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Old 03-18-2011, 10:20 AM
Location: Clinton, CT
25 posts, read 42,688 times
Reputation: 16


Looking into a possible relocation to the Albany area. Would likely be working around the Colonie area. I've done some browsing of the forum to get a good idea of some of the popular areas, but I'm still not sure all of them fit exactly what we'd be looking for. Here are some of our requirements...

-good school district (oldest will be entering 1st grade next year)
-safe and family friendly neighborhood
-within a 20-min drive of Colonie
-affordable, good selection of 3+ BR house in the 240-280k range
-suburban (i.e. close proximity to grocery stores/restaurants/stores)
-decent parks/recreation areas in the area

Based on proximity to work and good school districts...from what I've read, places like Guilderland, Niskayuna, Scotia, Burnt Hills, Voorheesville, and Waterford may be worth looking into. Any that I might consider ruling out based on the above requirements? Any that may have been missed?

Most important thing right now is finding an area to impress the wife with, as she's rather skeptical about the area.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:47 PM
Location: Albany, NY
335 posts, read 761,889 times
Reputation: 686
When you say suburban, do you mean walking neighborhood, or do you more mean non-rural? There are lots of suburbs around here that are really suburbany-y - i.e. lots of strip malls, no town common/center like New England suburbs have, sub-divisions, cul-de-sacs, etc. Lots of these have what you are looking for - recreation, decent schools, safe, family-friendly, near Colonie, near stores - but most are not the sorts of places where you would amble over to the grocery store, library or park on foot or bike.

People are very different in what in what they like in the "feel" of a neighborhood, sometimes hard to quantify, but if we know more, we may be able to better advise you. For example, when we first moved to the region, we lived in Guilderland and were very unhappy. It has a good library; some good parks, especially Towasentha; decent schools; near stores and the big malls; and most of the people are very nice. Sounds perfect, right? But there are almost no connecting streets, and we hated the fact that if you wanted to take a walk of any distance, it could only be on the main road with cars whizzing by you. Kids could not go get an ice-cream cone on their own because it is an extremely car-oriented area. Although we lived only a mile from the library, we couldn't walk there because it was too dangerous. We felt very trapped and isolated until we moved to the City of Albany itself.

Much of Voorheesville is more than a 20 minute ride to Colonie, and it's not near a highway. Colonie itself is quite large, so depending where in Colonie, it could take you much longer. Scotia is near the highway, but, again, depending on where in Colonie it could be a long ride. If you are working in the western part of Colonie, though, it wouldn't be a bad commute. Other than that, the other towns probably meet your requirements. It may be hard to find a 3 br in Niskayuna for that price, but if you don't mind an older house with smaller rooms, it is definitley do-able. I don't know much about Burnt Hills, either, although there are lots of groceries, fast food, pharmacy, etc. along Route 50 near part of Burnt Hills.
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Old 03-19-2011, 11:02 AM
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Perhaps Delmar in the very good Bethlehem SD, Altamont, the village of Colonie and the older part of Niskayuna near the Upper Union area of Schenectady.
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Old 03-19-2011, 08:10 PM
Location: Clinton, CT
25 posts, read 42,688 times
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Thanks for the feedback guys. And a valid question about exactly what I mean by suburban. I'm not terribly concerned about being able to walk to stores/libraries...but ultimately would like to find a neighborhood where traffic is at least light enough to safely take walks, even in the absence of sidewalks. Otherwise, just looking for and area with family friendly neighborhoods that are just a short drive (say 5 min) to stores/restaurants. I will say I'm a bit more interested in staying S&W of Albany than N&E...just because it keeps us 15-20 minutes closer to my family in PA or the in-laws out in Syracuse.
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Old 03-20-2011, 08:56 PM
267 posts, read 891,576 times
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I think Burnt Hills would be too far away for you, and Scotia might be too. Colonie & Latham have great schools so I'd start there. I see your above post about wanting to stay S&W of Albany, but honestly I think that might just put you out of your 20 minute commute. I think having a short daily commute would be better than the shorter occasional trip to family...
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Old 03-20-2011, 09:59 PM
Location: Albany, NY
335 posts, read 761,889 times
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Given your clarification, Guilderland might be a good choice. It has a decent school district, and easier to get to Colonie than from Bethlehem. It would also save you at least 20 minutes on your drive to Syracuse.

There is a huge range of housing in Guilderland. Some of the newer homes are huge and can be close to a million $, but there are plenty of medium and small homes too, and you can definitely find something in your price range, although probably not new construction. There's also a choice of neighborhoods that have a more urban feel and a more rural feel besides tons of subdivisions. (All very safe, though, in terms of crime. Some more safe than others in terms of traffic.) The eastern end of Guilderland abuts Albany, and is very near LOTS of malls/strip malls. The homes tend to be older with smaller yards. As you head west, the Guilderland Center area is more rural. There are even a few small farms still hanging on.

There are tons of families in Guilderland and many older, more settled residents as well. Very few singles outside of a few apartment complexes. The library does lots of programming for kids, families and teens. There is a nice large park with outdoor pool, including kiddie pool, playground, amphitheater with performances in the summer, ball fields, etc. Also sledding and x-country skiing in the winter. There are also a few much smaller parks. There is a fairly new YMCA (ca. 8 years old) in Guilderland with lots of family programming and an indoor pool. When you join the Y, you can also use facilities at other Capital Region YMCA's (Bethlehem, North Albany, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, and more)

The one thing to keep in mind is that the town is spread out, and there is only one middle school and one high school. Depending on where you live in the town, older kids can be on the bus for a long time.
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