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Old 03-12-2008, 07:51 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
5 posts, read 8,693 times
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My husband has put in for an opening in the SLC area of Utah. If he gets the transfer, it would mean a promotion, a raise, and an inside job--no more night and weekend work and no more business trips. He works hard and if he gets this job he really does deserve to be able to accept it. It would mean we wouldn't have so many dinners apart and he wouldn't have to miss so many of our daughters' activities. A definite plus!

Still, I have my concerns. We've never lived further west than Pittsburgh, and in fact lived most of our life in Philadelphia where my husband and I grew up. Even during our too brief stay in Virginia Beach, it just so happened that our neighbors were from NJ and had family in Philly, so we shared a lot of the same background. I am also concerned about my daughters' adjustment to this move. It would be the third one in about six years, not unusual in my husband's line of work but maybe hard on the girls. I'm not overly concerned about their schooling if we do move, as I've noticed that there will be a new cyber-charter school opening this year. Still, I might need to know about the local public and charter schools in the towns surrounding SLC in case they want to experiment with brick and mortar classrooms. I am also concerned about my older daughters' adjustment in this area. They are African-American, and while the area we are in now is nowhere near as diverse as VAB, we have had no problems with acceptance within this community. Would we face problems as an interracial adoptive family in Utah? Further, what if we decide to foster again and our foster child(ren) is/are of still another race, as is possible?

I'm not terribly concerned with LSD/non-LSD issues. If people like us for who we are and want to associate with us, great! If not, so be it. As a stay at home/cyber-school/gymnastics/ballet/soccer/girl scout mom, I simply haven't the time to worry over that. As far as any "blue" laws regulating alchohol, I couldn't really care less. I rarely drink anything stronger than a Dr Pepper myself anyway. My husband may feel a little pinch as he occasionally enjoys a beer with his co-workers, but I think even that pales compared to the attraction of having regular hours and no travel.

Anyway, to prepare if we get the call, I've begun researching the area a little. I'm pretty sure I'm not interested in SLC itself. Although I grew up in a big city, I'm not sure we're so interested in city-life anymore. We'd much prefer a smaller town if we can find one we like. I've noted a few with ELCA Churches--Jordan, Ogden, Tooele, and Bountiful. I've also noticed that Bountiful has a public library and a community center with a pool. I also noted a gymnastics studio and (if memory serves) a dance studio there. I didn't notice any girls' soccer or girl scout information, but hopefully something to that effect is available in the area.

I've also noticed that a great many homes don't have formal dining rooms. Is this something common in that area? I don't entertain often, but do keep a full formal dining room for bigger meals when family visits. Further, I noticed that some of the homes listed say "pets accepted." Are there homeowners associations which can regulate that you can't have a dog in a home you own? I can understand this type of regulation if you are renting, but when you own the home it seems a bit too much. We do have a dog, and might even plan to get another if we can find a place with a nice fenced yard.

If my husband does get offered the job we'll pretty much have to be prepared to accept of decline on the spot. Also if he gets the job, when we do our house-hunting trip we'll have very little time (less than two weeks) to find a house, put in a bid, and get accepted so we'd need to know specifically what areas we want to look in and be prepared for a whirlwind househunting trip.

Right now there are a lot of "ifs," but I always feel better if I prepare myself just in case. Also, that would allow me to prepare our children, again just in case.

Anyway, thank you in advance for any and all help.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
515 posts, read 2,115,591 times
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Why don't you rent first, even if only for a few months, and then take your time exploring the area before you commit to buying something? If he is working in SLC, Ogden is a bit of a haul. I'm not there yet so I can't be of much help, but I don't think you'll have much problem in most of the area in terms of race.
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Old 03-12-2008, 09:48 PM
 
Location: The other side of the mountain
2,447 posts, read 5,918,877 times
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I live in Tooele and there really isn't much in the way of gymnastics here in the county. My eldest daughter competed in gymnastics at a facility in Bountiful. The dance studios are plenty here in Tooele though.

There are several families that I know that have African/American children that are adopted. I haven't seen it to be an issue. By and large, I think Utah as a whole is a pretty accepting state. Mixed race children are also common here.

We live in Stansbury Park and have a homeowner's association and it doesn't dictate that dogs are not allowed. I think that is more common in a condo association rather than single family homes.

Soccer is plentiful in Utah. My youngest is very active in the local soccer club. Girl scouts also!

Good luck with your possible move!
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Utah
5,005 posts, read 14,480,931 times
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Do you want to live in a community with an HOA? I agree that it's understandable that when you're a renter, the landlord could say "no pets." But if an HOA regulates that, or regulates what type or size of pets you could have, I'd find another house.

What city will his new job be in? How long is too long of a commute for him?
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Old 03-13-2008, 07:44 PM
 
421 posts, read 1,569,836 times
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Tooele and Ogden are both a bit of a commute to SLC, although they're doable. I'd probably stick with Bountiful or whichever Jordan has the church you want (you didn't say if it was West Jordan or South Jordan). They're all good cities with good people, although I wouldn't live right in Ogden. There are other cities nearby that you might look into, although it might mean driving 15-20 minutes to church. Sandy, Draper, and Herriman are all good family cities near the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. Up north, you could try Kaysville or Farmington, although they would be a longer commute than Bountiful.

I personally know several families who have done interracial adoption, and they have been treated very well in general, although a couple of the moms have told me they're worried about when their kids start to date, because while people are happy to be friends with other races, they often won't date them, and where they live it's overwhelmingly white. But so far as prejudice or ostracizing, that hasn't been a problem, for them at least. One of my friends has had a few rude comments, usually from older people who still carry around prejudices.

As for school districts, I think Jordan school district is good, although it's very overcrowded. Granite is also good, and Davis has great schools. A lot of newer construction has done away with formal dining rooms, I've noticed, because people don't use them as much anymore. They've moved more toward the "great room" concept, with an open floor plan and in-kitchen dining. Many homes do have a formal living room or den, though, that could easily be used as a dining room.

If you do decide to move, I would recommend contacting an agent to have a bunch of homes lined up for you to view, so you can make the most of your short time here. Or you could find a place to rent, so you could take your time looking around before you buy. I know it's a pain to move twice, but it's also a pain to buy a house you end up hating, or end up in a bad neighborhood. Good luck with the job!
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Old 03-13-2008, 08:58 PM
 
111 posts, read 562,344 times
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How exciting for your possible lifestyle change! Your reasons are EXACTLY why we relocated to Utah from Los Angeles. With LA traffic and his crazy job hours, we NEVER saw him.

I currently live in Bountiful and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! I have 3 kids and I am constantly chauffering them around because there are so many activities.

-Yes, there is definitely a gymnastics gym
-Yes, there are at least one or two dance studios
-Soccer is huge here (www.utahrush.com) - this league is popular but admittedly not as competitive as where we came from (AYSO). My 9-year old daughter plays club soccer.
-Baseball is huge here
-The rec center is very popular and has team sports, gym, cardio classes, pool, activities...etc. etc.
-2 of my good friends here have adopted kids from other countries - one family adopted from Guatemala and another family is in the process of adopting 3 kids from Haiti (they already have one adorable African American toddler in addition to their 2 biological boys).
-I have another friend in St. George who have adopted 4 kids from Haiti
-I constantly see interracial families here - in fact I think I have seen more families here who have adopted non-white kids HERE than I have in Los Angeles

SCHOOLS:
-Davis County schools are all generally very good...Bountiful has a couple of really good public elementary schools
-There are 2 awesome charter schools close by...my dd goes to Legacy Preparatory Academy (Legacy Preparatory Academy) - she LOVES it and I love it - people come from 20 miles away to go to this school.

Bountiful itself is pretty built out - I don't see too many HOAs but they may have them and I just don't know it. But I do see plenty of dogs around so I don't think that having pets are an issue if you own the home.

Bountiful definitely has a small town feel - I run into friends and neighbors all the time at the market or the gym, the tellers at the bank know me by name (unheard of in Los Angeles), and you have a nice mix of elderly folk who have lived here for generations as well as young families and relocators.

Yet one of the best things about it is - it's only 10 minutes to downtown and 10 minutes to the airport!

A lot of my friends' homes do have formal dining rooms as well.
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:14 PM
 
Location: southwestern PA
5 posts, read 8,693 times
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Thank you for all the replies. Right now, if we get this promotion, I'm definitely leaning heavily toward Bountiful. All of the activities the girls prefer seem to be available there, and with a fairly new Lutheran Church in town we should be able to find a comfortable niche for ourselves. My husband said we would probably stick within 20 miles of SLC, though I'm thinking a bit closer so that he can be home for dinner a bit earlier. He's quite a devoted and conscientious worker, often leaving well ahead of his scheduled time and staying late to make sure that everyone is doing what they're supposed to be doing, besides being on call via his cell phone 24/7. Still, he's worked his share of weekends and evenings and done more than his fair share of traveling. I hope he gets this promotion because he deserves to be able to work a more regular schedule, plus we all miss him terribly when he has to be away. If Ogden is that much of a commute it wouldn't do at all. I believe Hope Lutheran Church is in West Jordan, but if it would be a hike to get to a gymnastics studio than Bountiful would be a better choice. Tori loves gymnastics and she is pretty good. I have to find a place where most of the places I would have to drive to are close (or even better a place where I might be able to walk to some activities) due to vision problems which affect my driving abilities to some extent. I'm extremely cautious about how far I drive, never drive highways, and never drive after dark or in bad weather.

I'm not sure about HOA's, there are pros and cons. Many developments with HOA's have ammenties such as play areas for the kids and such which are good for us, but some HOA rules are difficult. The development we're in right now stipulates that no one can construct a fence around the perimeter of their property. That's great if you happen to get along with your neighbor, know your child(ren) won't wander off or get into trouble, and/or don't have pets which need a safe area to run. Otherwise (and in our case on all three counts) it's not so good.

Thank you for the information about the local school districts. If they are really overcrowded we'll probably opt to remain as cyber-school students. Overcrowding and poor district planning is why I pulled them from public school in the first place. The schools here are all overcrowded and the children in my neighborhood were forced to accept assignment in a school in the next town north, some 7 miles away, despite having 2 elementary schools right here in this town within ten minutes of our home. This meant an hour commute for the children which was very hard on them and denied them the opportunity to be involved in any outside activites.

Yes, we would definitely have to locate a reliable and knowledgeable realtor prior to our househunting trip if we get this promotion, to set things up properly. This being our third time I'm hopeful that this part of the process will again run smoothly. It helps that we are pretty definite in our wants and needs as far as a new house would go. It makes things a bit easier.

Again, thank you for your replies.

Shirley
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Old 03-13-2008, 09:51 PM
 
Location: The other side of the mountain
2,447 posts, read 5,918,877 times
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Here is a list of several gyms in Utah. There is one in West Jordan. They are okay. Not great, but not the worst either.

Utah Club List (http://www.usagutah.com/gi-clublist.html - broken link)
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:58 AM
 
347 posts, read 1,415,149 times
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West/south Jordan have a ton of amenities. Most kids in Utah are involved in one sport or another, and gymnastics is very popular. Also, dance is huuuge here too, with a studio on every corner. (not really, but just about!) Skiing is also very popular for kids in the winter, so keep that in mind. I think you'll find that the majority of kids stuff is down in the south area of the valley, rather than north of the city like Bountiful. Also, the commute from downtown in much easier going south because there are so many surface streets. Going north there are only a couple of ways to get to Btfl/Layton without going completely out of your way, so traffic can get really backed up.
The south end of the valley tends to be more eclectic as far as religion/race (It's still Utah, though!) We have several friends who have adopted children of another race. There were a few biracial families at our school in Draper. In all the times I talked to these families, they never once mentioned racial problems.
I think the interesting thing about Utah is that although most of the natives are as caucasian as possible (you cant even imagine how many blondes there are in Utah!), most are very open to people of other cultures. My sister in law in Utah has a Korean daughter and a Guatemalan daughter. They have never come across any sort of predjudice so far (the girls are only 8 and 6, though). As the other poster said, they are also concerned about dating years. But that's a ways off.
If it's at all possible, I would suggest renting too, especially if it's during the summer and you don't need to worry about finding a school right away. It would be good to try the commute a few times and get some more info on gyms/schools that is hard to do unless you're there.
The western U.S. will be a big change for you. I grew up in Michigan and was amazed to live in a place as deserty as Utah (until I visited nevada and saw what a desert really looked like). The mountains in Utah are unbelievable and the opportunity for Outdoorsy stuff is amazing. The people are so much friendlier out west, and I just like the laid back, casual feeling here. (you can wear jeans and take kids pretty much anywhere in Utah.) I refuse to ever live east of the Mississippi again!
It can be hard leaving behind friends and family (we just moved to Texas from Utah in November). We had a lot of family in Utah, but we just had to do what was right for us, rather than what was right for them. It's been a hard adjustment for the kids, but they're young. They'll get used to it.
If you're looking for a realtor, my sister in Utah is a great one.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:53 AM
 
Location: southwestern PA
5 posts, read 8,693 times
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Thank you. I noticed that West Jordan has a gymnastics/dance studio, too. Since Hope Lutheran Church is located there, it would probably be as good an option as Bountiful. With two well-situated towns in which to explore our housing options, I'm sure if we get this promotion we should be able to quickly find something nice.

I had considered the option of renting first so that we could get to know the area a bit, but with three active children under the age of ten and a very active 2yo dog I'm not really sure that would be practical. All I keep picturing is a huge bill for damages if something gets accidentally damaged when it's not really our house. That's not even considering the fact that my husband's employer is a stickler for stability. They actually pay for the ten-day house-hunting trip expecting us to find an appropriate home. They wouldl also give recommendations of preferred areas where other empoyees already live, which is nice.

I'd never really thought about Utah being deserty. Is it really? Although we were at the Beach (VAB) for awhile, most of my experience is with southern PA. I'm used to the climate and the people here and know that this move will be an adjustment, as much for me as for the girls. I can scarcely imagine an area without Mennonite or Amish families, where I actually have to search for a Lutheran church, and where the climate might prove a challenge in keeping my kitchen garden. I did notice that some of the areas are close to a military facility, which might have a similar feel to Virginia Beach. Most of the families at the Beach have military connections and the sound of jets is constant. Is jet noise a concern around there? As far as dating goes, I'd just as soon put that off as long as possible. When I read that statistic that one in four teenage girls has an STD I was just shocked. Aside from any moral implications, the practical issues are so scary and troubling. Some of those diseases are incurable and life-altering. When I look at my daughters I still see the babies I'd first held in my arms. Being a bit more mature, more self-assured, and emtionally stronger when they are given permission to date might help protect them a bit from becoming a stastic. I know that sounds a bit old-fashioned and over-protective, but I guess at the end of the day that's just who I am.

Anyway, enough of that depressing stuff. I think if we get this promotion the area around SLC would prove as easy a fit as was the town we're in now and the one we were in a few years back. With my husband around more, it might even prove to be one we'd stay in until the twins are ready to graduate school and go to college.
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