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Old 08-20-2010, 03:19 PM
Location: California
8 posts, read 21,716 times
Reputation: 15


Hi everyone,

My family is considering a possible move to W. VA, in either the Morgantown or Charleston area. We are looking for:

- A very safe, family-friendly neighborhood
- Excellent schools (especially pre-schools)
- Parks and/or playgrounds nearby
- Good shopping opportunities nearby
- 3-4 bedroom home (rental) with a yard

Do you think we could find more of what we are looking for in Morgantown, or Charleston? Also, can you recommend some specific neighborhoods or areas in these 2 cities?

If any of you can provide some recommendations, I would be very grateful! Thank you very much!
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:41 PM
10,148 posts, read 13,262,602 times
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If you like hanging out with academics and attending cultural or athletic events virtually nightly better than hanging out with politicians, then Morgantown is the place for you. Where to live depends on your price range and where you will be working. My preferences are South Park near Marilla Park or Cheat Lake near Cheat Lake and Coopers Rock State Forest.
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:58 AM
Location: 304
5,274 posts, read 7,394,078 times
Reputation: 1798
Originally Posted by CTMountaineer View Post
If you like hanging out with academics and attending cultural or athletic events virtually nightly better than hanging out with politicians, then Morgantown is the place for you. Where to live depends on your price range and where you will be working. My preferences are South Park near Marilla Park or Cheat Lake near Cheat Lake and Coopers Rock State Forest.
What CT is trying to say is, if you like hanging out with drunk college kids, that party and go to bars, then Morgatown is the place---LOL

But if you like "culture", community, real thinks to do, and a low stress level, then Charleston is the best place---
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Old 08-21-2010, 09:46 PM
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I live in Morgantown, and there is no problem with drunk people in my neighborhood. And, the cultural events are amazing here... concerts every week and first rate athletics for starters, plus just about every sort of interest group and the nearby outdoor venues are outstanding.

Of course, if you are looking for availability that might be more forthcoming in Charleston since people seem to be leaving there. Demand is high in Morgantown since so many people seem to want to be here, and the job market is among the best in the country. Another plus is proximity to big cities... Pittsburgh just over an hour away and getting closer with the Mon Fayette Expressway construction, and Washington, DC and Baltimore are just over 3 hours away via Interstate.

A major advantage for Morgantown is the fact that Charleston's violent crime index is nearly twice as high per capita. If safety is a concern, that would be an important consideration.
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:06 AM
Location: California
8 posts, read 21,716 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks very much for the input - it is very appreciated!
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:00 PM
Location: NW Penna.
1,759 posts, read 3,404,823 times
Reputation: 1870
What do you do for employment? Morgantown may have an advantage in jobs creation and possibly location. Having a major university, a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, a medical school, and a teaching hospital right there in town might make Morgantown the less likely one to experience a brain drain soon. Morgantown has proximity to Washington, D.C. and the East Coast, that Charleston doesn't offer.

Charleston has a more remote and out-of-the-way location, when you really look hard. 'Way back in history, you got to Charleston either by going down the Ohio River and winding your way back up the Kanawha to Charleston, or you followed the buffalo trails / Indian trails / cowpath roads over the mountains to Charleston. Now, it has Interstates in and out, but, still, it's a comparatively long distance from any major city. Columbus is the easiest larger city to get to. You are 4 hours, approximately, from Pittsburgh or Charlotte, and 6 or 6.5 from Washington, D. C. Any direction except west from Charleston, you are in wilderness or dead coal country.

Huntington was not really thriving in the '80s, and actually, it started downhill in the '60s or '70s, steadily losing manufacturing and the railroad industry that had built it. Marshall University and possibly a couple of hospitals are the highlights of once-gorgeous Huntington, now. I don't think there is a lot of economic growth in southern WV. As Huntington went, so I fear Charleston will follow.

Charleston lost many, many, very well-paid jobs in the past 10 years or so, and they won't be coming back. Charleston is the only city and the biggest city, where it is located. Years ago, Union Carbide, DuPont, FMC, Monsanto, C&P Telephone, Columbia Gas, several hospitals, plus retail businesses, employed droves of people at far better than average wages. All of that industry is pretty much gone or seriously downsized and cut back now. And I keep reading advice on med boards that the Huntington area pays better for nurses and other medical fields. So, there is still medicine and state gov't and retail, but the wealth came from mining and chemicals.

I am not sure how long it will take to actually see that economic decline in Charleston, but when the current residents who retired from the chemical industry are gone, I suspect that the remaining populace will not be nearly as brainy or well-heeled. There is no major university right in Charleston. Not a WVU or a Marshall, anyway. There are smaller colleges / universities in Institute, Kanawha City area, and Montgomery, but not one big one in Charleston itself. WVU has a southern branch of it's med school in Charleston but that's not a major university.

Now, there may be a whole host of negatives regarding Morgantown. I don't know, and I never resided there. But I was in Charleston area for a long time, and traveled throughout southern WV, and what I saw by 2005 was the sudden loss of manufacturing and other employment bases, the start of decline, like what happened to the Rust Belt in the '70s and '80s, but it hadn't hit Charleston until 25-30 years later. I don't live there now.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:09 PM
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Our biggest problem in Morgantown is the State has dropped the ball in terms of infrastructure. We need more road construction to keep up with the growing demand here. The city is busy night and day, and during rush hour traffic is congested. Our state has priorities mixed up, and is building roads in the middle of nowhere instead of where there is demonstrated demand.

Other than that, things are absolutely great here. It is one of America's most livable cities with a low crime rate, outstanding educational and cultural opportunities, wonderful outdoor venues, a friendly populace, and a good job market.
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Old 09-11-2010, 11:58 PM
n/a posts
I would pick Morgantown. But CTMountaineer is absolutely right about the traffic. I used to live in Sabraton and commute downtown (about a two mile drive) and it would routinely take 30-45 minutes to get home in the evening. It was faster to ride a bike on the trail than to drive.

South Park is probably my favorite neighborhood in town, but be careful where you pick. The half that is closer to campus is filled with rundown slums inhabited by college students, while the other half is very nice. Stay out of Sunnyside. North Hills is nice if you'd be working in that section of town (it's near the hospitals and WVU's engineering/creative arts campus).

If you like outdoorsy things, cheat lake is close by, as are some other nice state parks. But the main attraction for me is the rail trail, which will provide hours of biking.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:33 PM
1 posts, read 5,006 times
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I've lived in both cities, and been in both areas my whole life. Charleston is definitely more down to earth and "southern". I appreciate the former more than the latter.

Obviously, the people who live in Morgantown are going to be all "gung-ho" about that town. CTMoutaineer replied: "I live in Morgantown, and there is no problem with drunk people in my neighborhood. "

Well, I don't know what neighborhood he lived in because I was almost killed by drunk drivers on a couple of occasions. People I knew would brag all the time about driving by cops while drunk. Although much has been done since Pres. Hardy to reverse the party school image that WVU so respectfully garnered in the 60's and 70's, it still runs deep. In the 90's, it was ranked as the #1 party school on a couple of occasions. It had the #2nd worst drug problem of any university in the country in 2003 when I was there.

If you live in Morgantown, you'll have to deal with WVU aspect of it simply because that town IS the University. I mean when there is a home football game, everything else in the town stops. I was in the North Hills when WVU beat Virginia Tech (Away Game, Fall 2002) - Morgantown was literally on fire. You could see smoke billowing up out of that town for miles. You wanna live with a bunch of gung-ho nuts like that? Go ahead. Unlike Huntington, there's not really any industries unrelated to WVU in that town. So although the heavy industry is declining in Huntington, it still has Marshall. So I disagree with SorryIMovedBack on the point of Huntington not having any economic growth in the future although it is currently declining. The service industry growth due to Marshall University will prop up Huntington just like WVU has Morgantown. Plus, on further note, the southern coal fields just south of Huntinton-Charleston, although nasty, has, does, and will probably always bring in more money than the WVU-Morgantown machine. This evidence is seen in the nicest, largest strip mall in the state known as Southridge recently built along the Corridor G highway system in South Charleston. The only reason why Marshall isn't bigger is because the Higher Education Policy Commission consists mostly of WVU types and WVU is the state's University. Marshall is right beside not just one but two state borders, and it's close to the midwest including cities like Cincinnati, Louisville, and Columbus. A lot of out of state money comes into Huntington.

Really, Morgantown is on the upswing and looks better and better everytime I go there. But make no mistake, this was built up because of the University, in particular, the rich New-England students who spend more of "mom & dad's" money than what many West Virginians make in a year. SorryIMovedBack had a point about Morgantown's location to the North-East part of the country. The jock/party types from New England who weren't focused enough on academics to make it into the fancy New England schools go to WVU. The "ingenious" people of Morgantown finally figured out they could sell other forms of service/entertainment other than just booze and it's grown. So Morgantown people complain about infrastructure like they were always some big, important city when in the past it was just another nothing, small town. It is still just a town that might become a real city if it keeps up the good work, and would completely DIE if something happened to WVU. Huntington would not die if it lost Marshall University, and Charleston would not die if it lost University of Charleston AND W. Va. State University.

Morgantown and Charleston are two very different places. Charleston is a city. Let's take a closer look at the numbers: Within Charleston city limits are about 50,000, and Morgantown has about 30,000 people. Not much difference. HOWEVER, when you look at the Metropolitan Statistical area, Charleston has 300,000 and Morgantown has 100,000! Although CTMountaineer maybe be correct about Charleston's violent crime index being higher than than Morgantown's, the Metropolitan Statistical Area population data really blows a huge hole in that rationale. As with any real city, Charleston has a real ghetto/inner-city. Huntington's metropolitan statistical area is almost the same size as Charleston, and it has an inner city.

Everyone is correct is saying that the heavy industry that made Charleston/Huntington well off is dead and Charleston/Huntington is on the decline. By the way Huntington always gets mentioned with Charleston because they are only 40mi apart. (Total area pop. over 1/2 million) Most all of us are moving into suburbs between the two cities (Putnam county) so it really looks like a sharp, awful decline but it is not as bad as most people think. The suburbs are like big city suburbs. I think they're nicer than Pittsburgh's suburbs, but not as nice as Columbus'. As mentioned, Marshall University would prop up Huntington just like WVU does Morgantown only Huntingtown has a better down town infrastructure. But what about Charleston? As SorryIMovedBack mentioned, Charleston isn't really close to any big city. It is the metro area serving our region, and as such, quite a few companies have major regional operations here - in particular financial institutions (Chase, United, Huntington, Sun Trust). More just normal types of people than "Political" types. Not to mention, the hospitals in Charleston have come up with few new, innovative heart procedures. Can't say that about Morgantown...Why? Because it isn't serving a population of >300,000 aging, older citizens. Huntington/Charleston economically is sooo much like Pittsburgh (it isn't even funny) in that the heavy industry is dead but in the end the hospitals, 3 Universities, and the Energy industry (coal, natural gas, power generation) WILL save this area JUST like IT SAVED Pittsburgh. Why? First, These industries are growing rapidly in this region. Since Charleston is the only metro area in this region with no big cities close (as SorryIMovedBack said), and with good infrastructure (I79,I77, I64, and Corridor G), and the busiest airport in WV - companies that do business in this region will gravitate towards Charleston as the hub just like with headquarters in Pittburgh running everying in the northern part of West Virginia.

By the way, Charleston Airport has direct flights to the closest major cities + NYC, Chicago, Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando, DC, Baltimore and the list goes on. Morgantown does not have this. You want to talk about access to things - I have 12 TV stations from my little Wal-Mart antenna all from Huntington & Charleston. Morgantown with 2 stations can't even compare. Huntington has more culture than Morgantown, and there are more concerts/venues in Charleston than in Morgantown.

I've grew up in Northern WV, and I've spent my adult life in Huntington/Charleston. But you don't need to listen to me or people's stupid reading off of meaningless facts...

LOOK AT THE MONEY FLOW. Average Putnam county yearly average salary (area between Huntington & Charleston - The Suburbs) = $60,000. What is yearly average salary in Morgantown? It's $33,000 just like the rest of WV. The only thing that compares to Putnam county is the Jefferson county (Eastern Panhandle) which have suburbs serving Washington D.C.

Oh and the Elementary Schools in Putnam county look like ones in a nice Columbus suburb. I don't think Morgantown people can say that about theirs. All Putnam County high schools except for 1 are rated in the top 5% in the United States (US News & World Report) - Morgantown Area can't say that.

Last edited by Sandford82; 12-22-2010 at 09:41 PM..
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:19 PM
Location: 304
5,274 posts, read 7,394,078 times
Reputation: 1798
Wow, that was a long post LOL

but couldn't have said it any better myself!
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