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Old 05-19-2013, 11:16 PM
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Hello- My family will soon be relocating from the south suburbs, and we are considering a few different places. I wanted some input about Riverside. We have seen a few homes, been to open houses, and driven around the neighborhood on several occasions. It appears extremely charming, quiet, and right up our alley. However, several people have looked at us like we have lost our minds, when mentioning that Riverside is on our radar of places to potentially move to. I also sought advice from someone who recently moved from Brookfield to the east coast, and she said to avoid Brookfield and anything east of Brookfield if I value my children's safety! We've also noticed there are tons of homes for sale...

Now, I realize that I am an adult and can/will make my own decisions. However, I am really shocked by the reactions we've gotten, as I and my husband (who is from the north shore and was dead set on moving there until he saw Riverside) really think it would be a good fit for us and our 2 toddlers. He works downtown, and I am a part time home health therapist with clients north, south, east and west. We are also considering LaGrange, Elmhurst, and possibly Glenview/Deerfield. Anyhow, any input about Riverside would be GREATLY appreciated. Is there something I am missing?
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Old 05-20-2013, 07:01 AM
 
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Riverside is very charming town with quick BNSF service to the Loop. The school performance is pretty good, safety is a non-issue and the convenience of thinks like from the Brookfield Zoo to recreational options at the Forest Preserves to cultural attractions in Oak Park to shopping in Oak Brook are all pluses.

Taxes are high and that together with cyclic demand / natural aging of residents is probably driving some of the real estate sales you see.

I cannot fathom what yor friend that is leaving Brookfield meant by "avoid it if you value safety". Never heard that from anyone.


Lagrange is a very desirable town, housing dollar will not go any farther than in Riverside -- same is true for Elmhurst, Glenview and Deerfield. None of those towns have been designed by Fredick Law Olmstead and the aesthics that go along with the streetscape are unmatched.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:04 AM
 
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Riverside is very safe. The crime rate is very low for a Cook County suburb, and the schools K-8 in District 96 are really really good with very high test scores. I've heard mixed reviews about Riverside Brookfield High School, as this is the first time your kids will go to school with kids from a few of the surrounding communities that aren't as nice as Riverside, but it continues to rank well in U.S. News on the "college readiness index". Most residents consider it a really good school, and it was recently renovated. All of the D96 schools were recently renovated as well, or are undergoing renovation within the next year or two.

In my mind, there are two perceived negatives to Riverside that keep it "budget priced" compared to La Grange and other BNSF suburbs further west: (1) The surrounding communities are more "down market" than Riverside, and you will be relying heavily on amenities in these surrounding communities since Riverside has little retail. Some people don't like the idea of shopping in Berwyn, North Riverside, or Broadview. (2) The Des Plaines River flooding has really scared people away. When we thought we were moving there, we heard quite frequently from friends and acquaintances who were convinced that the entirety of Riverside was under water, even though it mostly affected specific areas near the river.

And as Chet mentioned, the property taxes in Riverside can be insanely high--though this isn't unique to Riverside by any means, as you would know from looking at the North Shore.

We ultimately decided on a house in a different west suburban community, but we never ruled out Riverside. While you are unlikely to get river water flowing down your street, basement flooding is still a pretty big issue in Riverside, even far away from the river itself. We drove around after the April 18th flooding and saw a lot of soaked basement furniture and carpet on the curb waiting to be hauled away. Now, this affected most western suburbs regardless of age, and hilltop houses are hard to come by in flat Chicagoland. But you'll want to look for signs of wet basements wherever you look.
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:36 AM
 
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I agree with Lookout Kid's comment and will add that in the VAST majority of cases of "flooding" there is HUGE element of homeowner responsibility.
I often stress the importance of having an appropriately maintained sump pump that is properly setup with a discharge that can safely carry any ground water far enough away from one's home as well as understandting the importance of things that to the untrained homeowner are merely asthetic. Drainage Do's and Don'ts

Smart homeowners know that improper grading or ineffective rain gutters will doom your basement. I know people who literally live adjacent to Salt Creek in Brookfield who have a DRY BASEMENT because they have taken appropriate precautions that their neighbors have ignored. Some of the stuff seems simple -- a sump discharge that can move water so it does not "cycle back" to the pit, gutter tails /downspouts that extend far enough from the house so that the foundation stays dry, pumps that will actually remove water from the sump(s) faster than the flow into the pit... An appropriate backfill that includes gravel and sand near the house and keeping clay further out. Backfilling with Clay??? - Forum - Bob Vila
There are huge differences in soil that "drains well" vs the situations where clay can literally expand and contract so much as to buckle a foundation -- Waterproofing in Expansive Clay Soils



Some folks get "lucky" while others forget about these things. I liken it to boat owners that are clueless about the importance of a "bilge pump" until they've had to battle for their boat / their life on a sinking: ALL ABOUT BILGE PUMPS - Boats, Yachts Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Last edited by chet everett; 05-20-2013 at 10:58 AM..
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,872 posts, read 8,748,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rae4732 View Post
Hello- My family will soon be relocating from the south suburbs, and we are considering a few different places. I wanted some input about Riverside. We have seen a few homes, been to open houses, and driven around the neighborhood on several occasions. It appears extremely charming, quiet, and right up our alley. However, several people have looked at us like we have lost our minds, when mentioning that Riverside is on our radar of places to potentially move to. I also sought advice from someone who recently moved from Brookfield to the east coast, and she said to avoid Brookfield and anything east of Brookfield if I value my children's safety! We've also noticed there are tons of homes for sale...

Now, I realize that I am an adult and can/will make my own decisions. However, I am really shocked by the reactions we've gotten, as I and my husband (who is from the north shore and was dead set on moving there until he saw Riverside) really think it would be a good fit for us and our 2 toddlers. He works downtown, and I am a part time home health therapist with clients north, south, east and west. We are also considering LaGrange, Elmhurst, and possibly Glenview/Deerfield. Anyhow, any input about Riverside would be GREATLY appreciated. Is there something I am missing?
It's safe for your kids but bear in mind that Riverside's eastern border is Harlem Avenue. Harlem Avenue is where you effectively enter the Chicago grid and step into urban environment. Berwyn and Stickney are very similar to bungalow neighborhoods in Chicago on the Northwest and Southwest sides and are economically and racially mixed. Cicero will only be a few miles east from you and is predominantly low income Hispanic. I wouldn't call it unsafe compared to City neighborhoods like Little Village, Englewood, Austin, or East Garfield Park however. Oak Park is Oak Park, with its cherished diversity and ability to bring you an array of multiculturism and a general good feeling on the subject, as well as some nice chain restaurants as of late.

If these eastern neighbors do not appeal to you, you can sequester yourself to some degree by trying to focus your entire world to the west. But you won't be able to avoid it completely, given that you'll be sharing traffic and probably your grocery stores with residents who are probably a lot more mixed in income than what it sounds like you're used to. And also note that Riverside, believe it or not, has a lot of rentals, and it's far from unheard of for families from the west side of Chicago to move there for the better schools and for other reasons.
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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When we were close to moving to Riverside, we looked at the proximity to Berwyn and Brookfield as positive things. We found a Montesorri School in Brookfield that had a truly wonderful director and some of the most well-behaved kids I've seen in any pre-school environment anywhere, the Brookfield Zoo is nearby, and the ethnic restaurant options are vastly superior to suburbs in DuPage County. I know an increasing number of people who are moving to Berwyn from the city, and there are some pretty good hangouts and shopping options there. Lyons has the "Family Aquatic Center", which is basically a huge water playground for kids under six. And if the "urban grittiness" *wink* that BRU67 speaks of is too much for you or you just get sick of hearing Spanish, you are just a short drive away from more monied suburban villages like La Grange and Hinsdale.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:12 PM
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ha.. well thanks for all of the advice. I am not worried about other cultures. I don't, however, want to purchase a $500k home and find out in 3 years (when my kids are entering school) that the amazing schools and general safety of the neighborhood have disappeared, and then we are stuck. We are also considering LaGrange, however $500k is kind of a "fixer-upper" there. We actually went to see some homes yesterday, and then we were rear-ended on 1st Ave and had to hang out in the Burger King parking lot in Lyons for a while.. it was interesting people watching. My husband kind of changed his tune a little after watching the people go in and out of BK, but again, he grew up in Glenview.
The water thing worries me of course.. flooding. I need a flooding for dummies book, apparently. All the things Chet mentioned flew over my head. We live in Tinley Park right now, and even though we are nowhere near any rivers or streams, we have a perma-sealed basement. I thought I read that the north/east sides of the town aren't very threatened, its more the south/west sides that run along Salt Creek. A lot to think about.
I have family in Oak Park, and while the Austin neighborhood scares the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of me, it would be a lovely place to visit and shop in.
We don't want to go much further west than LaGrange.. I know your money goes much farther out in my of the western suburbs, but again.. we are trying to decrease commute times, be more central, and find a fantastic place to raise our 1 and 2 year old. Maybe I'll go back to my obsession over Elmhurst. A little more West, but also north. I am not sure what the drive commute times are like from city to Elmhurst. Ahhhhh.....
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:35 PM
 
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Riverside is beautiful with a wonderful commuting location. The elementary schools are excellent. I love how RB is so much smaller than the more common mega model of Chicagoland high schools. I think it lacks some of the services (restaurants, delivery, Whole Foods) that you could find in La Grange or Oak Park though. Elmhurst has a great downtown and services, plus solid elementary schools, but the high school is less strong than the competition like Lyons Township.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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There is nothing going on in Riverside to suggest that the safety level is going down, that crime is going up, or that the D96 schools are getting worse. All of these factors are quite stable.

The basement flooding seems to happen in all parts of town. One house two blocks from the river could be dry while a house on the northeast corner of town could be wet. This is not confined to Riverside, and pretty much happens in any town that is largely older houses with block foundations on combined sewer systems. Elmhurst has a history of flooding on par with the worst of the worst, and you only need to look at the photos from the April 18th flooding thread here in the suburbs forum to see what can happen even in brand new construction.

//www.city-data.com/forum/chica...ent-today.html
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,872 posts, read 8,748,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rae4732 View Post
ha.. well thanks for all of the advice. I am not worried about other cultures. I don't, however, want to purchase a $500k home and find out in 3 years (when my kids are entering school) that the amazing schools and general safety of the neighborhood have disappeared, and then we are stuck. We are also considering LaGrange, however $500k is kind of a "fixer-upper" there. We actually went to see some homes yesterday, and then we were rear-ended on 1st Ave and had to hang out in the Burger King parking lot in Lyons for a while.. it was interesting people watching. My husband kind of changed his tune a little after watching the people go in and out of BK, but again, he grew up in Glenview.
The water thing worries me of course.. flooding. I need a flooding for dummies book, apparently. All the things Chet mentioned flew over my head. We live in Tinley Park right now, and even though we are nowhere near any rivers or streams, we have a perma-sealed basement. I thought I read that the north/east sides of the town aren't very threatened, its more the south/west sides that run along Salt Creek. A lot to think about.
I have family in Oak Park, and while the Austin neighborhood scares the LIVING DAYLIGHTS out of me, it would be a lovely place to visit and shop in.
We don't want to go much further west than LaGrange.. I know your money goes much farther out in my of the western suburbs, but again.. we are trying to decrease commute times, be more central, and find a fantastic place to raise our 1 and 2 year old. Maybe I'll go back to my obsession over Elmhurst. A little more West, but also north. I am not sure what the drive commute times are like from city to Elmhurst. Ahhhhh.....
Lookout you're spot on, as always, haha Berwyn is definitely getting a lot of younger couples from the city. People from places like Logan Square, Pilsen, and Avondale. Hipsters really, who were renting in the city and are buying a first house. It's a pretty vibrant time to live here, visibly different than 10 or even 5 years ago.

I'm not suggesting Berwyn is in any way dangerous (I've had no problems at al beyond a garage tagging about 10 years ago now). I don't even think Cicero is dangerous. But we're looking at it from our viewpoints. I'm not sure our OP fits the mold of someone who would enjoy this area. If they're getting jittery at the Burger King in Lyons, I can't imagine how they'd feel at the North Riverside Park Mall. In all honesty, it sounds like Elmhurst would be a better fit for her, or maybe even Naperville?

She can move to Riverside and just look west but she's going to feel like she's on an island, and I wasn't kidding about the apartments in Riverside. That'll put the "grit" right at hearth & home. People who are this overly concerned about, er, "safety" generally don't do well in this area, and the area itself is probably better off without them.

All IMHO of course.
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