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Old 04-07-2017, 11:06 AM
 
21 posts, read 19,219 times
Reputation: 52

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We have lived in Denver for about 8 years (Congress / Cheesman area), and are planning to move out of the city. We're just done with city life for now, not to mention that we're priced out. My husband's job is just east of Golden, and I work from home. After tons of research, we have landed on either Evergreen or the Ken Caryl Valley. My husband leans towards Evergreen (he has always wanted to live there) but we see good things about both options.

(Arvada area is out for me because of Rocky Flats. We have looked into Golden area and Green Mountain area, but it seems very hard to find something that fits our wish list and budget in terms of house style / lot size / schools / neighborhood feel.)

Our motivations: We want a generally quieter lifestyle, more space inside and out (we live in a tiny house on a tiny lot right now), a kid-friendly area, easier access to outdoor activities, quality school district with good choice options. My husband is okay with up to a 30 minute commute (and he has some flexibility in his work start/end times, to make commute easier).

We have three kids. We would like to spend under $650k. Looking for 4 bedrooms and a backyard at least big enough for a play structure and a bit of space. (6,000 sq ft lot could be enough depending on how the house sits on the lot.) Kid-friendly neighborhood (kids roaming around would be great). Great schools all the way K through 12 - our kids are very spaced out in age. My husband likes to tinker in the garage/workshop sometimes and do DIY projects, so we need a place that's ok with that. We like trees and access to outdoor recreation.

We have looked into Evergreen (mostly north Evergreen for commute reasons) and KC a lot (talking to people we know, spending time there, trawling citydata) but I still have a few lingering questions and would love some insider help:

1. Kid-friendliness. I know people gush about how family-friendly Evergreen is. Do they mean that it's a small-town vibe with a lot of kid activities? That certainly matters to me, but it's also important to me that our kids have the option to travel on their own (by foot/bike) to parks/friends and at our price point in Evergreen, it seems tricky to find that. (Does it exist there?) KC Valley seems like kids would be free to go to park / pool / friends' house easily. In Evergreen it seems like you'd have to drive kids around for them to go anywhere? That's what I have to do now in the city (for various reasons - not many kids in our immediate area, busy streets to cross, etc), and it would be great to get away from that a bit and let them have more independence. I worry that in Evergreen I'd have to be the taxi any time the kids want to do anything. (Oldest is only 11, so no driving for a long time!)

2. Access to trails / outdoor recreation. I am a runner, my husband is a mountain biker, we like to hike. The private trail network in KC is very appealing for this reason. Does anyone have an opinion on the quality of the KC trails? How busy/crowded are they - and if they are good trails and not crowded, do you find this to be a significant perk vs the other (public) near to Denver, sometimes crowded trail options? Evergreen is close to so much outdoor recreation, but you do have to drive there (vs just heading out your door in KC Valley) and the trail / trailhead parking can be crowded. So we're trying to get a sense of the pros and cons of the Evergreen proximity to other (public) options, vs. the KC private trails.

3. Schools. We've been through enough school issues with our kids to know that even if you have a top-rated home school, you may want to choice out for one reason or another. So it's important to me not just to have good home schools, but also other good options nearby to possibly choice into if they are a better fit. It seems that KC would be better for this just because it's more densely populated, so there are more options nearby. But when I actually map out drive times to certain schools (e.g. Lakewood for high school), in some cases it ends up about the same for KC Valley or north Evergreen (closer to 70). I'm just wondering if I'm thinking about this in the right way - if one or the other (Evergreen or KC) would be better for school options, or if they are a wash. Two of our kids would be in gifted/talented program, if that matters. I know Jeffco has "GT center schools" scattered around the county.

I would really appreciate any input on these questions, or anything else that comes to mind as we compare these two options. Thank you!!
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Old 04-07-2017, 02:12 PM
 
25 posts, read 25,970 times
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I can't speak to #1 and #3, but here are my thoughts on #2:

Direct access to trails obviously depends on where you live. For North Evergreen, Elk Meadow and Alderfer/Three Sisters parks have great trails and some houses are within run/riding distance. There is also a short trail through the neighborhood between Keystone and Interlocken that a lot of people use. Evergreen is spread out enough that you'll have to drive to a lot of the outdoor spaces.

My wife and I are both runners and being able to run from the house without driving somewhere was on our list of things we were looking for in a house. In retrospect we didn't realize just how important that is to us.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Berkeley, Denver, CO USA
15,726 posts, read 23,659,930 times
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Evergreen is in 2 school systems: JeffCo and Clear Creek. One is better than the other.
You should move in the Winter (and the day before Thanksgiving is the best of the year to make an offer) as that will tell how bad the snow is on a particular property.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,339,766 times
Reputation: 35920
Quote:
Originally Posted by 84rabbit View Post
We have lived in Denver for about 8 years (Congress / Cheesman area), and are planning to move out of the city. We're just done with city life for now, not to mention that we're priced out. My husband's job is just east of Golden, and I work from home. After tons of research, we have landed on either Evergreen or the Ken Caryl Valley. My husband leans towards Evergreen (he has always wanted to live there) but we see good things about both options.

(Arvada area is out for me because of Rocky Flats. We have looked into Golden area and Green Mountain area, but it seems very hard to find something that fits our wish list and budget in terms of house style / lot size / schools / neighborhood feel.)

Our motivations: We want a generally quieter lifestyle, more space inside and out (we live in a tiny house on a tiny lot right now), a kid-friendly area, easier access to outdoor activities, quality school district with good choice options. My husband is okay with up to a 30 minute commute (and he has some flexibility in his work start/end times, to make commute easier).

We have three kids. We would like to spend under $650k. Looking for 4 bedrooms and a backyard at least big enough for a play structure and a bit of space. (6,000 sq ft lot could be enough depending on how the house sits on the lot.) Kid-friendly neighborhood (kids roaming around would be great). Great schools all the way K through 12 - our kids are very spaced out in age. My husband likes to tinker in the garage/workshop sometimes and do DIY projects, so we need a place that's ok with that. We like trees and access to outdoor recreation.

We have looked into Evergreen (mostly north Evergreen for commute reasons) and KC a lot (talking to people we know, spending time there, trawling citydata) but I still have a few lingering questions and would love some insider help:

1. Kid-friendliness. I know people gush about how family-friendly Evergreen is. Do they mean that it's a small-town vibe with a lot of kid activities? That certainly matters to me, but it's also important to me that our kids have the option to travel on their own (by foot/bike) to parks/friends and at our price point in Evergreen, it seems tricky to find that. (Does it exist there?) KC Valley seems like kids would be free to go to park / pool / friends' house easily. In Evergreen it seems like you'd have to drive kids around for them to go anywhere? That's what I have to do now in the city (for various reasons - not many kids in our immediate area, busy streets to cross, etc), and it would be great to get away from that a bit and let them have more independence. I worry that in Evergreen I'd have to be the taxi any time the kids want to do anything. (Oldest is only 11, so no driving for a long time!)

2. Access to trails / outdoor recreation. I am a runner, my husband is a mountain biker, we like to hike. The private trail network in KC is very appealing for this reason. Does anyone have an opinion on the quality of the KC trails? How busy/crowded are they - and if they are good trails and not crowded, do you find this to be a significant perk vs the other (public) near to Denver, sometimes crowded trail options? Evergreen is close to so much outdoor recreation, but you do have to drive there (vs just heading out your door in KC Valley) and the trail / trailhead parking can be crowded. So we're trying to get a sense of the pros and cons of the Evergreen proximity to other (public) options, vs. the KC private trails.

3. Schools. We've been through enough school issues with our kids to know that even if you have a top-rated home school, you may want to choice out for one reason or another. So it's important to me not just to have good home schools, but also other good options nearby to possibly choice into if they are a better fit. It seems that KC would be better for this just because it's more densely populated, so there are more options nearby. But when I actually map out drive times to certain schools (e.g. Lakewood for high school), in some cases it ends up about the same for KC Valley or north Evergreen (closer to 70). I'm just wondering if I'm thinking about this in the right way - if one or the other (Evergreen or KC) would be better for school options, or if they are a wash. Two of our kids would be in gifted/talented program, if that matters. I know Jeffco has "GT center schools" scattered around the county.

I would really appreciate any input on these questions, or anything else that comes to mind as we compare these two options. Thank you!!
WRT #3. Since you've lived here for 8 years, you know that the snow impacts the drive time. So even if you're the same distance from Lakewood High in both locales, the drive will be totally different depending on the snow conditions. I think traffic is pretty heavy going into the metro area from Evergreen in the AM as well, of course also probably heavy in KC at that time of day.
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Old 04-08-2017, 12:28 PM
 
21 posts, read 19,219 times
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Thank you all for your replies!

Bunner - thanks, that is helpful. I think you are right about the value of being able to run from your house instead of having to drive. We have always lived within running distance of Cheesman Park (it has a nice running path around the perimeter), and maybe I have taken that for granted a bit. I think I need to remember to keep "easy trail access" high on our list.

davebarnes - thanks. We are looking only in north Evergreen close to 70, which I believe is all Jeffco - but I'll keep an eye on that. Good point about the snow on a particular property.

Katarina Witt - good point. I guess I was thinking that either drive would be affected by snow during different storms, depending on where the snow was concentrated. I know sometimes my husband reports lots of snow / bad conditions in Golden when we have almost nothing in the city. I am assuming that the Evergreen drive would be affected by snow more often than the KC drive, but that both would be bad at times.

For what it's worth, my husband has a coworker who lives in Evergreen near the lake, and another who lives in KC. The Evergreen coworker reports that his commute is fast and easy except for the 10-15 (? can't remember the exact number he said) days a year or so when the roads are really bad. The KC coworker always complains about the commute and says it's awful going up 470 to Golden. And the 470 drive is only going to get worse with the new planned development near Solterra.

So I think my husband is thinking that the KC drive to Golden would be worse than the Evergreen drive. There is the issue of 70 closing at times, but he says he's willing to deal with that.

I am leaning towards KC myself, but my husband loves Evergreen and really doesn't seem to mind snowy commutes/etc, so I'm trying to keep an open mind. I love the *idea* of Evergreen but want to make sure we're not just going from one extreme (very urban) to the other without thinking it through.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
90,377 posts, read 109,339,766 times
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^^Evergreen in general gets more snow than the metro area.
Climate Evergreen - Colorado and Weather averages Evergreen 83"
LITTLETON, COLORADO - Climate Summary 65.7"
(Sorry, the first link didn't give snowfall data for Littleton, the closest city to KC)

My daughter lives in KC and they often get snow when we don't up here in Louisville. It's also reversed occasionally. My SIL commutes to Golden and reports not particular problems. Everyone's perception is different. Just my 2c.
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Old 04-08-2017, 01:37 PM
 
21 posts, read 19,219 times
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Thanks for the links and info. I have also heard that behind the hogback can be colder / more snow. (Not to Evergreen levels, but more than the general area around KC)
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Old 04-08-2017, 02:02 PM
 
11,392 posts, read 47,293,270 times
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As a 12 year resident of KC ... from the days of it's first residential development ...

I watched as the roads/infrastructure became somewhat overwhelmed through the years. What was initially a fairly easy drive from KC to my shop in Littleton on South Santa Fe Drive slowly got congested to a point where I could commute from Erie in comparable time. Even with subsequent C-470 development and access, peak time travel in clear weather does not flow very well into/out of the area. When I had to travel to Golden in peak travel times from KC, it was pretty congested. Inclement weather conditions can and consistently do add significantly to the traffic commute.

Friends in the Conifer and Evergreen areas had more consistency in their commutes down the hill, but they also knew in advance to plan for longer times and potentially tougher inclement road conditions due to colder temps/snowfall/black ice. There is an incrementally longer "winter driving" season from the higher elevations down to the Front Range than along the KC corridor to Golden.

OTOH, KC access to trails and recreation was easy, convenient, and readily accessible. Utilization was pretty light, with not too many people on the trails on the days I was out there on on bicycle or horseback riding. Almost on my doorstep and a consistent opportunity for fun without a crowd.

Altitude plays a big difference in comparing the two locations ... tends to be a "longer" winter and colder temps with more heating degree days in Evergreen than in KC. Site selection in Evergreen area is critical; it seems that some locations can be pockets of cold air in the winter months and significantly colder than the prevailing temps reported from "official" weather stations.
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Old 04-08-2017, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Evergreen, Colorado
1,168 posts, read 807,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
Site selection in Evergreen area is critical; it seems that some locations can be pockets of cold air in the winter months and significantly colder than the prevailing temps reported from "official" weather stations.

OP, I really have to second this point from Sunsprit. Having unobstructed Southern and Western sun on your property is a very important consideration up here.

I would also beware of steep and graveled driveways. Those things are just a bad day waiting to happen.

Regarding the drive down the hill: it really isn't bad especially if you're looking at northern Evergreen, which I define as north of Stagecoach.

Good Luck.
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Old 04-08-2017, 06:38 PM
 
7,433 posts, read 4,357,574 times
Reputation: 15454
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
^^Evergreen in general gets more snow than the metro area.
Climate Evergreen - Colorado and Weather averages Evergreen 83"
LITTLETON, COLORADO - Climate Summary 65.7"
(Sorry, the first link didn't give snowfall data for Littleton, the closest city to KC)

My daughter lives in KC and they often get snow when we don't up here in Louisville. It's also reversed occasionally. My SIL commutes to Golden and reports not particular problems. Everyone's perception is different. Just my 2c.
Littleton covers a huge area. KC is lower foothills and will get more snow than Denver does, just as Golden does. However, the difference is slight...unless you go up farther in elevation. KC sits at roughly 5800-6000' altitude. Roughly.

As you go more into the steeper, higher terrain at the western edges of "Littleton" --in name and zip code ONLY, not climate or even phone exchange) --the snowfall increases. We lived at 7350' between 5 and 10 miles past KC, towards Conifer, and we got between 2 and 3 times as much snow as Denver did, most times. Winter also lasted about two months longer, and the roads were snowy or icy for more of the year.
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