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Old 01-21-2013, 10:34 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,851 times
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Any feedback from current residents of Santa Rosa is greatly appreciated. I have a job offer that I have to accept by tomorrow morning and I need to choose from several locations - Santa Rosa is #1 on our list because it's the only one in California, and that's where we have always wanted to live. I'll tell you a little bit about us so you can understand why I'm so curious. We are a family of 4, I'm a black woman, my husband is a darker Latino man (think Sammy Sosa before the skin whitening). Our kids are not in school yet. I've read about the gang problem and I am concerned about it seeing how we're looking for a place to eventually settle. I'm only obligated to live in a city for 3 before asking my employer to relocate us. If we don't like it there we would be able to relocate before they started school. We like to do a lot of fun family activities together, small road trips, picnics, playing in the park kind of things. I know California as a whole offers a lot of opportunities for that. So here are my questions? What areas are safe for a family with small children - have play grounds or parks where it's safe to walk our dog at night? I would like a diverse neighborhood, but from some recent post on Santa Rosa I understand that our presence may be adding to that diversity I'm seeking. None of my relocation options have large black communities and we're really not looking for that. I'm curious about the true tolerance/acceptance levels of others in Santa Rosa. What side of town would you recommend? We will be renting so any recommendations of apartments would be nice?
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:06 AM
 
202 posts, read 188,617 times
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I'm from the East Bay so I'm not too familiar with the area up north but I do know there is a reputation for drugs and sketchy areas. However, I don't see an abundance of news coming out of that area so I'm sure there are plenty of nice neighborhoods. It's kind of like how some people view Oakland as some terrible place yet some parts have (had) million dollar homes.

The North Bay is definitely beautiful and if you like the outdoors there are a ton of parks in the area. A lot of biking and camping. One thing you can do while looking for housing is compare the rate to the surrounding area, if it's significantly lower it's either a scam or a place you probably don't want to live.

Hopefully someone else will chime in on a specific place to live but I'd go for it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:05 AM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
88 posts, read 79,657 times
Reputation: 72
I live in Santa Rosa and love it! It's really a nice city and the problems are isolated to small areas of the city. It's really not as bad as you've heard...believe me, I came from Los Angeles so I have some good perspective! Yes, there is a general lack of diversity, but I've found people to be rather friendly. Santa Rosa is full of family-friendly areas and activities, nice parks, and there is a ton of stuff to do on outings in the surrounding areas. Good places to start: Sonoma County Regional Parks, and City of Santa Rosa Parks and Recreation.

As to areas of the city that are good to live in, I'd focus on northwest and northeast Santa Rosa. The areas to avoid are mostly south of Highway 12, but also near the area where Highway 12 and 101 intersect on all sides. The best areas are Rincon Valley, Bennett Valley, the area around Guerneville Rd (Steele Ln area isn't the greatest but isn't horrible either) west of 101, and pretty much the entire east side of the city except for the area bordered by Sonoma Ave, Farmers Ln, and the highways (which also isn't a super bad area, just a bit rundown, crowded, and with more crime than the parts to the north and east). I'd check out the areas near Howarth Park, Coffey Park, and Pioneer Park (in preferred order) as those are really awesome places for kids (especially Howarth!). I'd say good apartment rental areas are around Mission Blvd near Sonoma Hwy, and around NW Santa Rosa.

Good luck in your decision!
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Northern California
159 posts, read 210,604 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLA74 View Post
I live in Santa Rosa and love it! It's really a nice city and the problems are isolated to small areas of the city. It's really not as bad as you've heard...believe me, I came from Los Angeles so I have some good perspective! Yes, there is a general lack of diversity, but I've found people to be rather friendly. Santa Rosa is full of family-friendly areas and activities, nice parks, and there is a ton of stuff to do on outings in the surrounding areas. Good places to start: Sonoma County Regional Parks, and City of Santa Rosa Parks and Recreation.

As to areas of the city that are good to live in, I'd focus on northwest and northeast Santa Rosa. The areas to avoid are mostly south of Highway 12, but also near the area where Highway 12 and 101 intersect on all sides. The best areas are Rincon Valley, Bennett Valley, the area around Guerneville Rd (Steele Ln area isn't the greatest but isn't horrible either) west of 101, and pretty much the entire east side of the city except for the area bordered by Sonoma Ave, Farmers Ln, and the highways (which also isn't a super bad area, just a bit rundown, crowded, and with more crime than the parts to the north and east). I'd check out the areas near Howarth Park, Coffey Park, and Pioneer Park (in preferred order) as those are really awesome places for kids (especially Howarth!). I'd say good apartment rental areas are around Mission Blvd near Sonoma Hwy, and around NW Santa Rosa.

Good luck in your decision!
She sent me a direct message so I responded to her and recommended her some areas of Santa Rosa, and I think she might like Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa has neighborhoods or areas that are fit for any person of any walk of life, so hopefully somebody can enjoy living in this city. There is a lot of nice scenery around here, and there are some great state parks in and out of Santa Rosa. SF is only a 50-minute drive away usually, and of course wine country is very close by.

Northeast and Northwest are the nicer parts of Santa Rosa. Most of everything west of Hwy 101 is not really all that great, but not horrible. The Piner Road area has a lot of nice houses that are pretty big and it's definitely a community oriented area. The West Steele Lane is avoidable though, and Steele Lane is better. I live off Mission Blvd now and it's a mellow place. It has a lot of nice, wealthy neighborhoods nearby like Fountaingrove and parts of Rincon Valley, so it definitely makes it a better environment to live in. Most of the condos and apartments off Mission Blvd are affordable and there are plenty of decent public schools nearby, such as Madrone and Hidden Valley Elementary. However, I will be honest to say that my neighbor here in my condo complex off Mission Blvd, was arrested here for murder in Reno a few years ago. His relatives still live next door to me and they are not necessarily the best influences and occasionally attract police cars showing up here, and there are plenty of people who are into drugs and crime here in Rincon Valley. However, it's still a relatively safe area.

Bennett Valley is also a nice, scenic area and there are plenty of apartment complexes and condos, and from my knowledge, most of them are not the section 8 type, so you are less likely to find crime-filled pockets like in the west part of town.

I'd agree Santa Rosa is not as truly diverse as other places, like in the inner Bay Area for instance. There's still a good amount of diversity though, and there is obviously a large Latino population. There are not a lot of African or Asian American people in Santa Rosa in general, but there are some and they are growing in numbers. I see quite a lot of black people in the Mission Blvd area, especially in my complex, and quite a lot in the downtown area. Some of the black population in my complex includes some people of Eritrean or Ethiopian descent, and I see some Pacific Islander (Fijian) people here too. It is not anymore racist than the average US place I would assume, and people here are fairly tolerant and acceptable of others. I've had people make derogatory comments towards me and other people but I don't think it's any worse than any other place. It is a city, so people are used to meeting people with different lifestyles and backgrounds.

Hopefully Santa Rosa will be a good place for you (directing this to original poster)! If Santa Rosa becomes a disappointment, the other towns within Sonoma County, which are fairly accessible to commuting to and from Santa Rosa, can be of interest. Windsor is a pretty nice little town north of Santa Rosa, and was rated the best town to live in Sonoma County. It has the lowest proportion of residents who live in poverty, and nearly everybody who lives up there lives in their own house (most of the houses there are really nice too). The only apartments and condos up there and generally pretty nice and well kept from what I know. Rohnert Park may have a reputation for being bland, but there are some nice neighborhoods in that city as well.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:35 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,851 times
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I want to thank you all for this valuable information. It was very helpful in making a decision we think we'll be happy with. I accepted the position in Santa Rosa! We should be there in 1 month. Yippee!

TurboTalon, you made a good point about watching out for scams through advertisement of lower prices. I lived in Chicago for a while and that is common problem there as well. I'm glad you reminded me to watch out for the red flags.

SLA74, thank you for pointing out the park district, especially Howarth Park! I visited the website and I was very impressed. We have great parks where we live now and I wanted continue to give my kids access to playgrounds, park activities and just nature overall! I'm sure we'll enjoy the parks there as well.

CyanideThistles, your insight of the climate of diversity was very helpful. As a parent to biracial children, I was very curious about it. I've always thought of California as a pretty accepting place - just wasn't sure about smaller cities like Santa Rosa. We live in the southeast part of the country now, and even though there is diversity - there is still a divide. That seems to be the norm around America. I believe all the colors of a rainbow are equally beautiful, so I seek diverse areas to be apart of.

Overall, I think Santa Rosa is going to be a great place for us. From what I can tell so far by your helpfulness in answering my questions and concerns - I already think it's a friendly place. Thank you all for taking the time to post! Now I have to get packing!
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
88 posts, read 79,657 times
Reputation: 72
Yay, cityhopper4!

I'm so happy we could help you and I'm positive you will end up being so glad you chose to come to Santa Rosa! I myself moved there 3 years ago without ever having been there because my husband was offered a job, and I've come to feel like I couldn't have come up with a better place for me to live in my own imagination! The whole county is awesome and there's so much to love and do there. I am also the mother of a young son (19 months) and if you'd like, you can send me a private message and I'd be happy to help you in any way...we could even meet up at a park once you're here! And I would second CyanideThistle's recommendation to focus on the NE part of the city as it's the loveliest part and there are apartment complexes a plenty! I live in that area off Chanate Rd and I'm always inspired by the amazing scenery, especially driving over the hill of Fountaingrove Pkwy down into Rincon Valley (where it turns into Montecito).

Good luck in your preparations and moving!
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:50 PM
 
3 posts, read 6,851 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLA74 View Post
Yay, cityhopper4!

I'm so happy we could help you and I'm positive you will end up being so glad you chose to come to Santa Rosa! I myself moved there 3 years ago without ever having been there because my husband was offered a job, and I've come to feel like I couldn't have come up with a better place for me to live in my own imagination! The whole county is awesome and there's so much to love and do there. I am also the mother of a young son (19 months) and if you'd like, you can send me a private message and I'd be happy to help you in any way...we could even meet up at a park once you're here! And I would second CyanideThistle's recommendation to focus on the NE part of the city as it's the loveliest part and there are apartment complexes a plenty! I live in that area off Chanate Rd and I'm always inspired by the amazing scenery, especially driving over the hill of Fountaingrove Pkwy down into Rincon Valley (where it turns into Montecito).

Good luck in your preparations and moving!
Thank you SLA74!

Awesome! I will certainly send you a private message once we get closer to our date of moving there. Our official move date should be determined in a week or so. I have 2 very active boys, 2 and 3 years old! I'm excited about moving there. I've already started the hunt for an apartment. The apartments I have my eye on are in the NE part of the city. Any particular complexes you think I should check into please let me know. Thank you - I can't wait to finally live in California again!
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Old 01-26-2013, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
88 posts, read 79,657 times
Reputation: 72
You're welcome!

I'm not familiar with any apartment complexes since we actually ended up moving into a duplex and no one I know lives in apartments. I remember looking into smaller complexes across from Howarth Park on Cordelia Dr that seemed nice, older but well-kept and fairly roomy and a decent price (the place we were looking at was a 2 bedroom in a quad I think, and they were asking $1095 back in 2009). I would also look into complexes along Montecito Blvd between Brush Creek Rd and Middle Rincon Rd, or even further east on Montecito. It's a nice area and you would be right across the street from Oliver's, my favorite supermarket (they are way into supporting local producers and are like a cross between Whole Foods and Safeway but not as expensive in my opinion, and locally owned). Anywhere in Rincon Valley is highly recommended as that's where the best schools are and it's very pretty. You could also check out the complexes along Mission Blvd (which is very close) between Montecito and Highway 12 (Sonoma Hwy). There are lots of nice affordable condo complexes around there too.

You could also check out ratings for apartments in Santa Rosa. This might help a bit too, and I'm sure you might find some other resources out there with a quick internet search.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:57 AM
 
Location: Northern California
159 posts, read 210,604 times
Reputation: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by SLA74 View Post
You're welcome!

Anywhere in Rincon Valley is highly recommended as that's where the best schools are and it's very pretty. You could also check out the complexes along Mission Blvd (which is very close) between Montecito and Highway 12 (Sonoma Hwy). There are lots of nice affordable condo complexes around there too.

I currently live in a condominium complex off Mission Blvd and Culebra Drive called "Mission Creek." I'm not sure if you've heard of seen it, it's a group of yellow condos located off Mission Blvd. I particularly do not like my specific condo as it needs some renovations and our neighbors are not the best (one of them was arrested for a kidnapping and murder that occurred in Reno a few years ago), but this neighborhood in general, is pretty nice and relaxing to live in. Most of the people here are friendly and down to earth. Many of the condos here are fixed up, have wood floors, and a school is very, very close by. You can walk to it in a minute or two (called Madrone Elementary). Probably one of the nicest condo complexes there is in SR, and you can get a nice view of the tall trees and forest views from here. Also, this particular complex, has a pretty large black community (almost all of my neighbors are black and black/white), and lots of mixed ethnic families, so you might like that aspect. However, there's all kinds of people here now, it's probably the most diverse neighborhood in all of Santa Rosa and I have lived everywhere around SR. Almost nobody here would judge a person on their ethnicity or religion or anything like that in this neighborhood, and that's what I love about this area.

To cityhopper4:

Nowhere in Rincon Valley is considered bad in terms of crime or quality, and in general is a pretty nice place to live, not too congested, and definitely more affluent, as I've said, so it really ups the quality of this area. All of the schools here are pretty good to my knowledge, especially in comparison to other schools in Santa Rosa. Some people will drive 15 minutes to send their kids to Rincon Valley schools. Just avoid most of the public schools west of the 101, except for maybe Schaefer Elementary or maybe a charter school. It's sad to say, but most of them are really poor in quality, and my parents never sent me to them, even in the 90s.

The Summerfield Rd area, as SLA recommended, which is where Howarth Park lies, is a nice, scenic area with good schools. One thing I really like about Santa Rosa is you can be in a suburban area and drive 5 minutes away and be in the beautiful countryside.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:57 PM
 
57 posts, read 67,084 times
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Default Santa Rosa - Pioneer Park area....is it safe?

Am considering the neighborhood near Pioneer Park. Is there a name for that part of Santa Rosa? Is it relatively safe for a single woman? Also there are train tracks nearby...so not sure if that is near the proposed Smart Train?
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