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Old 02-20-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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I had posted this question somewhere among the threads, but cannot find it now - I apologize for the duplication....

My husband is being transferred to work in Oak Brook - we have two children (13 and 9) who are of different race than us (we are white, they are black). I would like to live in a town with some diversity, a bit liberal, and decent schools. We are looking to buy a house in the 350-400K range. Would anyone have suggestions as to locations relatively close to Oak Brook? (by relatively close, I mean within 45 minutes - we are coming from the DC area, and my husband's commute is currently 1 1/2 hours).

Thank you!
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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Evanston fits the bill. But it's probably out of consideration... just way too far from his workplace.

Maybe Oak Park, but keep in mind that there's a huge income gap between its white and black residents.

What do you think about living in the city? Maybe Hyde Park or Beverly neighborhoods could be a good fit for you.
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Old 02-20-2007, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Oak Park is probably the only town that fits all criteria. Its known for being racially diverse, progressive, and having an excellent public school system. The commute to Oak Brook is probably 20-30 minutes depending on where in Oak Park you live. 350-400K is definitely on the low end of SFH prices in Oak Park. That being said, there are quite a few houses available in that range.

Hyde Park is simply too far away, probably over an hour commute. Don't know for sure about Beverly, but its probably also over an hour commute.
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Old 02-21-2007, 03:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outsider1 View Post
Evanston fits the bill. But it's probably out of consideration... just way too far from his workplace.

Maybe Oak Park, but keep in mind that there's a huge income gap between its white and black residents.

What do you think about living in the city? Maybe Hyde Park or Beverly neighborhoods could be a good fit for you.
I don't think I want to live right in Chicago - it seems a bit far for driving everyday, seeing as how we are moving to lessen his commute time. I'd heard Naperville and Downer's Grove are nice places - not as diverse, but becoming more diverse all the time. Would either of those be decent choices?
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
4,695 posts, read 8,284,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JnnfrSr View Post
I had posted this question somewhere among the threads, but cannot find it now - I apologize for the duplication....

My husband is being transferred to work in Oak Brook - we have two children (13 and 9) who are of different race than us (we are white, they are black). I would like to live in a town with some diversity, a bit liberal, and decent schools. We are looking to buy a house in the 350-400K range. Would anyone have suggestions as to locations relatively close to Oak Brook? (by relatively close, I mean within 45 minutes - we are coming from the DC area, and my husband's commute is currently 1 1/2 hours).

Thank you!
Much like Budweiser and beer, most people automatically picture Oak Park when they think of diversity. But truthfully, Berwyn (its southern neighbor) is much more diverse. Whites, Latinos, African-Americans, blue collar, white collar, and artists all live side by side in this town. Oak Park's ethnically mixed areas, on the other hand, tend to be concentrated on the less desirable east side towards Austin. And high prices are rapidly eliminating diversity there too. I've lived in both communities so I speak from experience.

Berwyn's elementary and middle schools are actually very good. Morton West High School could use some improvement but isn't as bad as it's made out to be, and I know some wealthier families who have kids there and actually like it. And while $350-400k will buy you a condo or a shack in Oak Park, you'll get an outstanding Victorian or bungalow for that sum in Berwyn.

And, fyi, Oak Brook is about 15 minutes away -- a straight shot right down Cermak Rd.
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Old 02-21-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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Sorry, the city areas I mentioned are about an hour away. Hyde Park is actually DC kind of diverse, but I must admit that commute will be rather difficult.

BRU67 just confirmed my doubts about Oak Park. And he might be just right about Berwyn as you'll likely find it DC-diverse. But keep in mind that Berwyn is the kind of place that you need to study and see very thoroughly before jumping to any conclusions. Seems that some like it, consider it livable and stay for good, yet others take one look and leave forever.

Naperville's diversity is very insignificant. But don't let this stop you. You should be able to fit in there quite well. In your situation you would be better in Naperville rather than in Downers Grove.
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Old 02-21-2007, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Little Village
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Good points Outsider. You definitely should research any area you are thinking of move to, and check it out at different times of day and night. I grew up in Elmhurst (not diverse) but also lived in various neighborhoods of Chicago over the past decade so I'm comfortable around diversity. Some may not be, and that's ok. I definitely think Berwyn is moving forward and is going to be a destination in a few years. It's got good energy and a strong sense of community. I plan to stay.

I hope I didn't come across as slamming Oak Park. Oak Park is great and I loved living there but I had to be honest in pointing out that it's somewhat overrated in terms of it being a mixed community. It really isn't -- at least in the most desirable northern and western sectors. And the eastern and southern portions are changing too. In Berwyn's case, that's a good thing because it's getting a lot of young professionals who can't afford or don't want to pay Oak Park's high prices but want the same access to the City. Plus, the former eyesore known as the Roosevelt Road corridor that borders the two towns is really starting to take off. Wishbone is opening a restaurant on the Berwyn side, and there are several condo and loft developments on both sides of the street.
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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I'm not sure that I agree about OP being "overrated" in terms of diversity; I live in northwest OP and on our single block have several non-white neighbors (African American and Asian). Its part of the culture/"DNA" of the town to encourage/subsidize diversity. Its something that OP is extremely proud of, on par with its pride of Frank Lloyd Wright. To some extent, OP has been too successful in marketing itself as a destination for liberal-minded, diversity-seeking families, resulting in skyrocketing housing prices. In the future, we will probably have less economic diversity, as families of more modest means are priced out (and migrate to Forest Park and Berwyn), but the "diversity culture" and excellent public schools will, in my opinion, continue to be a draw for diversity-seeking families.

That being said, I can definitely see the appeal of Berywn and Forest Park. If I was looking to maximize my value for housing (including appreciation potential), and was less concerned about the school system, I would have bought in one of these surrounding towns. We did look at several houses in FP before finding our current house. As BRU67 said, these towns surrounding OP are changing, partially as a result of OPers moving in. Its a work in progress. Some people may be comfortable with that uncertainty, others may not.
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Old 02-23-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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Thank you for your suggestions - I will look in to Berwyn and Forest Park. We are going to be going out mid-March to look at houses, so I will be able to at least look at several neighborhoods.
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Old 02-23-2007, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,523 posts, read 13,025,313 times
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A note of caution about Forest Park. Its high school is Proviso East which is notoriously bad. As in one of the worst performing high schools in the region. They've open up a magnet high school to try to ameliorate the situation (Proviso Math and Science Academy), but it is selective admissions. Apparently the elementary and middle schools are somewhat better.
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