there are cliques and I can verify that some of the mom clubs are like this - but not everything you run across will be like that .... we've made acquantaince with a lot of the families in my daughters gymnastics class .... wouldn't call them friends yet, but they could be if we wanted to put in the effort
If anything I've found that the transient nature leads to less long term cliques - you'll definitely encounter them here, but it isn't like moving into a neighborhood like where my wife grew up in MN - where everyone bought in new 25 years ago and nobody really leaves .... on the off chance that someone dies, moves out, etc the person who steps in is immediately judged in comparison to the person they are replacing in the neighborhood dynamic ....... in general there is less neighborhood gossip than i've encountered elsewhere and less of an outsider "freeze"
I think experience will be impacted by many different things though and mileage will vary - however, if you have never had issue making friends in other moves I don't see why you would here
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