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Old 01-29-2007, 11:48 PM
 
155 posts, read 239,967 times
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Hi!

I have been helping a brother move with his wife to either Fort Collins (FoCo) or CO Springs. There are three major concerns we have regardings his move:

1. Landscape of the area. We seem to think FoCo is greener, not as many of the "Garden of the gods" brown clay rocks, less sand in FoCo. Are we right? Is CO Springs really dry or is it just the little we have seen on out 1-day trip to Co Springs? How would you rate CO Springs vs. Fort Collins in terms of green?

Also, is CO Springs looking "older" and more run down the FoCo or again, it's just our first impression?

2. Jobs. The husband and wife both work as Paralegals. One has 5 years of exp in Personal Injury, the other has a mix of clerical and legal experince. We have not seen a whole lot of jobs in either area. Are the jobs just not there?? How can it be that there are these towns, one with about 150,000 people and the otehr with 300,000 people and NO legal jobs at all?! Do you ever see legal assistant jobs on either city???

3. Gangs. They are moving to get away from gangs and the dangers these are to the community. How is gang activity on eitehr town? We called the PD, but we didn't get a whole lot of info. What do you think based on the local news?

Any ideas, suggestions, comments, etc would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
ML.
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Old 01-30-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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Landscape: To answer your question, Colorado is dry; eastern Colorado has a semi-arid climate. However, If you ask me, Colorado Springs is far more scenic than Fort Collins (or, I would say, virtually any city in the US), but you're correct that most of the city of CS seems to have more of a "run-down" look than Fort Collins. The reason is that Fort Collins has a very strict design review process for all new construction and is meticulous about forcing property owners to keep their properties and landscaping up. There are a lot of rules -- for example, new auto repair shops cannot allow their garage doors to face the street, new parking lots must have landscaping including grass, flowers, and trees. Fort Collins also has a lot of planted trees and streetside landscaping for those reasons. However, if you just go by the natural beauty, I don't think any city in America of its size can match what Colorado Springs has.

2. I really don't know much about your industry. Statewide, the economy is good right now and jobs are plentiful. Fort Collins is a smaller town of about 120,000 people so may not be able to offer jobs in every industry. Colorado Springs is larger, but it has a reputation for having salaries lag the Denver metro area.

3. The whole state is suffering from gangs and that includes cities, suburbs, and rural areas. The meth problem has exploded as well and that has brought issues in once quaint, idyllic small towns. There's really nowhere in the state where you could totally escape the influence of gangs and drugs. However, both FC and CS have per-capita crime rates well below the national average, check city-data. FC's rate is lower than CS, as you would expect from a town that is a third of its size.
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Old 01-30-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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Fort Collins is the "ag" educational center of Colorado, and has a large landscape architecture/horticulture program. Agriculture has also played a much larger aspect of FC's history than the areas further South.

In fact, FC has one of the two USA's ag genetic storage sites, where plants/seeds from all over the world are stored as seedstock for research and stock in case of some form of agricultural disaster.

There are several major nurseries in the FC area, and many of the local students work there (for very low wages ....) to study practical design and installation of all aspects of landscaping, irrigation, hardscapes, horticulture, insects, livestock, and so on.

The local climate and soils make for a very challenging and rewarding locale for a landscape business.

Colorado Springs, OTOH, does not have the abundant local resource and talent and depends upon a few local nurseries for landscape guidance and design (some good, some not so good ....). The local "box" stores are a major source of ... in my opinion ... a lot of disinformation/products about what will/will not grow in the local soils and climate, along with the national franchise "lawn" maintenance companies with their "one formula spray" fits all approach to yard care.

IMO, if you were going into the landscape business, COS has more unfilled demand than the FC's area. But you will need to know how to deal with the soils, climate, moisture, etc .... that are very localized in the area ... to be a success.

You may want to contact or visit some of the major to-the-trade-only wholesale greenhouses in the Denver area to get a better sense of what grows around the area.
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:05 AM
 
155 posts, read 239,967 times
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Smile Wow, these are awesome replies!! ^_^

Sunsprit and TFox:

First, let me thank you both for the awesome replies.

TFox: My concern is to have a "Desert feel" to CO Springs. I fully agree with you, CO springs has the Pikes Peak hovering over it and a great church atmosphere/family oriented. It is awesome, but the town seemed.. older. Well, I know it is, there is tons of old money in CS, but it doesn't look like the town got much of a facelift in the last few years.

Also, I remember driving through Nevada and it was all this yucky brown clay... kinda weird. I saw some of the clay (you know, kinda like the Garden of the gods) and I am wondering if that is widespread in CS?

I am more of a "green" person as to enjoying a town with tons of trees and grass. The whole desert thing kinda depresses me (and my bro). I don't think he wants to feel like he is in a desert like outside Vegas or something. Is CS like that??

As for jobs, I have seen them come and go in Fort Collins, but not as often in CS. I guessed the same thing as you did: that CS should have more jobs because of the larger pop. I guess that is something to watch and see....

In regards to gangs. we have a ton of them here in Orlando, FL. They usually do not affect you directly. The crack buyers (the FL drug) are extremely violent and we see at least 1 person robbed or stabed to death over $15 for crack here. Everyday.

I saw the stats for CS and FC and they seem relatively safe. I saw on the Coloradoan news that FC's worst crimes are usualyl DUI by punk college kids and some drunk beating his kids. That is called "kiddie crimes" in Orlando. Is this what you guys see on the local evening news or do yuo have more gruesome stuff to watch??

***
Sunsprit: I think my post was not that well written. My bro is not planning on going into landscaping business. He wants to know if the landscape in CS is green or super dry (desert dry).

How is landscaping in your yard?? Is that clay soil any good or do you need to work hard and add some fertilizers to it?

Do you think Lowe's or Home Depot are a better bet than "box stores" when gathering info on landscaping your own house?


***

Two more things:

I though western CO was super dry and Eastern CO got all the rain! Am I wrong?

How about tornadoes in Fort Collins and CS??? I saw there have had tornadoes there in the city-data back in the 1970's... anything recent??

Thanks again for all the info!!

ML
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Colorado
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I do business in both cities. The climates are very similar. Ft C is probably 3-5 points wetter, but both are considere "semi-arid."

Lots of Springs residents commute to Denver. IMO, not quite as many Ft C people do ... but many of them commute too. (More legal jobs in Denver.)

"Old" Springs has more mature landscaping. Presently the main growth there is toward the Eastern plains ... so 99.999% of the trees in the newest subdivisions are what get planted in the (former) pasture lands.

I don't know where the newest growth areas of Ft. C are, but I know many of the smaller outlying towns East across the Interstate are considered "booming" areas.

(I'll never admit to posting this, but) Ft C is significantly more "friendly" to newcomers than The Springs. It doesn't make any sense to me -- especially with all the transient Military families in The Springs -- but it "is"....

What kind of lifestyle activities do you enjoy?

- KK
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Old 01-31-2007, 09:38 AM
 
Location: Colorado
111 posts, read 531,908 times
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I've been following this post, too, because I'm trying to figure out which area in CO to relocate to. Do you think Louisville, Lafayette, Superior, or Longmont are "friendly" to newcomers? I'm coming from new york city. I'm also a single mother, if that might make a difference. I've heard that in places in general if you have school-age kids (my daughter is 7), it's easier as an adult to meet other adults. thanks!
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:47 AM
 
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MaryLou,

I think you have your finger on some aesthetic differences between CS and FC. In some ways, FC reminds me in this way more of a mid-western town in terms of architecture, planning and landscape and CS more of a south-western town (think Albuquerque or Tucson). CS clearly deliberately plays to this architecturally with its liberal use of southwestern architecture even in the older areas like OCC and Manitou, not to mention its predilection for sun-belt style sprawling growth.

So to answer your question about the yucky brown clay, I think that in our dry climate a city has to work extremely hard over many years to really cultivate a green arboretum kind of place. FC has for many reasons been more successful at this than CS. Landscaping is difficult here - nothing will grow without irrigation, liberal use of fertilizers either natural or otherwise, and just a lot of care. Summer water restrictions, etc make providing this kind of care difficult.

If you really hate the desert look, you can find refuges from it in some of the front range cities (IMO FC is better than most in this regard), but you should remember that these are more of small oases in the "desert." (okay technically "steppe" but you know what I mean). Another thing to consider if you like trees is that there's lots and lots of trees if you go into the high country. For example, if you do decide to live in CS area you could consider living up north in Black Forest, Monument, etc where you'd be living in an evergreen forest.

Anyway, one reason why CS may look a little unkempt is that politically, CS is very conservative, and as you know conservatives in Colorado have a "starve the government" type of ethic. Although CS Mayor Rivera is actually pretty moderate, there are some conservative/libertarian ideologues on the city council and especially on the county commissioners (think Douglas Bruce). So, I think that's one reason why there are some signs of civic neglect in CS, unfortunately. The good side of things (in my personal view) is I think the Douglas Bruces of the world are rapidly losing their credibility, and CS is no longer the conservative citadel that it was in the 90s. OTOH, FC is IMO is politically is more balanced politically between Boulder-style strong civic planning and free-market which I think leads to a greater amount of civic investment.

As for crime, IMO I really believe that it's relatively speaking less of an issue in Colorado than in other places, with all due apologies to those who have actually been victims of crimes. If you take away the "kiddie crimes" that you mentioned, Fort Collins would have very few major crimes except for the occasional freak incident. Colorado Springs just had a domestic husband/wife murder just last night, so things definitely do happen, but the specter of gangland-style drug killings on a regular basis are just not a big fact of life here. Let's hope it stays that way. Even in the bad parts of inner city Denver and Aurora, in which there undeniably are drug-related gang killings, it's not something that happens every day by any means.
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Old 01-31-2007, 11:51 AM
 
155 posts, read 239,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovesunnydays View Post
I've been following this post, too, because I'm trying to figure out which area in CO to relocate to. Do you think Louisville, Lafayette, Superior, or Longmont are "friendly" to newcomers? I'm coming from new york city. I'm also a single mother, if that might make a difference. I've heard that in places in general if you have school-age kids (my daughter is 7), it's easier as an adult to meet other adults. thanks!
Here is my bit of experince with "friendly welcoming local folk to out-of-state individuals":

I used to live in Denver and moved to Orlando, FL about 5 years ago. Floridians used to welcome out-of-state people really well. But because the out-of-state folk brought tons of "bad habits" down to FL with them (such as littering trash on roads, kids graffitting walls, kids playing ball on the street and not moving when cars come, people yelling and cussing at other in traffic over nothing, cutting in line at supermarket lines, not maintaing their homes and etc), the Floridians and long-term FL residents became weary of "outsiders".

I cannot say I blame them. Central Florida used to be quite nice. But just in the last 5 years, the out-of-state people have gotten increasingly more violent, more blantant in trying to push "their ways" upon native Floridians and long-term residents. I adapt really well to local cultures and I really try to become a part of the community, so I sometimes even avoid telling people that I have just moved to FL a few years ago, as many locals now hate "outsiders". Many criminals and drug addicts came down here from up north, mostly from Mass, CT, NJ, and yes, NY. The "outsiders" have also created more traffic, more urban sprawl, more animosity. Did I mention crime.. well, crime is one of the issues locals associate with massive influx of "outsiders"!

In fact, I will go as far as saying that the local culture in Central Florida has been trampled by outsiders who really, come down to FL because of the weather, and are on the take. These people don't want to contribute and be a part of the community; they are coming to enjoy the weather and have a house. Their actions do not match the ones of someone who is a part of the community. So If Coloradoans feel that is what you are bringing to their community, they won't be happy.

I guess what I am trying to get to is: Let's say people start to move to CO and do what they do in Orlando. They come to CO because they like the mountains and affordable housing and never become a part of the community and litter, graffitti and be rude to the nice local folks. Well, guess what? The locals will eventually become weary of "outsiders". But if you behave yourself as the locals do, respect their town, become a part of the community, then you should feel "more welcomed" there or anywhere else you might move to. If you plan to move down from NYC (like I see peopel move from NYC to Orlando time and time again) and will try to "push NYC mentality and way of life" upon the locals, you will create animosity. People will really dislike you.

I am not saying this from a place of ignorance or bias. I have first-hand experience of what happened here in Orlando. It causes a cloud of unfriendliness. No wonder I am coming back to CO. I want to re-join the local culture of maintaining the town's appearance, participating in events, you know, being a part of the community! If you have a mentality of becoming a Coloradoan, you will do just fine!

Please note that I am NOT saying that is what you or anyone else will do. I am saying that some people do that and therefore, they feel un-welcome in the town they move to. Again, I have seen this happen here in Orlando, it's not to say it couldn't happen in CO! It all has to do with how you behave.

So, to me, feeling welcomed by local folks is something you earn, to an extent. You the "outsider" have to "prove" to the locals that you have good intentions. You have the burden of proof to do that. You cannot expect locals to recklessly embrace someone of a different cultural setting one their first day. You need to mantain your home, talk to neighbors, join local groups/churches and etc. Then people will see how out-of-state folks are nice and you will feel right at home!

Last edited by MaryLou2007; 01-31-2007 at 12:04 PM..
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Old 01-31-2007, 12:38 PM
 
155 posts, read 239,967 times
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Wink Awesome reply, but a bit more info, if you please. ;)

TFox:

This has been SUCH an informative posting! Please allow me to respond.

You have hit the nail on the head. I am trying to figure out the asthetics of each city. I guess you have clarified where I am trying to get to. I want to know what you told me: what is FC and CS more like in terms of towns. And by answering that, I think FC is more for him than CS. Why? Because if they are also moving from Orlando to CO, they should make the move to a town they feel more comfortable at. I don't think we are fans of hardcore SWern style architecture, and if CS is more like that, then we should pass on that town.

I wonder if FC has been more fortunate at growing green than CS because of the soil and the fact that they get more moisture in FC than CS. I am by no means a "tree-hugger", and yet, I enjoy the green in town, it makes living somewhere all that much more bearable.

In terms of landscaping, I guess I have an uphill battle head, huh? If they have summer watering restrictions and clay soil, then a yard will be a toughie. I wonder how strict watering rules will be this year, granted the aquafurs should be filled after the spring thaw of all the snow CO got this year!

I don't like the desert look at all! To be honest, I don't recall seeing a whole lot of desert sand (or cactuses LOL) in either FC or CS. But it felt kinda dry when we were there in May... there were green "mini-shrubs" on the ground, but some looked yellow. I happened to see more of the "desert trees" in the hills as I drove farther south from Denver to CS.

The CO landscape kinda looked more clayish than this as we headed south.



I saw a lot of these type of vegetation goio CS (except that instead of sand, it was clay):



Yeah I like trees quite a lot. Not so much to live out in the sticks, per se. FC had a ton of trees in town, but I cannot recall how it was with CS.....

I understand the politics of CS. I am more conservative too, and I disagree that conservatives do not invest in more civic improvements. I think they like less government and more private action, but when private action doesn't take place, they usually act using the government. As I don't like either extreme in the political field, I would rather have a more conbservative setting in CS than a super liberal in Boulder.

Crime. That is a big concern and I guess you have clarified that the drug deals on the street and violent gangs targetting regular folks on the street is just not that much of a concern, huh?

Although domestic violence is terrible, it is not something that affects the community as a whole. Let me explain... a crack user on the street is a community threat. A drunk guy who hurts his family is VERY BAD, but he is not a threat to the general public, just his/her family.

Meth users concern me though. I had imagined that just like the desert trailer people in CA, CO woudl ahve people out in the sticks cooking meth, It's no different in FL, believe me. But are these meth users violent offenders are the crack users are? How often do you see (or hear about) some crazy user commiting crimes or killing people or robbing them in FC or CS?

Do you hear on the news "meth user killed someone for $20 to buy rock"? Do you ever see some guy being interviewed on the back of the patrol car, saying he cannot even remember breaking into a house as he was too high?

I am not trying to sound disgusting. I want to know if big crimes hit the local news and how often yuo see them. I am sorry to pester you with questions, I see this stuff daily, I am really trying to know.

Thanks agains for all your imputs! It has really helped!

Mary L.
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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MaryLou,

Well, I'm hoping others will jump in and lend their perspectives so you can get a more balanced view than what I'm giving you, but here's my best effort:

Landscape:

Thanks for posting those pics -- I think you'll find that our more arid landscapes are something of an acquired taste. I love the diversity of ecosystems we have here and I really enjoyed your second picture with the beautiful wildflowers... but I digress... I know you were posting those to show what you DIDN'T like.

The silver lining to our seemingly endless snowfalls will probably be no watering restrictions for this year! Hurray! But don't count on this being a start of a new trend. If you ask me the so-called "drought" we've been in for the last 10 years is probably what we should expect from here on out, this winter being a temporary reprieve.

As for taking care of the yard, I had a terrible time until someone let in on the fact that you really need to fertilize regularly: about 3-4 times a year, and that you need to water trees/shrubs regularly in the winter (not a problem this year LOL). Also, it's best if you use fertilizers formulated for our arid climate and alkaline soils (i.e., not the home depot stuff). Nurseries are a great resource for that.

Anyway, From what you've been saying it sounds like you might enjoy northern colorado including Fort Collins more than the CS area for its landscape. (Funny, I'm kind of the opposite -- planted trees are fine but I love the scenery in CS and can overlook the in-town lack of greenery). Anyway, If you really like mature landscaping, you might consider buying a place in a nice older area. New home builders don't really know anything about landscaping (and they never do anything in the back yard -- you just get dirt there though the HOA will certainly force you to do something).


Crime:
Yes, I think I'm saying that I don't think you have much to worry about crime here, particularly if you're talking about FC or really anywhere in Northern Colorado. I read the newspaper and watch the news and frankly I think the type of "crime stories" that you talk about are not frequent. Meth is nasty and the scary part about it is that it's growing fastest in the small towns and rural areas -- but, you don't see the kind of explosion in violent crime of that nature around here -- it happens, but rarely. If you want numbers, I don't have them but my guess is that there's probably just a handful of incidents of drug-related violent crime in Fort Collins in a given year. Not just Fort Collins, but really in all of Larimer County (or Boulder County, for that matter), there's very little fear of violent crime. I think you'd be far, far more likely to get in a car crash with a drunk college freshman than you would ever be to be a victim of some drug addicted user. (that may not be very comforting, I know -- but to keep in mind the relative risks).
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