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Old 04-22-2009, 09:27 AM
 
Location: If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space
12,345 posts, read 5,105,361 times
Reputation: 53762
Question Wichita Falls-TIA for feedback-moving there soon

Hi everyone,

My husband and I might be moving from Pittsburgh, PA so he can work as a civilian at Ft Sill, OK. Ive been lurking at the board here and searching Ft Sill/Lawton/Wichita Falls for a couple weeks now. The Oklahoma board sounds so bleak but the Texas board sounds much more positive. Were pretty excited to make this move, live in Wichita Falls, and he would commute to Ft Sill. A city of 100k sounds just right and Im hoping to find work/volunteer opportunities in the area. Ive learned a lot already but still have some questions I hope you all can help me with.

Here are my questions/concerns
Safety - gangs/violence/property crime/drugs is this everywhere or mostly in certain parts of town? Is meth a big problem? Will I be safe being out by myself during the day and evening?

Transportation I see that the public system is small but can a person get around without driving? We will only have one car so Ill need to rely on my feet, a bike, or a bus.

Acceptance Were in our 40s, married almost 19 years, no kids. I grew up in Pittsburgh, lived in DC and VA. He is an Air Force brat, 20+ year Army veteran, born in TX, grew up mostly in CA, AZ, AK. His folks are from AR and GA. Were socially liberal and not religious but most of our friends are conservative. Im petite with really short hair and fair skin - am friendly & kind but not outgoing or rowdy not afraid to get dirty or do physical work but even when mucking out a stall people tend to perceive me as delicate. I doubt Ill blend but do you think Ill have trouble being accepted and meeting people?

Utilities Its just the two of us and well try to rent a 2-3 bedroom apartment or house in the west/MWSU area (preferably not a big complex and not with a bunch of undergrads). Any ballpark idea what the different utility services could run us on a monthly or yearly basis? Im guessing well have to pay our own water, electricity, gas (for cooking/heating) or are utilities usually included in rent? Is it common to have gas ranges for cooking or mostly electric? Are hardwood floors common or mostly wall to wall carpet?

Smoking - It seems like everyone in Pittsburgh smokes cigarettes but the past few years have seen smoking bans requiring smoke-free restaurants and such. Is there lots of smoking in Wichita Falls/Texas in general? Are there any or all smoke-free restaurants and bars, or at least non-smoking sections?

Water Drinking and bathing. We drink a lot of water how is the tap water in Wichita Falls? Is it good as is, will we need a filter, or should we just drink bottled water? Also, my husband loves taking long, hot, high pressure showers. Are there conservation efforts there that will prevent that? For example do we have to have low-flow shower heads or anything like that?

Are there pics on this forum from Wichita falls and the surrounding area? I found lots of posts but no pics. Along those lines are there any blogs by Wichita Falls locals that you can recommend? Ive found some official sites but am interested in reading more of a personal take on daily life in the area.

Thanks in advance for your input on any or all of the above questions. Sorry so long but, hey, at least there aren't any weather related questions! Your feedback is appreciated very much!
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh--Home of the 6 time Super Bowl Champions!
11,023 posts, read 7,746,058 times
Reputation: 4811
[quote=toosie;8461424]Hi everyone,

Quote:
My husband and I might be moving from Pittsburgh, PA so he can work as a civilian at Ft Sill, OK.
As a Pittsburgher, I think you will love Texas! I don't know too much about Wichita Falls, but there are some very helpful people on here who might be able to help you out with your questions...ie: Case44, TexasReb, NOTAM to name a few.
If your questions were about Austin, I could offer more insight.

Quote:
Acceptance Were in our 40s, married almost 19 years, no kids. I grew up in Pittsburgh, lived in DC and VA. He is an Air Force brat, 20+ year Army veteran, born in TX, grew up mostly in CA, AZ, AK. His folks are from AR and GA. Were socially liberal and not religious but most of our friends are conservative. Im petite with really short hair and fair skin - am friendly & kind but not outgoing or rowdy not afraid to get dirty or do physical work but even when mucking out a stall people tend to perceive me as delicate. I doubt Ill blend but do you think Ill have trouble being accepted and meeting people?
Texans are very accepting of people relocating for the most part. Just keep your "we did it this way in the 'Burgh" comments to yourself and you'll be fine! Some of the friendliest people I have ever met were Texans.

Quote:
Smoking - It seems like everyone in Pittsburgh smokes cigarettes but the past few years have seen smoking bans requiring smoke-free restaurants and such. Is there lots of smoking in Wichita Falls/Texas in general? Are there any or all smoke-free restaurants and bars, or at least non-smoking sections?
Again, not sure about Wichita Falls, but Austin bars/restaurants are virtually smoke free! I, for one, LOVE it!
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:00 AM
 
1,491 posts, read 3,281,796 times
Reputation: 866
You're working at Ft Sill but gonna commute from Wichita Falls? That's an hour's drive twice a day!
Any particular reason you don't want to live around Lawton?
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:02 AM
 
7,138 posts, read 9,239,565 times
Reputation: 2205
Quote:
Originally Posted by toosie View Post
Hi everyone,

My husband and I might be moving from Pittsburgh, PA so he can work as a civilian at Ft Sill, OK. Ive been lurking at the board here and searching Ft Sill/Lawton/Wichita Falls for a couple weeks now. The Oklahoma board sounds so bleak but the Texas board sounds much more positive. Were pretty excited to make this move, live in Wichita Falls, and he would commute to Ft Sill. A city of 100k sounds just right and Im hoping to find work/volunteer opportunities in the area. Ive learned a lot already but still have some questions I hope you all can help me with.

Here are my questions/concerns
Safety - gangs/violence/property crime/drugs is this everywhere or mostly in certain parts of town? Is meth a big problem? Will I be safe being out by myself during the day and evening?

Transportation I see that the public system is small but can a person get around without driving? We will only have one car so Ill need to rely on my feet, a bike, or a bus.

Acceptance Were in our 40s, married almost 19 years, no kids. I grew up in Pittsburgh, lived in DC and VA. He is an Air Force brat, 20+ year Army veteran, born in TX, grew up mostly in CA, AZ, AK. His folks are from AR and GA. Were socially liberal and not religious but most of our friends are conservative. Im petite with really short hair and fair skin - am friendly & kind but not outgoing or rowdy not afraid to get dirty or do physical work but even when mucking out a stall people tend to perceive me as delicate. I doubt Ill blend but do you think Ill have trouble being accepted and meeting people?

Utilities Its just the two of us and well try to rent a 2-3 bedroom apartment or house in the west/MWSU area (preferably not a big complex and not with a bunch of undergrads). Any ballpark idea what the different utility services could run us on a monthly or yearly basis? Im guessing well have to pay our own water, electricity, gas (for cooking/heating) or are utilities usually included in rent? Is it common to have gas ranges for cooking or mostly electric? Are hardwood floors common or mostly wall to wall carpet?

Smoking - It seems like everyone in Pittsburgh smokes cigarettes but the past few years have seen smoking bans requiring smoke-free restaurants and such. Is there lots of smoking in Wichita Falls/Texas in general? Are there any or all smoke-free restaurants and bars, or at least non-smoking sections?

Water Drinking and bathing. We drink a lot of water how is the tap water in Wichita Falls? Is it good as is, will we need a filter, or should we just drink bottled water? Also, my husband loves taking long, hot, high pressure showers. Are there conservation efforts there that will prevent that? For example do we have to have low-flow shower heads or anything like that?

Are there pics on this forum from Wichita falls and the surrounding area? I found lots of posts but no pics. Along those lines are there any blogs by Wichita Falls locals that you can recommend? Ive found some official sites but am interested in reading more of a personal take on daily life in the area.

Thanks in advance for your input on any or all of the above questions. Sorry so long but, hey, at least there aren't any weather related questions! Your feedback is appreciated very much!



Good luck on your move to Wichita Falls! When I lived there I did volunteer work for the State Hospital and Region IX Education Center and enjoyed both. Am sure there are abundant opportunities for volunteer work still across the city.


If you are conservative and don't have need for much in the way of cultural activities, you may like Wichita Falls. I did live there seven years and enjoyed the area immensely. But frequently worked out of town and gone for months at a time. I tried to be gone in summer months as it gets very hot, and like to be outdoors, hiking and cycling, etc. and was just way too hot for those activities. Even though the famed Hotter N Hell 500 (cyclist race) is held there every summer.

I basically felt very safe there, though I lived near the outskirts of town (southwest), off Barnett Rd. Loved the area, as in just a few minutes you could be in farmland, with the cows, horses, goats, llamas....and chickens crossing the road! The downtown area at night is probably not a safe place to be, is basically deserted then, except for a few nightclub activities. Don't know about the amount of meth and drugs there, I suspect is the same as anywhere. Also not sure of the gang activity, though no doubt there are gang members present. I never encountered any problems personally. But never went toward downtown after dark. There may be an effort by the City more recently for gentrification, so may be more nightlife now, not sure?


When I was there (moved away 2005), there were buses, but seemed few and far between. Probably don't want to count on them. You will need a car, or also a bicycle. When I was going to MSU, I used a bicycle almost daily to get to and from classes. You might take a look at this beautiful campus (and my alma mater), a very nice university located on Taft Blvd. off the main drag, Kell Blvd. Midwestern State University : Wichita Falls, Texas

People seemed very friendly and helpful when I moved to WF. If you are friendly back, most likely you will have no problems. It seems to still have a smalltown conservative feel, so many social activities likely to be centered around church or school. I did not find much cultural activity, there are some museums and a backdoor theatre, you will definitely have to look for culture in WF. Again, the university may offer more in that way. I frequently went to DFW area for cultural events, about 2 1/2-3 hr drive. But was always glad to get back to a smaller and less congested city, like Wichita Falls. Lots of very nice parks, my favorites were Sikes Lake, Lake Wichita Falls City Park and Lucy Park (has a duckpond and river, no lake). They all have walking/biking trails.

When I was looking for a place to live, I found mostly carpeting, but am sure there are many places with wood/laminate flooring. I loved my little house, was in a smaller older development area, quiet, good neighbors, well landscaped, etc. Not sure about the apartment situations closer into town. The neighborhoods around MSU are still very nice, so you shouldn't have a problem finding what you are looking for. I only had electricity and it seems my electric bill around $120-150/month, higher in summer months as it gets so very hot there. Water and sanitation bills for me were negligible in comparison.


I always buy bottled water or have a drinking water service, but am sure the tap water is safe to drink especially if you install a filter. The water sources out of Lakes Kemp and Arrowhead, Kickapoo? Wichita Falls Board of Commerce and Industry might give good info on this. Seems like there was always a problem with smoke in the restaurants, even though nonsmoking areas partitioned. Maybe has changed over past several years, but may be something you have to get used to. Am presently living in PNW and is never a problem here, NO smoking allowed!

Wishing you a safe and successful move, and hope you have as nice an experience with WF as I did.
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:00 PM
 
1,138 posts, read 1,332,372 times
Reputation: 457
Lawton only slightly smaller and very slow growth whereas, Wichita Falls has had very slow loss of population for years. The two hour drive each day? Welcome to where ever you chose. Boy, what a shock for you, in all ways coming from Pittsburgh, mainly weather and terrain. Good Luck
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:44 PM
 
Location: If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space
12,345 posts, read 5,105,361 times
Reputation: 53762
Thanks to everyone who replied so far - great feedback!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasGirl@Heart View Post
there are some very helpful people on here who might be able to help you out with your questions...ie: Case44, TexasReb, NOTAM to name a few.

Texans are very accepting of people relocating for the most part. Just keep your "we did it this way in the 'Burgh" comments to yourself and you'll be fine! Some of the friendliest people I have ever met were Texans.
Besides the three of you who already replied, I was hoping to hear also from the folks you listed and txsizzler too. Sounds like I should be ok with the attitude - I'm not one to swoop in thinking my way is the only way. Actually, I'm really looking forward to watching and learning

Quote:
Originally Posted by GayleTX View Post
You're working at Ft Sill but gonna commute from Wichita Falls? That's an hour's drive twice a day!
Any particular reason you don't want to live around Lawton?
Heehee - I had a feeling either you or NOTAM would encourage me to go for one of the smaller towns or live closer to Ft Sill His commute now is about an hour, sometimes more depending on traffic. We're used to that from other places that we've lived. It's possible he'll have a 4 day work week which will help some with gas/commuting time.

We are right in the city now (~300k pop) and neither of us is ready to do the polar opposite right away. A smaller city of 100k sounds like the perfect compromise. That leaves Wichita Falls, Lawton, and OKC. Reading the boards here and other things I've heard, I got a really bad impression of Lawton. OKC sounds alright but it's further from the other things we'd like to do and sounds like an even longer commute in terms of actual time. Overall, I got a more positive and friendly vibe from the Texans than the Oklahomans. Wichita Falls has a lot to offer, IMO, and my background fits well with University, Hospital, or Military (Sheppard AFB) work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilypad View Post
Good luck on your move to Wichita Falls! When I lived there I did volunteer work for the State Hospital and Region IX Education Center and enjoyed both.

If you are conservative and don't have need for much in the way of cultural activities, you may like Wichita Falls. I tried to be gone in summer months as it gets very hot, and like to be outdoors, hiking and cycling, etc. and was just way too hot for those activities.

When I was there (moved away 2005), there were buses, but seemed few and far between. When I was going to MSU, I used a bicycle almost daily to get to and from classes.

People seemed very friendly and helpful when I moved to WF. many social activities likely to be centered around church or school. I did not find much cultural activity, there are some museums and a backdoor theatre, you will definitely have to look for culture in WF. I frequently went to DFW area for cultural events, about 2 1/2-3 hr drive.

Wishing you a safe and successful move, and hope you have as nice an experience with WF as I did.
Hospital, Education, or Military sound perfect for me for working or volunteering - thanks for the tips and all the other advice/links.

I'm not conservative or religious and we don't have kids so that was a reason I worried if I'd be accepted. I'm very open minded and caring and have a good sense of humor about my opinions, though.

We do enjoy cultural events but, like you said, there's always DFW and also WF has some to offer, plus lots of regional fun things to do - like rodeos, falls fest, hotter n hell, etc. We're both looking forward to exploring the area and getting outside more. As TG@H can attest to - Pittsburgh has more overcast days than just about anywhere so sunny days will be a big plus. It looks like cycyling is in my future too, seeing as the bus might not work for me and I won't have a car.

The heat won't be a problem for my guy - the best thing about serving in Iraq for him was that he kept his trailer a/c set at 88. Even if full body armor, 130 degree days were fine with him. Me, on the other hand...well...I'll adjust

Thanks again to everyone who replied so far - for the info and the well wishes
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Old 04-22-2009, 12:53 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Texas, Finally!
5,230 posts, read 7,572,502 times
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The sheer niceness of people in both OK and TX is going to trump any concerns about you not being conservative, religious, whatever. I mean really. I moved to the Texas Panhandle from CA (born and raised in Chicago) years ago and have many friends in OK. Both states are great. I wouldn't discount OK though. See if you can take an exploratory trip and get a feel for areas yourself.
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:36 PM
 
1,491 posts, read 3,281,796 times
Reputation: 866
I wrote a much longer post but somehow lost it.....so sorry! I have c&p'd your post to my neice who still lives in WF to get specific answers to some of your questions...I'll let you know if I hear from her.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
3,334 posts, read 3,221,011 times
Reputation: 1963
I lived in Wichita Falls for five years while stationed at Sheppard AFB. As a disclaimer, I am a native of Dallas, so for me, I didn't really like it. Too small townish. That being said, the people were nice and there were no real problems with crime and all that. Second disclaimer that was 1989-1994. Things may have changed. The only good thing about living there for me was that I am an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and our tribal headquarters is in Lawton, so it was nice to be so close to family and the dances. Wichita Falls is what it is.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:02 PM
 
Location: If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space
12,345 posts, read 5,105,361 times
Reputation: 53762
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark-Tyler is Special View Post
Welcome to where ever you chose. Boy, what a shock for you, in all ways coming from Pittsburgh, mainly weather and terrain. Good Luck
Thanks. Won't miss the grey skies in Pittsburgh but a little apprehensive about the extreme heat and other severe weather in TX. Sort of looking forward to the challenge though. I will definitely miss the rolling hills and variety of trees here but I've never been farther west than Chicago and really am looking forward to the varied terrain/animals. Can't wait to get out more and explore

Quote:
Originally Posted by cobolt View Post
The sheer niceness of people in both OK and TX is going to trump any concerns about you not being conservative, religious, whatever. I mean really. I moved to the Texas Panhandle from CA (born and raised in Chicago) years ago and have many friends in OK. Both states are great. I wouldn't discount OK though. See if you can take an exploratory trip and get a feel for areas yourself.
Thank you! Maybe it sounds crazy but that really is one of my main concerns - your post helps. Love Chicago, BTW - mmmm Frango Mints. From what I've read, WF will give Chicago a run for it's money on the "windy city" title We plan to do some recon in May so we will certainly give OK a fair shake. Got a feeling TX will win out, though - did you know Electra has an annual goat bbq? This year it's May 8-9. We WILL be at the 2010 one!

Cobolt - couldn't help but notice your tag line and location. Are you a Mr Rogers fan? He was from Pittsburgh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GayleTX View Post
I wrote a much longer post but somehow lost it.....so sorry! I have c&p'd your post to my neice who still lives in WF to get specific answers to some of your questions...I'll let you know if I hear from her.
Grrr - hate it when that happens - sorry! Thanks so much for passing my questions along to your niece

This time next year I might be saying "y'all" but for now..."you guys" are awesome
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