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Old 11-22-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I live in Erie PA and I want to move to Northern West Virginia. I'm looking for a small town where everyone knows each other and people are nice. But I want to be close enough to Erie that I can easily come back to visit. I have my associates degree in accounting and am currently working as a receivable clerk at a steel shop. I've been using the internet to look for work and it seems that there are job openings in my field. My concern is that I am a single parent and wonder if a person can live on one income. Right now I'm looking mainly at Fairmont and Morgantown. I read the thread about Morgantown and have been looking at real estate in the area. I really like Fairmont though as it has a college where I could continue my education. Does anyone have any personal experience with either of these places? I'm also open to suggestions on other areas.
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by saphire_1975 View Post
I live in Erie PA and I want to move to Northern West Virginia. I'm looking for a small town where everyone knows each other and people are nice. But I want to be close enough to Erie that I can easily come back to visit. I have my associates degree in accounting and am currently working as a receivable clerk at a steel shop. I've been using the internet to look for work and it seems that there are job openings in my field. My concern is that I am a single parent and wonder if a person can live on one income. Right now I'm looking mainly at Fairmont and Morgantown. I read the thread about Morgantown and have been looking at real estate in the area. I really like Fairmont though as it has a college where I could continue my education. Does anyone have any personal experience with either of these places? I'm also open to suggestions on other areas.
I am from Morgantown, and am familiar with Fairmont. First Morgantown and Fairmont are in North Central West Virginia. Northern West Virginia would be Wheeling.

Also, Morgantown has a University that is much bigger, and better than Fairmont state, although it is more expensive. Both are cheap schools.

Morgantown is bigger and has more going on than Fairmont. Fairmont is doing ok due to its proximity to Morgantown and Clarksburg, but Fairmont is really a bedroom community these days. Not much happens in Fairmont itself and some areas are somewhat depressed.

Still Fairmont is centrally located in North Central West Virginia which is the wealthiest region of WV, and has the fastest growth rate, both economic and in population in WV. North Central WV, especially WV, is booming right now making Fairmont a good option if you want cheaper living than Morgantown.

I would say Morgantown is probably better than Fairmont in almost every way possible, except in cost of living. Morgantown is much more expensive than Fairmont. However, you said you wanted to live in a quiet town where everyone knows each other. Morgantown is a small city and would not meet this criteria. Although Fairmont is smaller it still isn't a small town where everyone knows each other.

West Virginia generally has a low cost of living. I know there are jobs for experienced accountants in Morgantown, and am sure this applies to all of NCWV too. As for whether you can support yourself and your kid on this salary depends on your lifestyle, and your experience.

If you got a job in Morgantown you could live in Fairmont and commute to work if you have a reliable car. Plenty of people do this. It wouldnt make as much sense to get a job in Fairmont, and live in Morgantown though, since Morgantown is more expensive, unless you really want the culture, nightlife, and activities Morgantown has to offer. Roads can get iffy during the winter so I would recommend all-wheel or 4-wheel drive on any vehicle.

If you have more specific questions I would be glad to answer them and make a recommendation.
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Old 11-23-2011, 02:12 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Originally Posted by cry_havoc View Post
Still Fairmont is centrally located in North Central West Virginia which is the wealthiest region of WV, and has the fastest growth rate, both economic and in population in WV. North Central WV, especially WV, is booming right now making Fairmont a good option if you want cheaper living than Morgantown.
Woah! Let's not get carried away, shall we? While North Central is booming and a great place to live, some of this info is inaccurate. The wealthiest counties in West Virginia are as follows: Putnam County, Kanawha County, Jefferson County, Morgan County, Wood County.... and on down the line. The wealthiest county in North Central, Monongalia County, ranks 12th in the state, behind the core counties of the Charleston-Huntington corridor, the Northern Panhandle counties, the Eastern Panhandle counties, and a handful of others. Also, the Eastern Panhandle holds the highest standard of living in the state.

It is pretty common knowledge that the fastest-growing region of West Virginia is the far Eastern Panhandle, closest to the DC area. Some of those counties are among the fastest-growing in the nation.

And, honestly, while people do commute between Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Morgantown, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call Fairmont a bedroom community. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves with Fairmont State and the ever-growing Fairmont Technology Park (home to a NASA facility). I will agree that it can look pretty dirty and dingy in parts, but so can Morgantown.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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I also would not say that WVU is a superior institution to Fairmont St, just different.

WVU is bigger, and has more research dollars. But FSU offers smaller classes, lower tuition, and more professor/ student interaction.

For continuing edu, I'd wager a bet that Fairmont is the better option due to its size and mission.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:19 PM
 
6,347 posts, read 8,879,086 times
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Originally Posted by drs72 View Post
Woah! Let's not get carried away, shall we? While North Central is booming and a great place to live, some of this info is inaccurate. The wealthiest counties in West Virginia are as follows: Putnam County, Kanawha County, Jefferson County, Morgan County, Wood County.... and on down the line. The wealthiest county in North Central, Monongalia County, ranks 12th in the state, behind the core counties of the Charleston-Huntington corridor, the Northern Panhandle counties, the Eastern Panhandle counties, and a handful of others. Also, the Eastern Panhandle holds the highest standard of living in the state.

It is pretty common knowledge that the fastest-growing region of West Virginia is the far Eastern Panhandle, closest to the DC area. Some of those counties are among the fastest-growing in the nation.

And, honestly, while people do commute between Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Morgantown, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call Fairmont a bedroom community. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves with Fairmont State and the ever-growing Fairmont Technology Park (home to a NASA facility). I will agree that it can look pretty dirty and dingy in parts, but so can Morgantown.
Those other counties are in decline though, so what I mentioned does have to go with trend.

You are right about the Eastern Panhandle though. It is growing faster.

Fairmont is kinda a bedroom community. That NASA facility is between Fairmont and Clarksburg I believe. There is Fairmont state, but it is a small school. So you are right it does have some things going on, but a large amount of the population commutes either to Morgantown, Clarksburg, the tech park, or elsewhere.

I am not putting Fairmont down. I like Fairmont and think it might be a great fit for the OP.
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Old 11-23-2011, 01:30 PM
 
6,347 posts, read 8,879,086 times
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Originally Posted by mattec View Post
I also would not say that WVU is a superior institution to Fairmont St, just different.

WVU is bigger, and has more research dollars. But FSU offers smaller classes, lower tuition, and more professor/ student interaction.

For continuing edu, I'd wager a bet that Fairmont is the better option due to its size and mission.
I would say that WVU is superior.

In High Schools fairmont is jokingly referred to as the 13th grade. I know people who barely passed HS that can easily get into Fairmont.

WVU does have more students, but it also has more teachers. So I am not sure if Fairmont offers better interaction. I can believe Fairmont does at Freshman level classes, as some basic WVU classes are huge.

However, once you get into your major class size really shrinks. In fact most WVU professors want more interaction with their students, especially during office hours and I almost never had trouble getting time to speak with a professor, sometimes for over an hour. WVU professors are under utilized by their students.

Also, WVU is not simply bigger. It is more prestigious and gives you a better education. WVU is considered the best school in WV, and will give you the most opportunity for jobs both in WV, and outside of it.

Fairmont is cheap. I will give you that. It hardly costs more than a community college. WVU is more than Fairmont, but very cheap for a state university. That is one reason why WVU attracts students from NJ, PA, Maryland, Ohio, and several other states.

Fairmont is not a bad school, it just isn't a particular good one. If the poster can get accepted into WVU, has the time, and can afford to go there he is better off going to WVU than Fairmont.

If they end up living in Fairmont and dont want to commute, money is an issue, or they cant get accepted into WVU I would recommend Fairmont.
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Old 11-23-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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First I would like to thank all of you for your help. I thought that I should tell you a little more about myself and what I'm looking for. I do not care about night life and actually don't want to live somewhere with to much of a night life. I want to get away from city life. I don't want somewhere that is so rural that I can't send the kids to the store to get milk. I want a low crime rate and somewhere my kids can grow up safe. My kids are teenagers so I would like for them to be able to get around like to school and friends houses without me having to drive them. We also don't need a lot of activities as we really enjoy nature and playing sports. cry_havoc the part of your post that confuses me though is the part about the roads getting bad in the winter it's my understanding that the average snowfall is only about 16 inches a year. Are the roads typically just covered with ice?
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Old 11-23-2011, 07:12 PM
 
6,347 posts, read 8,879,086 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saphire_1975 View Post
First I would like to thank all of you for your help. I thought that I should tell you a little more about myself and what I'm looking for. I do not care about night life and actually don't want to live somewhere with to much of a night life. I want to get away from city life. I don't want somewhere that is so rural that I can't send the kids to the store to get milk. I want a low crime rate and somewhere my kids can grow up safe. My kids are teenagers so I would like for them to be able to get around like to school and friends houses without me having to drive them. We also don't need a lot of activities as we really enjoy nature and playing sports. cry_havoc the part of your post that confuses me though is the part about the roads getting bad in the winter it's my understanding that the average snowfall is only about 16 inches a year. Are the roads typically just covered with ice?
The city of Morgantown itself is probably not for you then. Some of the cities around it, which are really part of it, might work for you like Cheat Lake, Westover, Suncrest, Star City, etc. It also sounds like Fairmont might be a good fit.

Morgantown has more to offer, but it is more of a city, while Fairmont is a town. I think either place could work for you. Perhaps you should visit them and see where you like more, or ask your kids where they would prefer.

The problem is you want contradictory things. You dont want city life, but you want to live in a walkable area. It is very possible to live in a quiet area and be able to walk to some stores, but only if they are close by. Likewise, your friends will be able to get to school without a ride if they live close to their HS, or a bus stop. If not then they will need a ride. As for friends, again if the friends live close this wont be a problem. If you live in a more urban area there will be more opportunities for them to meet friends close by.

As, for the roads. Well the Highways usually are not bad. However, the state of some roads in WV, Western PA, is just bad. The state government doesn't give counties and municipalities enough money to clear the roads quickly. Major roads are taken care of, but sideroads can be left underplowed or even unplowed depending on where they are. The more rural the area the bigger the problem it is.

Keep in mind that WV is hilly and the hills are often steep. I have never had a problem, and I personally think most WV are very good drivers and know how to handle the snow. However, you are going to have to get used to driving in bad winter conditions.

One more comment. Morgantown has better schools than Fairmont. MHS and UHS are among the best schools in the state academically. When I was in HS a decade ago they were the top scoring schools in the state, with UHS being #1. Not sure if they are still the best, but even if they have slipped some they are still very good schools. Not just for WV, but nationally.
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Old 11-23-2011, 11:39 PM
 
10,148 posts, read 13,244,589 times
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Originally Posted by drs72 View Post
Woah! Let's not get carried away, shall we? While North Central is booming and a great place to live, some of this info is inaccurate. The wealthiest counties in West Virginia are as follows: Putnam County, Kanawha County, Jefferson County, Morgan County, Wood County.... and on down the line. The wealthiest county in North Central, Monongalia County, ranks 12th in the state, behind the core counties of the Charleston-Huntington corridor, the Northern Panhandle counties, the Eastern Panhandle counties, and a handful of others. Also, the Eastern Panhandle holds the highest standard of living in the state.

It is pretty common knowledge that the fastest-growing region of West Virginia is the far Eastern Panhandle, closest to the DC area. Some of those counties are among the fastest-growing in the nation.

And, honestly, while people do commute between Fairmont, Clarksburg, and Morgantown, I don't know if I'd go so far as to call Fairmont a bedroom community. They seem to be doing pretty well for themselves with Fairmont State and the ever-growing Fairmont Technology Park (home to a NASA facility). I will agree that it can look pretty dirty and dingy in parts, but so can Morgantown.

That depends on what you're calling "wealthy". Far and away, most of the "old money" in the state is in Wheeling, and while that town was doing better than any place else in WV as recently as the early 80s it has seen a steep decline since then. Charleston (and by extension Putnam county) probably has more upper middle class folks hanging around these days, no doubt about that, but the area is stagnant at best. To a lesser degree, the same could be said about Wood County.

I think what havoc meant to say is North Central is one of two up and coming areas in the State. The fastest growing is the Eastern Panhandle, and right behind that is North Central WV. The first is growing because it is a convenient bedroom community to DC and Baltimore, the second is growing on its own merits, one of which is proximity to a highly educated workforce and another of which is proximity to Pittsburgh and high population areas in Maryland, DC, and Ohio with easy access to the busy northeast corridor.

There aren't as many old money folks in Morgantown as there are in Wheeling, Charleston, or Parkersburg, but the old money that is here is more directly involved in the community than you find in other parts of the state. The Raese familiy (old money) has invested heavily here in a very direct manner, for example, as has the Puskar (new money) family. The Nuttings (Wheeling) have spread their investments out over a much broader playing field (Pittsburgh, Seven Springs, Charleston, Fairmont, Parkersburg, and several other places).

As a land of opportunity, there is no better place in West Virginia than North Central West Virginia in general. Getting back to the question posed by the person who initiated this thread, Fairmont would be an excellent choice if he/she is looking for low cost of living coupled with access to good job prospects, and Morgantown would be an excellent choice if access to cultural events and nightlife is more important than cost of living. Fairmont State is a good state college, and West Virginia University is a great comprehensive Land Grant University. It all depends on what the person is seeking.

Last edited by CTMountaineer; 11-23-2011 at 11:52 PM..
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Old 11-24-2011, 08:26 AM
 
65,319 posts, read 91,115,027 times
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What about communties like Follansbee or Wellsburg? Brooke County schools seem to be good and they have a good Football program, from what I hear. Both are small walkable communities in the Northern Panhandle between Wheeling and Weirton, with Steubenville Ohio across the Ohio River. Believe that area is known for its relatively high Italian American population too. I believe that there are a few small colleges close by as well.

Perhaps places like Moundsville, Chester, Bethlehem, New Cumberland, Bethany, McMechen(which has a tiny Catholic HS, Bishop Donahue, that has a Football team), Benwood, Glen Dale and Cameron, among some others.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 11-24-2011 at 08:47 AM..
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