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Old 09-20-2008, 10:41 AM
 
154 posts, read 689,135 times
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I've been looking into West Hartford but others have suggestion alternatives such as Newington, Wetherfield, Middletown and Farmington. Does anyone have any descriptive info on the feel of these places/ We're looking for family-friendly, safe, good schools and hopefully not so outrageous property taxes. I know Newington is Cheaper than West Hartford but a walkable downtown and community feel with some stuff going on for kids would also be nice. Farmington may be too much $ for a first time homebuyesr like us but I thougth I'd throw it in the mix anyways. I also heard Canton is decent but maybe a little too rural?

thanks for any info!

P.s. I know Canton is mostly septic and well and would love to avoid those if possible.
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Old 09-20-2008, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
3,576 posts, read 10,665,776 times
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Describe Newington? I grew up there, so here goes ...

It's a relatively small town, about 13.2 square miles. It's mostly residential. It's a mix of blue-collar and white-collar, with no real predominance of one or the other. It's interesting that there is no real "bad" side of town. Most areas of the town are accessible via sidewalks (I should know, I've probably walked most of them). There is a town center with some retail and groceries stores and banks, the Post Office, restaurants, and town offices. The major retail and commercial areas are along the Berlin Turnpike (Route 5/15) which is the major artery connecting Newington with Berlin, Wethersfield, Hartford, and other points beyond.

There are two large parks, both with public swimming pools. There is a golf course and country club. One High School, Two Junior Highs, and multiple elementary schools.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:02 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
34,982 posts, read 57,077,795 times
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Wethersfield is a nice small town just south of Hartford. It has a lot of nice neighborhoods and is convenient to most of metro-Hartford. It has one of the largest collections of old homes in the state in Old Wethersfield which is very charming. There no real built up commercial center there though. Schools are very good. Check out the stats at the link below.

Strategic School Profiles by District

Middletown is nice too but the schools are a bit more of an issue as you get into older grades. It has a lot of nice neighborhoods but also a few questionable ones. Nothing real bad but still some issues. Middletown does have the nice downtown area with a lot to do.

Youa re correct about Farmington being pricey, but occasionally you will find nice modest homes there. Canton is nice but pricey too. If you do go to a more rural town like Canton, you might then check out Burlington. Very nice rural town that I believe is more affordable. good luck, Jay
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:41 AM
 
786 posts, read 3,928,257 times
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We just moved to Burlington this summer and we love it, but it is a rural area and you will have septic/well/and propane or oil. If you want to avoid those things I think any of the towns you mentioned - Newington, Wethersfield or Farmington are all nice. We lived near Newington/Wethersfield for a few weeks in Rocky Hill (also a nice area to consider) until we closed on our home and I really liked that area. Now in Burlington we are close to Farmington and that area is also a great area. There are almost too many towns to choose from which can make narrowing your choices difficult but it also keeps you from being limited to a specific area.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:08 AM
 
Location: NYCMNYBW
14 posts, read 32,991 times
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farmington is a little pricey but last i checked, their mill rate was one of the lowest in the state.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
2,496 posts, read 4,730,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18watt View Post
farmington is a little pricey but last i checked, their mill rate was one of the lowest in the state.
No doubt this is in part due to the corporate headquarters located here. The world headquarters for Stanley, Carvel and Otis are all here.

Farmington is a nice town. Very rurual, if that's what you want. Lots acerage that's restricted from development. A nice, old money town. It can be pricy but the Unionville neighborhood is more affordable yet still nice. Houses there are smaller.

Newington and Wethersfield are also good towns but much more suburban in character. Both share a border with Hartford and have solid public schools. Wethersfield is one of the state's oldest towns and has lots of history including Old Wethersfield. Newington has a bit more of a postwar feel to it - more split levels and cape houses but a nice town. It has a neat little town center they're looking to expand.

You can't go wrong in any of these towns. Safety or schools shouldn't be an issue anywhere here.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:57 PM
 
Location: West Hartford, CT
103 posts, read 428,257 times
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My impression of the towns you asked about is as follows:

Newington is a lot like the southwestern part of West Hartford (no surpise since it borders WH) in terms of the housing stock, lot sizes and overall feel. There is a small downtown area to walk around but you might miss it if you blink. Activities are much more spread out over a few commercial areas but overall, it's a pretty convenient location - easy access to Rts 9/91/84 etc.

Wethersfield seems to me to be a predominantly older feeling community - perhaps because I never seem to represent younger buyers who choose to live in Wethersfield. Pretty historic section, I'd say a step up from Newington in terms of lot sizes, and size and cost of housing overall. Again, convenient location.

Farmington is more spread out - less neighborhoody (if you get what I mean). Great schools, lots of activities for kids but no real downtown area - there is Unionville but don't consider it to be really walkable. It does have a low mill rate and taxes right now, especially in comparison to WH. Affordable areas of Farmington would be Unionville and over by the Plainville/Bristol lines. However, I think getting in and out of Farmington is its biggest problem - you have to either get on Rt 4 or drive through West Hartford if you want to go East.

Middletown is really the oddball in my opinion. Much more of a small city but it seems to me that everyone knows each other. The downtown area isn't bad but no where near the feeling of WH. I'd be more concerned about the schools. Really mixed housing supply - some nice areas, some not so nice.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Cheshire, Conn.
2,102 posts, read 7,764,917 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18watt View Post
Farmington is a little pricey but last I checked, their mill rate was one of the lowest in the state.
It's currently 19.47 mils. Not one of the lowest, but definitely in the lower third.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikefromCT View Post
No doubt this is in part due to the corporate headquarters located here. The world headquarters for Stanley, Carvel and Otis are all here.
Not exactly. Salisbury, with a mill rate of 9.1, has one of the lowest in the state without a lot of corporate headquarters being located there.

Mill rates are a function of assessed value of assets to the budget.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
2,496 posts, read 4,730,585 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich Lee View Post
It's currently 19.47 mils. Not one of the lowest, but definitely in the lower third.



Not exactly. Salisbury, with a mill rate of 9.1, has one of the lowest in the state without a lot of corporate headquarters being located there.

Mill rates are a function of assessed value of assets to the budget.
Well, that may be. I can't really say because I don't know Salisbury that well. But I'd imagine that Farmington is a bigger town, and with a bigger population comes a need to accommodate more people, so having those companies would help. I always thought that had an impact on the mill rate. Windsor is in a similar boat - lots of companies on Day Hill Rd and their mill rate is very low. There's no connection between the two?
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:26 PM
 
154 posts, read 689,135 times
Reputation: 53
thanks everybody - those are really helpful descriptions. I'm afraid ultimately we just can't afford CT. We would like to move to West Hartford or the surrounding areas and can do a starter home but the property taxes just add too much heft to the monthly payment. Add on to that high heating bills and the personal property tax on cars, etc.. - it just becomes unfeasible for people like us - 40 something college educated but working lower paying jobs. It's too bad - we really love the idea of CT. but the financial reality just doesnt seem to work.

thanks to all for your very helpful info - I really appreciate everyone's input.
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