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Old 02-07-2012, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Keystone State
1,765 posts, read 1,934,530 times
Reputation: 2118

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I am considering relocating to Downtown GR or a surrounding neighborhood.

I’ve received some good feedback from a thread I started in General Moving, so I thought if I moved my questions here I might be able to get more details. I’ve read many of the GR threads that has some great general information, but I was hoping to gather more information specific to my situation.

I will be coming from Florida (born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and lived many places in between), I am currently collecting unemployment benefits and while I realize the job market is bad all over, I am willing to take my chances. Florida’s job market (regardless of what you read/hear in the news) is non-existent and I will not be able to handle one more summer that is endless.

After researching, it appears as though the cost of living is lower and the quality of life is better in GR than my current location. I will be able to transfer my benefits when I move and I have some cushion, so I will a have source of income.

I am interested in renting a dog friendly (1-bedroom) apartment in a safe area with stores, cafes, bookstore, library, community college, arts, dog park, etc. within walking distance. I will probably look into volunteering at the local community theatre (been involved in local theatre 20+ years) and/or the American Red Cross as a Disaster Volunteer or a CPR/First Aid Instructor (I’ve been an instructor since 2003).

Here is what I'd like to spend for a 1 bedroom apartment (if possible)

Rent range $500-$600
Utility/cable/internet range $100-$125

Any details or quality of life experiences living in Grand Rapids you are willing to share will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much for looking…
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:38 AM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,735,391 times
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Born and raised in Chicago, living back there now but I spent about 6 years in Grand Rapids, the last 3 living downtown. The quality of living is pretty decent. If you live right downtown or in an adjacent neighborhood everything you mentioned is pretty much within walking distance.

It's hard to define "lower" quality of life. The weather is obviously not as good. Public transit via the Rapid isn't great, but it's pretty functional for the most part.

I always enjoyed living downtown GR, it's really the only reason I stuck around as long as I did.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:04 AM
 
7,237 posts, read 11,216,447 times
Reputation: 5588
Cost of living correlates with quality of life.

A "functioning" city is not the only thing that defines quality of life. If there's nothing to do in the city, large-scale government investment is low jobs are lacking and the weather is crappy, the quality of life can still be pretty low.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:50 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
12,083 posts, read 34,941,531 times
Reputation: 16907
Quote:
Originally Posted by 313Weather View Post
Cost of living correlates with quality of life.

A "functioning" city is not the only thing that defines quality of life. If there's nothing to do in the city, large-scale government investment is low jobs are lacking and the weather is crappy, the quality of life can still be pretty low.
But the OP is asking about Grand Rapids... not the area covered by the 313 area code. GR and Detroit are night and day different in every way except weather.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:29 AM
 
Location: USA
118 posts, read 251,349 times
Reputation: 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiluha View Post

I am interested in renting a dog friendly (1-bedroom) apartment in a safe area with stores, cafes, bookstore, library, community college, arts, dog park, etc. within walking distance. I will probably look into volunteering at the local community theatre (been involved in local theatre 20+ years) and/or the American Red Cross as a Disaster Volunteer or a CPR/First Aid Instructor (I’ve been an instructor since 2003).

Here is what I'd like to spend for a 1 bedroom apartment (if possible)

Rent range $500-$600
Utility/cable/internet range $100-$125

Any details or quality of life experiences living in Grand Rapids you are willing to share will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much for looking…
Well, I currently live in HH which offers pretty much everything you want in terms of proximity, however You're price range is bit low for HH and Downtown. I pay $700 for a one bedroom all utilities included (even AC)

Dog friendly is a chore, it's possible, but it's not easy and will limit your options greatly.

I have the comcast basic cable/internet package and that runs me $127 a month. But $65 of that goes towards cable, so you could live with just the internet and watch things on HULU/Netflix... that is what we did while I was unemployed.

Quality of life for me is pretty good I work 5 minutes away, and I grocery shop another 5 minutes in the other direction. I rarely leave my neighborhood except to go downtown or out to 28th street (which is the main big box commercial strip of the city) I think I average one tank of gas per month because of it.

There are plenty of local places to eat close too and while not all of them are very good, there are enough decent places springing up to make it enjoyable. Though breakfast on Sundays or Dinner on Fridays is ALMOST more trouble than it's worth.

The summer months see Art Prize downtown as well as blues on the mall, and swing dancing. There are often free little concerts and special events in Rosa Parks Circle which can be a great deal of fun. Usually the art museum opens up for free admission one day a year so that's always nice... The library is very good and offers many services. There are many murals around the city which serve as eye candy and makes it an interesting place to live in.

National acts come to the arena from time to time so you can often see bands and musicians without having travel too far. There are many bars and pubs scattered all around the city so if you're into that, there is plenty of that to do. The piano bar is a sight that's worth seeing, though I feel more comfortable in a place like stellas.

with that said it's a city so it has it's share of city drawbacks... rush hour and crime being the big ones. But with my lifestyle I don't generally deal with either.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:33 AM
 
7,237 posts, read 11,216,447 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bydand View Post
But the OP is asking about Grand Rapids... not the area covered by the 313 area code. GR and Detroit are night and day different in every way except weather.
I didn't mention anything about Detroit in my post.

I just stated some facts, and this applies on a national and international level too.

Even Detroit, although it has by far the highest cost of living of any place in MICHIGAN, still has a rock bottom cost of living because of the aforementioned reasons (in comparison to most major 1st world cities, its quality of life by average measures still suck).

Meanwhile, San Francisco and New York are the most expensive cities in the US to live in.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Keystone State
1,765 posts, read 1,934,530 times
Reputation: 2118
Thank you @redgoast this is exactly the information I was looking for! $700 utilities included would work for me, you're right I could do without cable, but not the internet.

I did forget to ask about the most reliable inexpensive (if there is such a thing lol) cell phone company in the area. Currently I use T-Mobile, it has great coverage and internet for the area I'm in at an incredibly reasonable cost...

If dog friendly is a chore in finding an apartment does that mean HH is not a "dog friendly" place? I hope not...
TY


Quote:
Originally Posted by redgoast View Post
Well, I currently live in HH which offers pretty much everything you want in terms of proximity, however You're price range is bit low for HH and Downtown. I pay $700 for a one bedroom all utilities included (even AC)

Dog friendly is a chore, it's possible, but it's not easy and will limit your options greatly.

I have the comcast basic cable/internet package and that runs me $127 a month. But $65 of that goes towards cable, so you could live with just the internet and watch things on HULU/Netflix... that is what we did while I was unemployed.

Quality of life for me is pretty good I work 5 minutes away, and I grocery shop another 5 minutes in the other direction. I rarely leave my neighborhood except to go downtown or out to 28th street (which is the main big box commercial strip of the city) I think I average one tank of gas per month because of it.

There are plenty of local places to eat close too and while not all of them are very good, there are enough decent places springing up to make it enjoyable. Though breakfast on Sundays or Dinner on Fridays is ALMOST more trouble than it's worth.

The summer months see Art Prize downtown as well as blues on the mall, and swing dancing. There are often free little concerts and special events in Rosa Parks Circle which can be a great deal of fun. Usually the art museum opens up for free admission one day a year so that's always nice... The library is very good and offers many services. There are many murals around the city which serve as eye candy and makes it an interesting place to live in.

National acts come to the arena from time to time so you can often see bands and musicians without having travel too far. There are many bars and pubs scattered all around the city so if you're into that, there is plenty of that to do. The piano bar is a sight that's worth seeing, though I feel more comfortable in a place like stellas.

with that said it's a city so it has it's share of city drawbacks... rush hour and crime being the big ones. But with my lifestyle I don't generally deal with either.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:23 PM
 
Location: USA
118 posts, read 251,349 times
Reputation: 114
Heritage Hill is very dog friendly. I often see dogs outside my windows. I don't own one though, and it's important to remember that Heritage Hill is a neighborhood that isn't just rentals, there are many single family homes as well. A friend of ours has a large dog and she's been living in heritage hill for about 6 years now. She's been able to find landlords willing to allow dogs, but she has mentioned on more than one occasion that it's not an easy process... I'd venture to guess most rentals that allow dogs aren't vacant as often for that very reason. I know my landlords allow dogs in some of their other properties but not in our building.

There are no apartment complexes in Heritage Hill (with the exception of the cherry street condos perhaps) because it's the oldest neighborhood in the city and most of the rentals available are large homes converted into apartments.

this is a good site to find out more information about Heritage Hill
Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association, Grand Rapids, Michigan


I don't know about cheap cellphones. I moved here from Maine and in Maine Verizon was my only option so that is the cell service I have. I do believe all the major carriers (sprint, verizon , at&t, and t-mobile) offer good coverage in the city proper. I have many friends on all of the above carriers and none seem to have any problems. Other smaller carriers often contract with the big 4 for use of their towers and for that reason even smaller companies like metropcs and boost mobile are offered, and realistic in the area (to what extent I'm not sure.. but they do advertise on billboards throughout the city.)

We have the public museum, the art museum, the Gerald R Ford museum as well as lots of little art galleries downtown. There are a few public parks down by the rivers, and it's not uncommon to see fisherman in the water trolling for trout (i think it's trout) or sitting on a bucket throwing a line over the bridge. We also have a Zoo and many other attractions that I don't get out and enjoy as much as I probably should.

With all that said it's important to note that parking downtown can be expensive and hard to find and the bus system works but isn't the greatest. There are a few routes that run through heritage hill down to the community college on a 8 minute loop, so you can also take advantage of those if you live close to the route.... You're also close to all the major hospitals so that's nice too.

I probably wouldn't want to live in any other part of the city personally. I think it's the best GR has to offer and if you look over the forum you'll find many people feel similar. With East Grand Rapids and Downtown being favorite areas as well. Which makes sense because as i said earlier, those are just about the only places I have to go to do everything.

Last edited by redgoast; 02-08-2012 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Keystone State
1,765 posts, read 1,934,530 times
Reputation: 2118
Quote:
Originally Posted by redgoast View Post
I probably wouldn't want to live in any other part of the city personally. I think it's the best GR has to offer and if you look over the forum you'll find many people feel similar. With East Grand Rapids and Downtown being favorite areas as well. Which makes sense because as i said earlier, those are just about the only places I have to go to do everything.
Thanks again @redgoast I really appreciate the time you took to provide me with such great information. It's so helpful and it really gives me a much clearer picture of the area. I may be up in the Flint area in the next month or two so, I'll be able to visit GR and the local neighborhoods. I look forward to it, GR sounds like a great place!
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:12 AM
 
Location: USA
118 posts, read 251,349 times
Reputation: 114
sure, no problem but remember after visiting Flint you might find Grand Rapids to be even more beautiful then it really is.
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