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Old 01-03-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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We are relocating to the area and are trying to decide between the above areas. We have small children so decent schools, family friendly areas, low crime, etc are important. Any thoughts on the two suburbs or differences to consider between the two??? Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Old 01-08-2007, 02:59 PM
 
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Hello, I've been a lifetime resident of Park City, a small town bordering on the east of Gurnee, so I can tell you alot about both towns. Gurnee and Grayslake are both good places to live. Both are quite safe. Grayslake has a lower crime rate, but this is due to a difference in thefts, not violent crime, which is near zero in both places. The higher occurance of thefts in Gurnee is attributable to both the Gurnee Mills Mall and the Six Flags Great America Theme Park, both in Gurnee. Alot of petty theft happens in both places and so is responsible for the higher crime rate in Gurnee. Again though, both towns are very safe, with little to no violent crime. Both towns have good but not spectacular schools. When I was still going to school there, Gurnee's Warren Township High School won the Blue Ribbon Award for education (1999-2000), but since then the school has come back to the pack. Both property values and property taxes will be slightly higher in Gurnee, but in either town, expect to pay 200-250 K for a decent family home, and 10-12 K a year in taxes. Grayslake has a better park system for what it's worth. Also as Lake County has developed, towns have matured starting near the lake and moving west. This means that Gurnee, and the surrounding area is pretty fully developed, whereas some the the Grayslake surroundings are still maturing (Grayslake is already developed). This means a slight reduction in traffic in Grayslake as compared to Gurnee, although as with almost anything between these two towns, the difference is not great. Also, keep in mind with either of these towns, that they developed as bedroom communties for Chicago commuters. This means neither town has much in the way of truly local buisiness (95% or more chain stores and franchise restaurants), neither has any historic district or true downtown to speak of, and if either place you need to travel to Chicago or at least in inner suburbs to see a live concert or sporting event. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I for one loved growing up where I did, but this isn't the place to move if you are looking for culture or history. Both towns are great however if you want a quite, safe residential home with good schools. Also, in either case, plan on a 90 commute into the city most days. Post any other questions you have, and I'll try to check on this thread from time to time.
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Old 01-09-2007, 04:53 PM
 
26 posts, read 113,212 times
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Thank you for the response, it was very helpful! I did wonder about the higher crime rate in Gurnee so I am happy to hear the reasoning. They seem similiar in nature, but Gurnee seems slightly more expensive. But, I have heard that long term schools will be better than Grayslake.

Do you know anything about the TIF that is about to be voted on?? Grayslake had info on their website about it and it also affects the Woodland school part of Gurnee. Taxes are already so high there, I want to make sure we know about any things that could drive them significantly higher.

We have visited briefly and saw that it was pretty big box, rather than quaint or historical. We have the best of both worlds in Ohio with great schools, a quaint downtown, and beatiful homes. Unfortunately, we cannot afford quaint there.... lol These seem to be the best values I have seen that still have decent schools. I am open to any suggestions though as we are very unfamiliar with the area. Thank you again for responding!
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
17,700 posts, read 37,386,189 times
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I used to live in the Links of English Meadows in Grayslake. Great neighborhood with NO HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION! There's an elementary school in the neighborhood too. Grayslake, unlike Gurnee, has a metra station too (2 stations in fact, one of which stops at O'Hare). From Gurnee, you would have to either go into Waukegan or over to Grayslake, or Libertyville. When we lived there, I found myself going to Gurnee a lot. I did most of my non-grocery shopping in Gurnee. I'm not sure how much Grayslake has changed. I left in 2000. We left to move back to Indiana to be closer to family once our first child was born (we have 3 now). I don't miss the high property taxes, that's for sure. But I sure miss being in between Chicago and Milwaukee .... I miss it a lot!!!
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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First about your question concerning the TIF, I have been away at college for I few years and so have not keep up on local issues as I should, but I did so research and found the following (I think) helpful site. http://educationmatters.us/?p=693 Some background on the tax situation throughout the county might be helpful. Despite having some of the highest tax revenues in the midwest, Lake County, particularly its school districts have been somewhat tight on cash for the last decade. This is due to a higher cost of living compared to other Illinois and Wisconsin areas (you saw the property values) that requires higher teacher and administrator salaries (each tax dollar doesn't go as far). More of an issue has been the rapid growth of lake county over the last 25 years. In 1980, Lake county had about 425,000 residents. In 2000, Lake county had about 650,000 residents. The school districts have been struggling to find the funds to support the hugh influx of new students. Exaserbating the problem is the fact that a higher than average percentage of the new residents were families. This means new tax revenue did not grow as fast as the student population in most areas. The end result is that many local schools created referendums to acquire additional funding in the late nineties and early in this millenia. However, when many schools tried this (some multiply times over a few years), a taxpayer backlash against new tax increases resulted. Some local taxpayer advocacy groups formed (notably the "Citizens for Responsible Government" who succeeded in killing a needed tax increase for my high school when I was there) and activly fought against the tax increase referendums. This is a very long and rambling answer to your original question, but my point is that local residents will probably fight the TIF tooth and nail, and I would be somewhat suprised if it passes as currently written. In answer to your second question/comment about other suggestions for towns, I would say Gurnee or Grayslake are about the best combination of safety, schools, and affordability you are likely to find, but here are some other nearly suggestions: Libertyville, more expensive but with better schools and a little more of a downtown; Vernon Hills, basically it's Grayslake farther south and a little more expensive but worth a look; Lindenhurst, more open and still a bit cheaper than Gurnee but still (I believe) in the Gurnee Schools' districts; Park City, my hometown. The western half of Park City is still in the Gurnee Schools' Districts (which is why I went to Warren Township High School), the property values and taxes are lower then anything else discussed, although the homes are smaller (1300-1800 SqFt). Park City gets a bad rap because the east half goes to Waukegan (bad) schools, is heavily hispanic, and because the town gets its from the trailer park in the east half of town. It's not for everyone, but if taxes/property values are a concern, it's worth a look.
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Old 01-09-2007, 08:18 PM
 
2,109 posts, read 4,882,273 times
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I'd argue that most people in Gurnee & Grayslake do not commute all the way into Chicago for their jobs. After all, a large chunk of Chicagoland's jobs are in the suburbs. You'll find a lot more people who live in towns like say, Glenview or Park Ridge working in downtown Chicago. If you're all the way up in Gurnee or Grayslake, it would be far easier to work in an office park on say Lake-Cook Road (in Deerfield / Northbrook), or some of the commercial areas in Vernon Hills or Lake Forest (by the toll road). And believe me that is exactly what happens. Just watch the traffic patterns. The majority of Kenosha County & northern Lake County commuters head south towards Lake-Cook Road during the morning rush hour and head back up north at night. On the flipside you have all these reverse commuters from the north side of Chicago that are heading up north towards Lake-Cook Road that head back south towards the city in the evening. Lake-Cook Road seems to be a pretty key dividing line in the region. You see the same thing happening on the Metra trains as well. A lot of early morning commuters who board at stops like Fox Lake & Grayslake end up exiting the train at Lake-Cook Road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MinuteWaltz View Post
Hello, I've been a lifetime resident of Park City, a small town bordering on the east of Gurnee, so I can tell you alot about both towns. Gurnee and Grayslake are both good places to live. Both are quite safe. Grayslake has a lower crime rate, but this is due to a difference in thefts, not violent crime, which is near zero in both places. The higher occurance of thefts in Gurnee is attributable to both the Gurnee Mills Mall and the Six Flags Great America Theme Park, both in Gurnee. Alot of petty theft happens in both places and so is responsible for the higher crime rate in Gurnee. Again though, both towns are very safe, with little to no violent crime. Both towns have good but not spectacular schools. When I was still going to school there, Gurnee's Warren Township High School won the Blue Ribbon Award for education (1999-2000), but since then the school has come back to the pack. Both property values and property taxes will be slightly higher in Gurnee, but in either town, expect to pay 200-250 K for a decent family home, and 10-12 K a year in taxes. Grayslake has a better park system for what it's worth. Also as Lake County has developed, towns have matured starting near the lake and moving west. This means that Gurnee, and the surrounding area is pretty fully developed, whereas some the the Grayslake surroundings are still maturing (Grayslake is already developed). This means a slight reduction in traffic in Grayslake as compared to Gurnee, although as with almost anything between these two towns, the difference is not great. Also, keep in mind with either of these towns, that they developed as bedroom communties for Chicago commuters. This means neither town has much in the way of truly local buisiness (95% or more chain stores and franchise restaurants), neither has any historic district or true downtown to speak of, and if either place you need to travel to Chicago or at least in inner suburbs to see a live concert or sporting event. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I for one loved growing up where I did, but this isn't the place to move if you are looking for culture or history. Both towns are great however if you want a quite, safe residential home with good schools. Also, in either case, plan on a 90 commute into the city most days. Post any other questions you have, and I'll try to check on this thread from time to time.
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:18 AM
 
26 posts, read 113,212 times
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My hubbie will not be commuting to downtown. He will start in Wood Dale, but eventually be based in the Northern suburb of Mettawa. I appreciate everyone's advice. We will see what happens with the tax issue and continue to look.
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Old 01-11-2007, 12:14 PM
 
26 posts, read 113,212 times
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Minutewaltz, one more question if you check this thread again. Since you grew up in the area, is there any perceptual difference between the Gurnee distict vs. the Woodland district of Gurnee? They test pretty close to the same, but I just wondered if people that live there seem to have a preference. Thanks!
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Old 01-23-2007, 02:51 PM
 
6 posts, read 40,847 times
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Sorry, it took so long to relpy, I have not visited the forum in a while. Academically Gurnee and Woodland are about the same. Woodland is much larger though. The Gurnee school district covers more of the eastern (and therefore older and more settled) part of Gurnee, while Woodland covers the western (and therefore newer) part of Gurnee. In the nineties and early 2000's when Gurnee and all of central Lake County was growing like a weed, Woodland school district expanded fairly constantly. At one point they had five, yes five separate buildings to house all the students. They are down to four now, but only because they merged two neighboring buildings by adding a combined atrium. As I mentioned in an earlier response, most of Gurnee is pretty well built up now, so the growth should have stopped, but Woodland is still huge. I don't know how they manage to be honest. The Gurnee school district is still big, but not nearly as big, and I believe it is still concentrated in one building (don't quote me on that though). When I went to Woodland they were struggling with the growing student population, and the quality was not very good. I left for a private school in 2nd grade, so I have no first hand experience beyond that time, but I've heard it's gotten better. This may be a bit of personal bias speaking, but I'd go with the Gurnee school district if you have a choice. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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Thank you for the response! I was just curious since they are in the same general area. We did look at one house that is zoned to Gurnee grade school, but their website said they are taking new students on a wait list basis only. That seemed very odd to me, I have never heard of a public school being closed to new students so we will just see what we find.
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