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Old 02-16-2013, 03:48 PM
 
48 posts, read 116,712 times
Reputation: 36

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First off, thanks in advance! I have a ton of questions, and I'd appreciate any answers you can give.
My husband and I are planning to relocate in the next 12-18 months. We'd like this to be a final move to a place we can settle down, so we've narrowed down our list of cities and I'm doing lots of research to find the city that would best suit our family. I can google till my fingers go numb, but it's nice to get answers from current residents.

-We are in our mid thirties with two elementary school age daughters. We want a city, with lots of family friendly activites (weekend festivals, parks, libraries, etc) where we can go out with kids and not be out of place. Will Ft. Collins fit this?

-He is a professor and I am a registered nurse (considering a return to school for my ARNP). We have narrowed our search based on college programs he is interested in, but how hard are RN jobs to find and what is the pay scale for RNs in the area? Do you know of ARNP programs in the area?

-Currently we don't live in the best school district so our daughters go to a private Montessori school that we adore-its like a family. We've had such a horrible public school experience and amazing private experience, that we are really leaning towards keeping them in a private school (perferable Montessori) when we move, but are considering a public (and the $ savings!) if we can move to a location with excellent public schools. What are the best public schools in Ft. Collins? Or, do you know of an amazing private school?

-We don't really want to live in a cookie cutter development, but want to live around other families with similar-age kids. We'd like a larger home, trees, decent-sized yard, sidewalks. Access to a pool and park would be great. Proximity to the above mentioned schools, university, hospitals would be a huge bonus.

-Our daughters love gymnastics, volleyball, swimming, and track. We don't want to take their activities away from them if we move, so the availability/affordability of lessons/teams for participation, and also spectator events is big. Are there programs in the area?

-We currently attend a large, liberal to middle-of-the-road, Methodist church with great social, kids, youth, and community activities. Anything like this nearby?

-We love to travel, and will also be moving away from family, so we would like to be within an hour of a good airport. How hard is it to get out of Ft. Collins?

-I'm a girly-girl. I need decent shopping. Sound horrible, but it does factor in to my great place to live. If the local mall consists of a Sears, a Payless, and a Supercuts, I'm not gonna be happy. Are there better department stores, chains, and cute boutiques nearby? Awesome bookstores?
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Old 02-16-2013, 05:27 PM
 
22,587 posts, read 41,463,975 times
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We have many threads on nursing in COLO, many in the Denver forum; use our search tool to find them quickly for tons of into. Short version is that nursing jobs are competitive and often pay less than other cities.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
104 posts, read 380,419 times
Reputation: 61
Default Love Fort Collins

First off, where are you relocating from, just out of curiosity. Some of the answers to your housing questions are going to depend on your budget. Homes in Fort Collins tend to be on the high side, compared to surrounding areas such as Loveland, Windsor, Johnstown, Berthoud. For some strange reason, Timnath is priced super high for nothing more than cattle and wheat fields. You will be able to (in most cases) purchase a larger home in the Loveland/Johnstown area than Fort Collins for the same amount. There are a few exceptions, though. As far as shopping, Loveland and Fort Collins have plenty of shopping available as well as lots of restaurants. There is a nice upscale shopping area in Loveland called Centerra that is loaded with higher-end stores, but note that this shopping center charges an additional tax percentage just for shopping there. In regards to schools, Fort Collins (Poudre School District) is a school-of-choice school district. You are assigned to a particular school depending on where you live, but you may apply to go to a different school if there are openings there, however, you are responsible for transportation if you choose to put your child in a different school other than what they are assigned to. We have several schools that are IB World schools here as well. Depending on the age of your children, keep in mind that kindergarten is NOT REQUIRED in Colorado. Half day Kindergarten is included as part of the public school system, and full-day kindergarten costs about $2100.00 per child, though there are financial aid programs available. There are always outdoor activities here, as well as many parks (all city parks are free) and a few of them are very large (Spring Canyon Park, and Fossil Creek Park are the two largest I can think of). There are also several dog parks in the area. We also have some great medical care here.

I could go on and on. If you have some very specific questions, I can probably answer them for you if need be. We absolutely love Fort Collins, but are planning to buy a house in about 18 months, but will likely be purchasing in Loveland or Windsor, as Fort Collins is simply too expensive. I can purchase a similar home in Loveland/Windsor area for anywhere from $60k-$100k less money, BTW.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:22 AM
 
48 posts, read 116,712 times
Reputation: 36
We are coming from central Florida. It will be a big change weather wise, but from what I have seen on searches, housing cost is the same or a little better in CO. We have expensive homes/tax/insurance and low pay. I can't know for sure what the housing budget would be till we have a better idea of what our pay would be.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:53 PM
 
15 posts, read 52,790 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cc&lola View Post
First off, thanks in advance! I have a ton of questions, and I'd appreciate any answers you can give.
My husband and I are planning to relocate in the next 12-18 months. We'd like this to be a final move to a place we can settle down, so we've narrowed down our list of cities and I'm doing lots of research to find the city that would best suit our family. I can google till my fingers go numb, but it's nice to get answers from current residents.

-We are in our mid thirties with two elementary school age daughters. We want a city, with lots of family friendly activites (weekend festivals, parks, libraries, etc) where we can go out with kids and not be out of place. Will Ft. Collins fit this?

-He is a professor and I am a registered nurse (considering a return to school for my ARNP). We have narrowed our search based on college programs he is interested in, but how hard are RN jobs to find and what is the pay scale for RNs in the area? Do you know of ARNP programs in the area?

-Currently we don't live in the best school district so our daughters go to a private Montessori school that we adore-its like a family. We've had such a horrible public school experience and amazing private experience, that we are really leaning towards keeping them in a private school (perferable Montessori) when we move, but are considering a public (and the $ savings!) if we can move to a location with excellent public schools. What are the best public schools in Ft. Collins? Or, do you know of an amazing private school?

-We don't really want to live in a cookie cutter development, but want to live around other families with similar-age kids. We'd like a larger home, trees, decent-sized yard, sidewalks. Access to a pool and park would be great. Proximity to the above mentioned schools, university, hospitals would be a huge bonus.

-Our daughters love gymnastics, volleyball, swimming, and track. We don't want to take their activities away from them if we move, so the availability/affordability of lessons/teams for participation, and also spectator events is big. Are there programs in the area?

-We currently attend a large, liberal to middle-of-the-road, Methodist church with great social, kids, youth, and community activities. Anything like this nearby?

-We love to travel, and will also be moving away from family, so we would like to be within an hour of a good airport. How hard is it to get out of Ft. Collins?

-I'm a girly-girl. I need decent shopping. Sound horrible, but it does factor in to my great place to live. If the local mall consists of a Sears, a Payless, and a Supercuts, I'm not gonna be happy. Are there better department stores, chains, and cute boutiques nearby? Awesome bookstores?
-Fort Collins is an active community. There are various festivals and whatnot through the late-spring to early-fall period. Given that FoCo is a good size city with lots of families, I doubt you'll feel out of place. The area around CSU is dominated by the university culture but the rest of the city is typical Americana.

-I'm not sure on the availability or pay rate for those jobs, but Fort Collins itself has the large Poudre Valley hospital, the typical selection of small clinics, surgery centers, specialists and family practices. Loveland, 10 minutes south of Fort Collins, has the McKee Medical Center and the newly build Medical Center of the Rockies. I couldn't imagine you'd have a hard time finding work.

-I don't have children so I really have very little knowledge of the school system. That said, I see the public schools in Northern Colorado as being typical public schools. If you have the means to send your children to private schools, then do so, private schools are always better than public, regardless of where you live.

-In that case I would look for houses in the northern side of the city. The area north of CSU has several large, historic neighborhoods with big homes on good sized yards with tall trees and mature vegetation. The structures in this area of town have charm, they're not the cookie-cutter suburban plots that make up the newer, southern part of town. If you stay north of Mulberry you'll be clear of college kids.

-There are plenty of recreational and club sports available for children and adults alike. Spectator sports there are also plenty. Denver is 90 minutes away and has a team in all 4 major sports - NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. CSU plays in NCAA Division-I and has teams in every sport. College games are fun and affordable. Loveland has the Colorado Eagles and Colorado Ice, minor-league hockey and area football, respectively, teams. Like CSU athletics, games for these two teams are fun and affordable.

-Don't know much about religion but FoCo seems to have plenty of churches. Unlike the Northeast which is dominated by Catholics or the South which has mostly evangelicals and southern denominations, you'll find that Colorado doesn't have one predominate religion. Mainline Christians seem to make up most religious people but, again, being a western state religion isn't the big deal here that it is back east. Yet, at the same time, for those who choose to worship there are plenty of options available, I'm sure you'll be able to find a Methodist church to your liking.

-Fort Collins is easy to get out of with three large east-west roads (Mulberry, Prospect and Harmony) that lead directly to I-25. Once on I-25 it's a 30 minute drive south to the E-470 tollway and then from there you're another 15-20 minutes from DIA.

-Southern Fort Collins is dominated by retail shopping. You'll find just about any store you could ever need and 15 minutes south of town is the new Promenade Shops at Centerra that offer even more. Here's a link to check that area out: Welcome to The Promenade Shops at Centerra
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
104 posts, read 380,419 times
Reputation: 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKarp82 View Post
-Fort Collins is an active community. There are various festivals and whatnot through the late-spring to early-fall period. Given that FoCo is a good size city with lots of families, I doubt you'll feel out of place. The area around CSU is dominated by the university culture but the rest of the city is typical Americana.

-I'm not sure on the availability or pay rate for those jobs, but Fort Collins itself has the large Poudre Valley hospital, the typical selection of small clinics, surgery centers, specialists and family practices. Loveland, 10 minutes south of Fort Collins, has the McKee Medical Center and the newly build Medical Center of the Rockies. I couldn't imagine you'd have a hard time finding work.

-I don't have children so I really have very little knowledge of the school system. That said, I see the public schools in Northern Colorado as being typical public schools. If you have the means to send your children to private schools, then do so, private schools are always better than public, regardless of where you live.

-In that case I would look for houses in the northern side of the city. The area north of CSU has several large, historic neighborhoods with big homes on good sized yards with tall trees and mature vegetation. The structures in this area of town have charm, they're not the cookie-cutter suburban plots that make up the newer, southern part of town. If you stay north of Mulberry you'll be clear of college kids.

-There are plenty of recreational and club sports available for children and adults alike. Spectator sports there are also plenty. Denver is 90 minutes away and has a team in all 4 major sports - NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB. CSU plays in NCAA Division-I and has teams in every sport. College games are fun and affordable. Loveland has the Colorado Eagles and Colorado Ice, minor-league hockey and area football, respectively, teams. Like CSU athletics, games for these two teams are fun and affordable.

-Don't know much about religion but FoCo seems to have plenty of churches. Unlike the Northeast which is dominated by Catholics or the South which has mostly evangelicals and southern denominations, you'll find that Colorado doesn't have one predominate religion. Mainline Christians seem to make up most religious people but, again, being a western state religion isn't the big deal here that it is back east. Yet, at the same time, for those who choose to worship there are plenty of options available, I'm sure you'll be able to find a Methodist church to your liking.

-Fort Collins is easy to get out of with three large east-west roads (Mulberry, Prospect and Harmony) that lead directly to I-25. Once on I-25 it's a 30 minute drive south to the E-470 tollway and then from there you're another 15-20 minutes from DIA.

-Southern Fort Collins is dominated by retail shopping. You'll find just about any store you could ever need and 15 minutes south of town is the new Promenade Shops at Centerra that offer even more. Here's a link to check that area out: Welcome to The Promenade Shops at Centerra

That's a lot of great info. I would also add that depending on your income and housing budget, that to be right in Fort Collins, the average home price seems to be anywhere from $250K and up, though there are some neighborhoods with smaller and older homes that can be had for less. Loveland's housing prices on average tend to be lower, though there are also some very high priced areas as well with homes in the $500-$600K range and higher. Severance and Eaton will be considerably less expensive, though it is very rural, but only about 20 minutes east of Fort Collins. Windsor has housing prices all over the map as well. As far as anything further south, Johnstown has some lower pricing, as does Firestone and some parts of Longmont. Keep in mind that Johnstown would be about a 30 minute drive to Fort Collins and Longmont about 45 minutes. Wellington, north of Fort Collins, has a fair amount of new and newer homes that can be had for considerably less than FoCo. IF you're wanting super cheap home prices, Cheyenne is about 45 minutes to an hour away, though Cheyenne, I feel, is extremely run down (with some exceptions) and the drive can be miserable (and sometimes impossible) in the winter time, as Cheyenne tends to be very windy and snowy with occasional closures of I-25 due to weather conditions. Also in the less expensive category would be the Greeley/Evans area. East Greeley is pretty run down with some rough neighborhoods, though West Greeley has some nicer areas, and Evans is fairly similar. Weld County (Greeley and Evans) does not have highly rated schools, and I have heard that is, in part, due to the many Hispanic families in that area for several reasons that I have been told. One is that Weld County does not have the tax base that Larimer or Boulder counties have, and that the school budget is stretched due to a high number of immigrants, who in many, but not all, cases do not pay any taxes. Weld County is also mostly agricultural or blue collar type jobs, whereas Larimer County is a mix of white and blue collar workers.

As far as Denver Airport, I would say that about an hour and 15 minutes to 90 minutes is about average, depending on traffic, though the way recommended via E470 is much quicker than I-225 or I-70. One nice thing about the Fort Collins area is that there is no large airport here, so the times you do hear jets flying overhead is pretty rare. Until late last year, you could fly Allegiant Air into Fort Collins/Loveland airport, but they have ceased flights here. You can fly in and out of Cheyenne, but the flights mostly connect through Denver and add a huge amount to airfare, for about a 45 minute time savings in driving.

As for churches, there are Methodist churches in Fort Collins for sure, but as already stated, non-denominational Christian churches seem to be the most prevalent, but there are also Baptist and Catholic churches as well. Sorry, I don't know the dynamics of the Methodist Church here, so I don't know how liberal they are.

I would suggest maybe renting an apartment or house for a while upon moving here, until you can get your bearings and find out what YOU really like. My family and I absolutely love Fort Collins, and are looking to buy/build a home in about a year. We are wanting something new or newer, and will likely be in Loveland, as the housing costs are simply too high for what we are wanting to spend. I can build a 3,000 square foot home in Loveland for about $250K, whereas in Fort Collins, we would be looking at well over $300K with the exception of DR Horton Homes, which has one subdivision they are building out with prices in the low $200's and another new sub where they have not yet announced pricing.

I myself had previously lived in Michigan for about 10 years and spent about 18 years in Central Florida as well, and I can tell you that that acclimating to the weather conditions here can be a challenge, and just to warn you, your family may end up being sick for about 3-6 months. Central Florida tends to be very warm/hot with high humidity with frequent rainstorms. Our summer weather can range anywhere from 80-105 degrees with humidity in the single digits or teens, with no rain for months at a time. Common issues from relocating here are dry skin, nosebleeds, dizzy spells (our oxygen level is about 18% less here than at sea level), and dehydration. Winter weather can range anywhere from -10 to 60 degrees and sometimes very windy, and again, very dry. I just wanted to forewarn you if you do move here, that it will take some time to adjust to the climate here compared to muggy Central Florida.

As far as residents go, most people are pretty friendly, though not always very outgoing, and it can take some time to make friends, as it seems like many people have their "closed circles" and don't always want outsiders. One really nice thing is that a large number of people in this area are transplants from elsewhere, notably Arizona, California, and parts of the Midwest, though you will find people from all over (my son's best friend in school is from Alaska!).

Overall, we really do love it here. Colorado seems to be one of those places that you either love or hate. Most people I know love it here, and with your family being active and outdoorsy, you should have a great time here. There are tons of places to hike, picnic, play, river rafting, mountain climbing, snow ski, boating, camping. Outside of the city, wildlife sightings are fairly frequent with deer, red fox, coyotes, prairie dogs, and sometimes elk and black bears. Some of these are also found in the city limits as well - we had a bear stuck in a tree a few blocks from us last year (unfortunately the bear died when it fell from the tree), and fox and coyotes are fairly common.

To see elk, Estes Park is one of the best places to go. The drive through Rocky Mountain National Park is breathtaking (literally too, if you're not adjusted to the altitude yet) with the road climbing to over 12,000 feet. In the park, we've seen elk, moose, fox, coyotes, mountain lions, as well as various bird and small mammal species.

If you're into military history, there is a former Atlas Missile Silo in Greeley that can be toured with advance reservations, as well as 49 active Minuteman III missile silos in Weld County not too far from here. Also in Aurora is Buckley AFB, and in the Colorado Springs area is Cheyenne Mountain, former home of NORAD, but the military controlled part of the mountain is still off limits. Colorado Springs also has Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cave of the Winds, Manitou Springs, and Pikes Peak. Near Colorado Springs is Cripple Creek and the Dinosaur Resource Center. Denver also has a fairly nice zoo, as well as several sports teams (Rockies, Avalanche, and Broncos) and several minor league teams as well. Elitch Gardens is an amusement park in Denver as is Lakeside Amusement Park (though its future is uncertain). Budweiser has a plant in Fort Collins with tours, Coors brewery is in Golden with tours available as well. There are also several smaller breweries in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Longmont.

If you are into fine arts, the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins has many performances that they offer. For live music, there is no place better than Red Rocks for outdoor concerts (in Morrsion, just west of Denver off of I-70).

Wow, sorry to bore with so much info, but wanted to tell you everything I could think of. If you have any more questions, please feel free to post or you can send me a private message if you'd like as well! Good luck on the move and hope to see and hear from you soon!
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:56 PM
 
48 posts, read 116,712 times
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Thanks A2Mich, great info!
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Old Town
99 posts, read 201,402 times
Reputation: 130
Wow, that's a lot of questions. I can probably only hit a few and I might be repeating some stuff that others have already said, but here goes.

There are a gajillion things to do here with kids. If you can't find it in the Recreator, then there's probably something happening at the library or downtown in general. Fort Collins is very family oriented, so even stuff that you wouldn't necessarily think of as being kid friendly, like the sustainable living fair, will have a kid-themed space or activities. It's rare that something happens in Fort Collins that kids aren't welcomed. (And most of that stuff happens fairly late at night, so it's not like the kids would be up anyway.)

We looked at both private and public and I've heard good things about the private schools here. But my kids have done public since kindergarten and they're now in 8th and 9th grade. We've sent our kids to the neighborhood schools and we've had absolutely fantastic experiences at all three schools: Dunn Elementary, Lincoln Middle School and Poudre High School. The teachers are really wonderful. I spend a lot of time in the schools as a parent helper so I've seen first hand how dedicated, creative and caring these teachers are.

But just so you know, in the state of Colorado, you can choice into any public school that you want to. As long as they have space, you can get in. We know kids who have choiced into all three of the schools that my kids have attended, and they're driving up this way from the far south end of town. So you can choose where you want to live and where you want to send your kids to school and the decisions don't necessarily have to be tied together.

We live in Old town, a few blocks north of CSU, a few blocks west of downtown, a mile from two major city parks and the City Park pool. It's a great location. We walk or bike with our kids pretty much everywhere we go around here. And now that they're teens they're able to meet up with friends downtown and we don't have to worry about how they're going to get there or how they're going to get home. They just walk. There are a ton of kids in our neighborhood. We've got everything from newborns to teenagers and everything in between. But we've also got families with grown children and seniors as well. So it's a really nice mix in terms of community. And I loved walking my kids to elementary school and having that sense that the entire neighborhood was converging on one central location. It gave an incredible sense of shared purpose and life.

You really should check out the Recreator. If it's not a program offered in the Recreator, you'll probably find things you're interested in the advertising. It gives a really good sense of what's available for both kids and adults in town.

If you want to stick with Methodist, I'd recommend First Methodist on the eastside of Old Town. We sent our kids to the co-op preschool there and loved how community oriented the church was. If you looking more for liberal than Methodist, there's the Unitarian church, which a lot of my friends attend because they love how many programs they have and how often people get together to hang out. And there's everything in between.

My husband drives to the airport a lot. He puts it at an hour and 20 minutes when he drives between here and there.

We've got cute boutiques galore downtown. There's also lots of mall-ish shopping in other parts of town, but I don't visit those as much.

Hope this helps. :-)
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