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Old 06-04-2013, 07:27 AM
13 posts, read 24,442 times
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We may be relocating to Dallas-- we will likely know this week and then it's a mad rush to move before August when my 1st grader needs to start school.

I had settled on West Plano, but I'm still intrigued by Lakewood/Mstreets/White Rock Elementary areas.

I have a 1 year old, a 3 year old who would need preschool and a 1st grader.

I'm looking for an area with lots to do with little kids...nice libraries with good programs, nice playgrounds, pools, nice places to go for walks, indoor playgrounds for little ones, after-school activities (drama, martial arts, music lessons, non-competitive soccer, etc) and mostly, lots of neighbors with young kids.

The wrinkle is that I'm worried that we won't "fit in" in West Plano-- I grew up in NY, went to college in Los Angeles-- I'm sort of the definition of an east coast liberal. My husband is Jewish. I have a single republican friend who we all think is funny. Seriously.

I still may just do West Plano for the convenience factor and the bigger houses, I don't know. But I wanted to hear about Lakewood/WRE with little kiddos.

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Old 06-04-2013, 07:55 AM
Location: Dallas, TX
2,825 posts, read 3,851,291 times
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The "average" kid will do better in PISD due to the education they receive in HS. The HS's Lakewood/MStreets/WRE feed into show to overall score lower. But honestly, as long as you stay involved, Woodrow and the like would serve your purposes just fine. I like the feel of Lakewood/Mstreets/WRE and most anything inside "the loop" more then the burbs, but to each their own.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:43 AM
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Plano has a more diverse population than LW/WR area. Your chances of finding like minded people are certainly higher here. We just selected our first black mayor who is an immigrant raised in NY. There is more to Plano than tea parties.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:55 AM
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We moved from California to Lakewood 5 years ago with our 2 & 4 year olds. It's great for little kids - lots of parks, loads of local businesses catering to little kids (Mockingbird Swim, Little Gym, The Lab, Pump it Up, Chamberlain Studios Karate, several music teachers, an art studio...) White Rock Y has a ton of support in the neighborhood and is building a new facility right now....that's where most kids start soccer, t-ball, basketball, etc. There are always tons of kids playing on the street, riding bikes down by the lake, etc. Most of our friends are liberal compared to the average political persuasion in Dallas, but would probably be considered moderate on the coast.

We started at private schools immediately, but the Lakewood Early Childhood PTA is a great organization. We have tons of friends who met their whole social circle that way, and through them, we have friends all over the neighborhood.

The houses are expensive and selling fast, so prices are going up. At this point, I would venture to say it's significantly less economical than WPlano, but to me (I grew up in Richardson) from a culture perspective, it's worth it.

That said, I think you could certainly be very happy in Plano too...it's a big area with lots to do, just not particularly charming and a little homogenous. Don't assume people are knuckle draggers just because of their address!
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:17 AM
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I really liked the M-Streets area when we lived there and think it is completely doable with kids. That being said, we just found it way easier to move to the suburbs after our daughter was born. Cost of housing/needing more space was the biggest factor, but I do think West Plano will have more of the things you are after. Not that Lakewood/M-Streets doesn't have them at all (White Rock Lake is a great place, others have mentioned other activities available), but I wasn't impressed at all with the Lakewood Library (Lord, what mold has to be growing in there) and it is hard to beat the pools, splash parks, and playgrounds of the suburbs.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:08 AM
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Do you want to raise city kids or suburb kids? They ARE different experiences. In Lakewood, you are within 5-15 minutes of everything the city has to offer: the Arboretum, White Rock Lake, all the major museums which all have fabulous children's programs, the Dallas Zoo, the World Acquarium, the Children's Theatre and Dallas Summer Musicals, etc. My SAHM friends in Dallas are always running off to one of these fabulous places; it's not a "field trip" or major chore to load the kids in the car and head to the DMA for 1st Tuesdays kids days. For my coworkers in Collin County, I can tell you most of them rarely if ever take advantage of Dallas' attractions.

There are SO many kids in the Lakewood area now, it's amazing! On our good friends' street a few blocks east of the elementary school, every.single.house has kids who are infant thru 8th grade. The LECPTA is a great organization to learn more about the public schools and enjoy tons of social events for both parents and kids. There are quite a few parks around and the playground at Lakewood Elem is always busy! The local YMCA sponsors the elementary aged sports. There isn't a great public pool in the area, however there are some very popular private pools like the Knights of Columbus that many Lakewood families use. Tons of kid activities nearby like gymnastics, dance, art & music lessons, etc.

I know Lakewooder always says this, but it's true: Lakewood has a "Mayberry" type feeling. Neighbors know one another and are often seen out on each others front porches with an evening glass of wine. Kids play freely in the neighborhood in a more unstructured and spontaneous way than in most other DFW neifhborboods.

My friends who are quite liberal and not religious & live in East Dallas have been happy with both Zion Lutheran's school and the preschool at Temple Emanu-El. There are other Montessori type preschool options too.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:09 AM
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We've lived in the White Rock Lake area since before our kids were born and we honestly don't want to live anywhere else. We've chosen it for the proximity to great restaurants (we can walk to five different restaurants, a wine bar, a coffeehouse and a yoga studio), the tree-lined streets (not too many of these in West Plano), the ability to be downtown in 10 minutes (to visit museums, attend plays/symphony, go to sporting events). The houses here are unique and, while many of them need some cosmetic work, they have character you won't find in the suburbs. Neighbors know each other and kids play together in front yards or backyards, riding their scooters up and down the sidewalks between the houses.

Our kids go to public school in DISD, and we're in the Long/Woodrow feeder pattern. My oldest daughter will attend a TAG magnet next year, and we like having the option of applying to the magnets, some of which consistently rank as the best schools in the nation. There is diversity (both ethnic and socioeconomic) in the schools, so if you're expecting all of your child's classmates to be middle class and have English as their first language, you should stick with Plano.

After-school activities...well, we have it all. Dance, martial arts, music lessons are all within 5 minutes of our house. All kinds of team sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball) at at the White Rock YMCA. Golf lessons at Tennyson, tennis at Samuell Grand -- both about 10 minutes from our house. We take gymnastics at ASI, which is about 20 minutes in traffic, but that's about as far away as we ever have to go.

From a political standpoint, you'll fit in just about anywhere. There are liberals and conservatives in EVERY neighborhood, and I don't think West Plano is significantly more conservative than East Dallas.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:29 AM
Location: Earth
794 posts, read 1,491,067 times
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West Plano has no shortage of tree lined streets, I live on one and cul-de-sacs in my neighborhood are Friday night's chat spot. Children fish in the neighborhood creek and bike to the school and park. We start jogging on sidewalks and end up on trails in nature reserve. Golf course/country club is a part of life. I can walk to at least two dozen restaurants. Buy my eggs and bread fresh every time because it gives me another reason to use my bike. Do walk to the church. Both my neighbors lived in their houses for nearly two decades. Their kids are back from college to area apartments and looking to buy in their old neighborhood as soon as they can afford it. There is nothing that we ever need and its not available within 10 minutes drive. We can be in Dallas within half hour to enjoy zoo or museums. I truly enjoy when people try to paint whole city with one quick wave of their brush. Its a great place to raise family in today's fast paced life. All in all, life is what you make of it.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:34 AM
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I'm a single guy with no kids. Well, the kids of my friends are my kids...and some of the others I've taken notice of over the years...let me tell you Lakewood has kids - lots of kids. Maybe too many kids!

Although they are sometimes annoying it's with great pride I applauded many of them at graduation the other night.

If you're working downtown I don't see how anything about Plano could be 'convenient' compared to Lakewood.

Yes it's very Mayberry, especially for kids. Really what is better than growing up with creeks and White Rock Lake? We all have sort of a reverence for the lake. Mayberry had Meyers Lake you know..but did they have rowing, high school crew, sailboats, yacht clubs, a bathhouse art center, arboretum, dog park, spillway, nature area, hiking/biking trails, a spooky cemetery (Cox), a ghost (Lady of the Lake) and a high school hangout (Woodrow Hill)? Ask anyone who grew up here about the 'submarine races'.

Beyond the Lakewood Lore, we have friendly people who stick around - "Lakewood Lifers" they are called. For kids, that means when you go to the Little Gym, it's owned by Joel Bozarth, who grew up here (Woodrow '78), when you go to Studio B Dance it's owned by Bessie Waddill (Woodrow '02) a star of the high school musicals and your Lakewood Elementary PTA president Tory Redington-Chauza (Woodrow '91) went to school there. Your teachers taught your parents or your classmate's parents. They stay for 30 years. When you get to high school you get to invite them to your senior teacher appreciation luncheon.

I had a friend who grew up with me here who moved up to Plano for a job. The last time I saw him, he dropped me off at my house saying "I had forgotten how 'home-y' everything is around here".

Last edited by Lakewooder; 06-04-2013 at 12:13 PM..
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:37 AM
350 posts, read 675,546 times
Reputation: 307
Originally Posted by robmab View Post
There is diversity (both ethnic and socioeconomic) in the schools, so if you're expecting all of your child's classmates to be middle class and have English as their first language, you should stick with Plano.
I take issue with quite a few things that have been said on this thread, but this is what really got me. Plano ISD is about 40% white, and 28% economically disadvantaged. The majority of my friends learned another language besides english first; 25% of the city's population is made up of immigrants.

I'm by no means opposed to areas like Lakewood. I actually have lived in similar neighborhoods. Does it have many pluses? Yes, of course. However, the only thing that I think Plano really misses out on, and this is after reading all the posts here, is the proximity to the arts district, and a lot of us (myself included) still head down there on weekends quite frequently.
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