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First things first. We put in for a job to move to Sparks just now. We've been looking at this forum, the city website, and around the web for some info and we pretty much like what we see. A little disappointed to see that the schooling system isn't great. It's one of the reason we'd rather leave where we are. I think we'd like it there in Sparks.
How would you compare Sparks vs. Reno?
We care more about weather, bugs, restaurants (like applebees or chilis), and playgrounds to take our young child. (Have a child on the way too. Not sure how soon we would move as far as when I'm due either!)
We don't need nightlife or casinos or a whole lot to do. Not that we're all too outdoorsy either. I do love going for walks with the stroller. Where we are, we're very close to a very nice road pretty much built for people to go walk. Everyone in town goes to it, and it's got a great view. We have no water here, so I see that Lake Tahoe is close, but I'd have to look at a map again. That'd be nice to go there! How's the water tempurature most of the year/spring-fall?
And our biggest question: How is Washoe pronounced??? I'm sitting here reading "Wa - Shoe" to my husband, and he told me he thinks it's "Wa - Shaw". (He watched more Reno 911 than I did)
The differences between the two cities are small. Some would say that Sparks is governed better. I lived in Sparks for almost 30 years and in general streets were well maintained. Sparks does have the Marina, a large man-made lake with a walking path, dog park, two beaches, concessions, and a children's play area. Also, real estate prices tend to be a bit lower than in Reno. I recommend you look in areas of Northeast Sparks, outside the McCarran loop.
And shame on Superchic for trying to ridicule someone who is just looking for a little help. Trust me, most people in Reno/Sparks are very friendly and welcoming.
[mod cut--deleted post and response] After the paperwork is done and they accept my husband in sparks, he's probably going to be held here for 90 days. I'm due July 6th!
So if they take long enough, and hold him 90 days, we might move around the time I'd be due, which would suck and be scary!
And thank you to the other two posters. [mod cut-- reference to deleted post]
Last edited by observer53; 06-01-2012 at 11:13 AM..
Any recommendations on apartments? I see some that look very very nice for a fairly cheap price, and when looking for reviews there seem to be a lot of bad ones, and just a few good ones. So far I like the looks of Vista Point, Eastland Hills, and The Bluffs.
I have lived in Dayton for 7 years but I have to drive to Reno/Sparks for any real shopping, medical attention, outdoor gear and our vet is based in Sparks. Every time I'm in Reno I never feel safe walking around. I guess the major shopping areas off Virginia and Summit Sierra are fine - but everywhere else, be prepared to arm yourself or keep vigilant about who is around you. Sparks seems okay - although I hate that huge Scheels shopping area - like a gigantic eye sore and now the developer has gone bankrupt, defaulting on the massive loans. A few years ago my son got massively sick swimming at the Sparks marina - he was even hospitalized. The Nevada State Health Department got involved and after a ton of testing they figured out he had some sickness that is usually seen in cows on infested farms! My son has been a healthy child for most of his life -but this was crazy.
Pick your neighborhood carefully - and far away from where events take place like Hot August Nights and Street Vibrations - usually several shootings every year. Sparks government is feisty - Reno wanted to anex with them or something and Sparks fought it.
It's Wash-O like previously stated. Even the state museum prounouces it this way. Keep away from Sun Valley and north areas... we had some bad experiences up there. Although some folks swear up and down it's safe. I haven't found that. Lots of gangs or wanna be gangs, even worse. Major hospitals are near by - Renown being the biggest and badest or so they would like everyone to think so. Northern Nevada Med Center, and St. Mary's.
Parks and trails - I am not as familiar with the parks in Sparks. Weekends can be crowded with long bbq's at good parks. Be careful along the major Truckee River trail - again, keep watch of what and who is around you. Moving to a Casino town means getting used to Casinos and the local government doing bowing to almighty tourist dollar. And wind - people warned me of wind when I first moved to NV. They were right. Hurricane force winds slam this basin ahead of temp changes and storms. They can force everyone to stay inside all day.
Plenty of chain restaurants, and some real good independent places to eat. Bugs are nothing like the midwest or south. But mosquitos can come out in force spring and summer evenings. Just because it's high desert, doesn't mean lots of bugs. Some regions get scorpions - the bigger yellow ones. And rattlesnakes can be common if you are close to open land or nature areas. Baby rattlers are the ones to watch for in the spring.
On the happy side - Reno just opened a new Children's Discovery Museum. We love it. It's like an oasis in a real 'adult' town.
Good for Sagewitch for taking the time to post a thoughtful, complete response. However, I do beg to differ with a few of her points. First of all, I lived in Reno/Sparks for 30 years and never felt crime was much of an issue. I was never a crime victim myself nor were any of my friends or co-workers. Basically, I feel it's a reasonably safe metropolitan area. You just have to stay away from certain areas, such as some of the ones Sagewitch mentioned.
Stay inside all day because of the winds? Give me a break! Yes, they can be an irritant on days they are bad (maybe 10% of the days) but geez, I never knew anyone who didn't go out and do their normal business.
In town, you are not going to see any scorpions or rattlesnakes. Maybe if you get into some of the outlying areas. And there are NO bugs to speak of in the area. I never saw even one mosquito at our condo in northeast Sparks (it's for rent, by the way!). Maybe a couple of tiny spiders and a few flies, that's it. Now if you do live in some of the low-lying, marshy areas then yes, you'll have mosquitos. I am talking about Del Monte Ranch, Donner Springs, Hidden Valley, etc.
Living in Houston now, I was not aware that the Legends shopping area in Sparks that has Scheel's was in bankruptcy. That is a shame because I think it brings a lot to Sparks. I don't feel it is an eyesore at all. At the time I left the area, Legends had a nice variety of stores and restaurants. Scheel's is the largest sporting goods store in the nation and is an attraction in itself. The Summit on the south side of town offers a more upscale shopping experience-- Dillard's, Apple Store, etc.
Reno-Sparks is known for its special events, although Sagewitch does not mention their huge appeal. We have Hot August Nights, the Balloon Races, the Rodeo, the Air Races, the Rib Cook-Off, and several others. Yes, I would stay away from Street Vibrations as it attracts biker gangs. The other events are extremely safe and very family-friendly, especially if you go in the daytime.
Of course the economy is bad right now, but if your husband has a firm job offer, you'll be OK. The bad Nevada economy means it's a great time to buy a house right now.
Really the only thing that I didn't like about Reno/Sparks is that it is such a small metropolitan area. I am more of a city guy and that's why we're in Houston now. I still recommend Reno-Sparks if you want a small, safe, family-oriented community.
I have lived in the N. Valleys for 16 years. I do not feel the need to arm myself to go into town to go shopping. Gheesh, that is a bit extreme IMO. While Street Vibrations did have some issues last year with some of the known violent motorcycle groups from OUT OF THE AREA, the special events here, and there are a lot of them, generally are lots of fun to attend. I don't feel unsafe in this town at all.
All cities will have their "issues" and areas to avoid living in, Reno/Sparks is no exeption but it does not speak for the city as a whole.
The developer of Legends did go bankrupt but from what I have heard Scheels is a privately owned company and stands on it own. The developer went bankrupt to restructure the debt. No one could have predicted the severe economic collapse that has hit this area hard when the Legends complex was designed and developed. They continue to try and continue with the development process and I for one think the Scheels is a great attraction. There is not a single store in the entire N. Nevada area that has the kind of customer service that can be found at Scheels, they are truly friendly.
renorich1950 - you make good points but this area has slid downhill in only the past couple years. I have been frequenting the Reno and Tahoe areas for 20 years, but have lived in this region for 7. Because of the over development of the desert - and now houses and lots flapping in the breeze - a lot of the loose dirt and ground disruption can get pretty horrific in bad winds. Since Sparks and Reno are more land locked - they don't get the bad dust storms that the outskirts get. I know people in Fernley, Silver Springs, north of Reno, that have to replace windshields on their car once a year due to severe pitting.
If the winds are under 40mph - that's considering nice and tame. I'm talking about 50mph +. And Dayton has seen 100mph before. Gusts over Mount Rose can reach 125mph. +
Hot August nights is a mindset - you need to be attracted to that sort of event to attend and I question whether it could be called family friendly, at least for small kids. We were yelled profanities at because my son almost touched someone's buffed out, pristine car.
And the air races - well - that caused massive death last year. THey have reinstated it - and it will be the perfect storm again for another crash.
If you are near parks, near open land - you will encounter critters. Ask anyone who lives near open space. The interior of Reno - I guess you can forget that. Deer mice are common as well. The mosquitoes and bugs depend on the season and how much rain and snow came down. And like I said, unless you are active outdoors in the evening, you may not notice a bug. Carson City, only 30 minutes south, has a few bears that cause problems every year.
Legends is a huge urban sprawl with the awful Scheels at the center point. Scheels is more of a department store of Walmart-type goods. It would take me a long page to explain. Outside - there is an open strip mall type shopping area with upscale stores and high price tags. Best Buy looms out in front, and Target is behind it. But legends itself overestimated how many people would come shop on a consistent basis and how many retailers would flock to the area.
As for crime - https://www.crimereports.com/ Reno/Sparks has a lot of sex offenders, car thefts and home invasions. Read the rgj.com you'll find plenty of this "Road rage shooting reported in old southwest Reno early today" "Three men indicted for fatal beating of Reno 20-year-old" "Reno 19-year-old allegedly tries to run over cop after robbery, leads police on chase".
And while any big city experienced lots of crime - you have a 1 in 188 chance of being a victim of a vilolent crime in Reno. 1 out of 28 people will experience a property crime. Total annual crimes, both violent and property is 8998. Consider that the Truckee Meadows area has a population of 400,000. Reno is only 220,500. The unemployment is 11.9% and has risen slightly. Some areas the figure is grossly higher.
And schools lump at the bottom of the list for the nation. Heroin permeates the high schools - ask RPD or Washoe Sheriff's office. Drug are in every town, school and city but there has been a particularly high problem with heroin and youth in schools. Addicted kids are being sent out of the state for treatments, as there aren't adequate centers here.
So you really have to take the bad with the good and see if it's worth it.
I've given this area everything I have, and now I'm moving in 5 or 6 months. Never before have I come across so many perverted, rude, aggressive and deceptive people in my entire life and I have traveled around many states, places big and small.
SageWitch might I suggest you leave now instead of in 5-6 months since you hate it so much. Didn't you also mention you live in Dayton? Dayton is an armpit compared to Reno/Sparks. Home of the working ladies trailer
parks, warehouses and not much else. You yourself said you have to come to Reno for everything yet you don't live here.
Good luck in finding a city of 350K or so that is utopia with no crime, no vermin, no weather issues, no incidents etc.
The air race crash was horrific but it was the first spectator involved crash in 40 years.
I have been taking my kids to Hot AUgust Nights, the Rib CookOff, the Air Races and the balloon races for the past 18 years. I will continue to do so.
The only point I agree with you on is the schools. They are pretty bad and ranked way down towards the bottom on the national comparison charts.
Comparing Wal-Mart to Scheels is laughable. They are not on the same planet.
The Reno/Sparks area has been hit hard by the recession. Unemployment is high, housing prices continue to fall, the foreclosue mess has not even peaked here and the job growth forecast is dismal. Those are realities of N. NV the rest is rather subjective and very opinion based depending on what one is used to, what one will tolerate and what actually concerns someone.
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