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Old 06-20-2006, 07:30 PM
4 posts, read 46,801 times
Reputation: 16


My wife and I are thinking of moving to the Gainesville or Jacksonville area in the next year or year and a half. We currently live in small town Illinois (10,000 people). I have a MBA with about 5 years of work experience in the automotive industry and my wife is an elementary teacher (she has her master's also). We are in our mid-20's and have no kids yet. Would anyone recommend these two locations for living in Florida? How are the job markets, real estate, hurricanes, school systems, and general way of life in these two cities? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-21-2006, 02:41 AM
Location: Johnson's Neck-O'Neil, FL
121 posts, read 786,095 times
Reputation: 168
Default Gainesville recommendation

Gainesville would be my choice, search my comments on this board about this city. Jacksonville has more car dealerships of course, but there should be enough in Gainesville with your credentials.

In terms of the schools, culture, and year-round outdoor activities I rate Gainesville by far the best. Gainesville's downtown is beautifully restored with an extensive pedestrian area, an excellent central public library, entertainment, and a great state-endowed theatre, the Hippodrome.

Gainesville is in the middle of the extensive central Florida Eco-tourism region with numerous trails, forests, and springs and spring-fed rivers accessible by car, bike, or trail.

Gainesville has a better library system serving its population than Jacksonville (even with Jacksonville's great new central library considered). Also Gainesville has more going on in the arts with a new arts/performing arts center at UF, easily accessible from the west at 34th street. Its natural history museum and Butterfly Rainforest are superb. On the east side of the UF campus (at US 441) you can access the University gallery, The Fine Arts complex, and Music school.

On the other side of 441 is the P.K. Younge library that specializes in resources for the school of Education. This library also houses some archival materials and collections. Any visitor has in-house access to the resources of the UF Library system, and it is easy to obtain a readers/library card for access to the entire UF library collections and archives.

UF is a big university and has one of the best year-round sports complexes right on campus nestled amongst the live-oaks and monumental specimen pines. The football and basketball programs get a lot of the limelight, but it also has a great tennis center, natatorium, baseball stadium, track, and golf club all within walking distance. If you like to play pickup racquetball, tennis, basketball or even golf this NW part of the campus is the place to be.

On weather: Gainesville is a bit hotter than Jacksonville, but both cities can be sweltering in the summer. Neither Jacksonville nor Gainesville suffer direct hurricane damage historically. Go to the NOAA website and look at the historical hurricane charts. You will see that NE Florida is thick with low-category1 hurricanes and tropical storm tracks of hurricanes that were killers elsewhere. So you will get a blow and rain and some power outages in both cities nearly every year from passing storms, but these will not be very dangerous by the time they get in NE Florida. From what I can determine, since 1899 only 2 serious storms hit NE Florida.

For a stark contrast in the culture and readerships of the two cities go to your library and read copies of Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union and the Gainesville Sun for about a week. Gainesville is progressive politically and Alachua county is a democratic stronghold. Jacksonville is the diametric opposite. Its politics are run by members of the largest mega-church in Florida. I have a friend that is a superb classical portrait painter of nudes that has lived in Jacksonville for years. Several years ago one of his shows was shut down by the police at a gallery in Jacksonville because of the nudes. This would never, ever happen in Gainesville. He has finally had it with the city after more than 30 years and is leaving to the mountains of North Carolina where he will open his own studio.

You really have a choice in looking at Jacksonville and Gainesville. They are completely different places.
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Old 06-21-2006, 06:02 AM
4 posts, read 46,801 times
Reputation: 16
Default Thank you

Thanks for the info. I should clerify my job experience. I have never worked at a car dealership. I work in manufacturing of automotive parts. Is there many manufacturing facilities down there (not necessarily auto)? It sounds like Gainesville may fit our lifestyle a little better. Can anyone provide info on the housing market there? Good/bad neighborhoods? How about home insurance? Also, my wife is a teacher. Which schools near Gainesville would she want to (or not want to) teach at? Thanks.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:53 AM
16 posts, read 86,445 times
Reputation: 14
Default Gainesville best choice as Jax. close to water

If you move to Jacksonville expect to pay 500%+ more for homeowners insurance than people paid last year because of all the storms and at least 200% more for wind ins. (required) with high deductable. Stay as far away from the water in Florida as you can get!!!
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