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Old 10-06-2014, 01:12 PM
 
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Contemplating a possible move to Albany area. Husband would be working near the airport. We have pre-school aged children, probably don't want to spend more than 6-700K and want to be near restaurants, decent supermarkets and parks, if possible. Is Loudonville a possibility or should we be looking further out? (Niskayuna?) Schools are a major factor in our decision. Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2014, 01:38 PM
 
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This may help: Best school districts in the Albany, New York region - Albany Business Review

Albany Business Review Schools Report 2014, Albany, New York school district rankings - Albany Business Review

Loudonville is in the North Colonie SD, by the way.
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:12 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxma21 View Post
Contemplating a possible move to Albany area. Husband would be working near the airport. We have pre-school aged children, probably don't want to spend more than 6-700K and want to be near restaurants, decent supermarkets and parks, if possible. Is Loudonville a possibility or should we be looking further out? (Niskayuna?) Schools are a major factor in our decision. Thanks!
Unless you want a gigantic home, 6-700K should get you something nice in Loudonville. Niskayuna isn't really any cheaper and Schenectady County has higher taxes. The general perception seems to be that Niskayuna schools are better, but the stats and rankings don't really bear that out. North Colonie (the district Loudonville is in), Niskayuna, Bethlehem and Guilderland seem to move around among the top 4 spots from year to year.

There seems to be a lot more turmoil in the Niskayuna District at the moment than in North Colonie. There are debates going back and forth about whether to close or consolidate schools, the fairly new superintendent left suddenly last year with a decent severance package, parents are annoyed that one of the high school principals is also a sports agent and doesn't spend enough time on school stuff, etc. But these are all things based on gossip, not hard facts. And you probably don't want to take school advice from me, the person who sends her kids to school in the district that is ranked #85 out of 85 Capital District school districts.

It really depends on the kind of feel you are looking for. In Loudonville, you have to drive pretty much everywhere. There are some very stately old homes on the main drags, but much of it is McMansion subdivisions. (Others may dispute me. I'm never entirely clear as to what is Loudonville and what is Latham. But Siena College has a Loudonville address and the area behind Siena is lousy with McMansions on small lot cul-de-sacs.) It is very close to all the major highways, and it is pretty much in the center of the Capital District, so even though you have to drive everywhere, it is easy to get everywhere.

Niskayuna is not as central as Loudonville. It, too, has McMansion subdivisions, but there is also a section called Old Niskayuna that has older homes on more of a grid street pattern and a few places to walk to, including a nice little market, the Niskayuna Co-Op. The area has more of an old-fashioned neighborhood feel than Loudonville.

The Capital District is in the middle of supermarket wars it seems, so pretty much any of the more populated towns will have a couple of decent supermarkets to choose from (although the fact that there is no Wegmans here is a huge tragedy to many people). There is also a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe's near the airport, so your husband could pick up stuff on the way home. They are not open 24 hours, though, like many of the standard supermarkets are.
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Old 10-07-2014, 11:50 AM
 
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Thanks for the help! Will definitely check out both Niskayuna and Loudonville. I'm okay with McMansion type developments to some degree, coming from the ATL suburbs, but definitely want to avoid anything that is packed closely together (like many of the newer neighborhoods are here. Am okay with New Urbanism, but not sardine can McMansions on a normal street). Is there much of a restaurant scene in these towns or do you have to go into Albany?
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Old 10-07-2014, 12:40 PM
 
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What about Delmar in the Bethlehem SD or parts of Guilderland?
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:36 PM
 
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Thought about Bethlehem, but the commute would be longer for my husband, right? I don't know the Albany traffic patterns. Also am interested in being near Whole Foods and Fresh Market as we are in our current home.

Another few questions- which towns have the best parks/playgrounds? And where are the best gyms? Do people use the Y? I am assuming that my days of running outside may be numbered in the winter months, so this is important as well. (We are originally from CT and the Ys there are fairly nice, but down here in ATL they don't really exist.) We are interested in both children's programs as well as adult fitness- basic equipment like weights, treadmills, etc, but also yoga and pilates. Gyms that offer childcare are a big plus.
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Old 10-07-2014, 05:28 PM
 
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Parts of Colonie in the South Colonie SD may work and still puts you close to work, those stores and more.
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Old 10-07-2014, 07:20 PM
 
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I wouldn't rule out Saratoga Springs. Yes, it would be a longer commute, but with your budget, you could afford a house that is walking distance to everything you're looking for. I'm getting the sense that you'd like an all-in-one quality of life and Saratoga has everything you're searching for. Great restaurants, parks, schools, shopping, farmer's markets, and nightlife can all be found in this small city. Search this forum for more information.
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Old 10-07-2014, 09:54 PM
 
Location: Albany, NY
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Colonie (Loudonville is part of Colonie) has a very popular new-ish park called The Crossings. Its playground is excellent - maybe a little too excellent - we mostly go on cold days because otherwise it is too crowded. The Mohawk River Park in Colonie is also very nice, but it is on the far north edge of town - almost in Saratoga County. In terms of small neighborhood parks that kids and families hang out in - Albany is probably the best for that. Are you looking for parks with playgrounds where families with young kids may meet up and have playdates? Ball fields and other sport facilities? Parks with more of a natural feel with hiking, etc? Large parks with lots of different facilities? Parks in the various towns are different.

Niskayuna doesn't have much in the way of restaurants at all, which I've never figured out since it is a fairly wealthy town. There are some decent restaurants in Schenectady, but the main restaurant scene is in Albany. Don't forget, though, that it is quite easy to get from both Loudonville and Delmar to downtown Albany. It sounds like you currently live in Atlanta. I have a colleague who moved to Atlanta from Niskayuna a few years ago. She rarely goes to stores and restaurants outside of her Emory neighborhood because it is just too much of a hassle to get around. There is much less sprawl and gridlock here.

Besides the locally sourced, nicer restaurant scene, Albany is also filled with cheap, family-friendly ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The Wolf Rd area near the airport has most of the major chain restaurants. For more than you would ever want to know about the Capital District restaurant scene, check out Table Hopping and Fussy Little Blog. The readers of the first blog are quite opinionated.

I have never been, but the Cicotti Center in Colonie is supposed to have very nice facilities and programs for all ages. It even has a small indoor water park! The Capital District YMCA facilities are very nice (although their web site leaves a lot to be desired. TONS of the programs they offer aren't listed, and it is almost impossible to register online). Most buildings have been built within the past 15 years. The "Albany" YMCA is actually very close to Loudonville. It is rarely crowded, and the staff is very nice. Although it has a daycare there, it doesn't have many programs for little kids. It is more aimed at teens and adults. It is small and lacks facilities like whirlpools and saunas, but if you join the Albany Y, you can got to some of the additional branches for free and others at a reduced rate. I'm never quite sure how it works - as a member of the Albany Y, I get into the Bethlehem and Guilderland Y for free, but have to pay a small fee to use the Saratoga Y. Another option is the Albany Jewish Community Center, which is on the Slingerlands (part of Bethlehem) end of Albany.
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Old 10-08-2014, 11:51 AM
 
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The lack of sprawl and gridlock are definitely appealing- I don't leave my house before 9am or after 430pm most days down here. Thank you for all of the information! This is incredibly helpful. The Ciccotti Center sounds really great.

In response to a previous post suggesting Saratoga, I agree that it would probably offer me everything I want, lifestyle wise, but I'd prefer if my husband doesn't have a commute and we also would like to be closer to MA/NYC/CT where we have family.
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