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Old 07-24-2012, 02:30 PM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,735,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Just to interject here, I wouldn't live downtown or near downtown with 3 kids. In addition to the school issues, the homes are older and built in a different time period: ie closets and baths are small, kitchens are small, usually no family room, old basements that aren't conducive to finishing off, etc.. It's unusual to find one that has been "modernized" to today's standards, that doesn't cost a small fortune. All "in my experience" obviously.
Quote:
Originally Posted by notdeconcentrate View Post
So I take it you wouldn't live in Heritage Hill (or another nice and near downtown area) with kids due to the GRPS issue?

Heritage Hill really comes down to budget I think. The homes themselves are generally massive, but expensive. The only families I've ever known in HH own single family homes. There are 3 bedroom units to rent and so on, but they probably are going to be the 2nd floor in a house.

I'm younger, so family isn't/wasn't a concern.

If you are thinking of starting a family, downtown/HH could be a good place to rent for a few years. If you already have kids, and can't afford private schools, it's probably best to look elsewhere.
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandur View Post

If you are thinking of starting a family, downtown/HH could be a good place to rent for a few years. If you already have kids, and can't afford private schools, it's probably best to look elsewhere.
I knew you would say that, because that's what you tell everyone. I wouldn't exclude a place in GRPS just because the district isn't great overall. I live in a poor district now. The first year we had a pretty great teacher and the only real issues for me were the incompetent administration, poor communication, and lack of organization. If we don't move, we've enrolled in a charter school for next year that has better scores but also meets other needs. I think if I do my part and stay involved that we can make it work wherever.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Just to interject here, I wouldn't live downtown or near downtown with 3 kids. In addition to the school issues, the homes are older and built in a different time period: ie closets and baths are small, kitchens are small, usually no family room, old basements that aren't conducive to finishing off, etc.. It's unusual to find one that has been "modernized" to today's standards, that doesn't cost a small fortune. All "in my experience" obviously.
Thanks. This is something to think about, although I will be renting. I do prefer older homes, and live in one now, but have the luxury of some modern touches like a huge bathroom and a newer kitchen. We have about 1000 square feet now, and there are a number of character apartments right around there in GR in my price range, I'm just not sure if I ever want someone above me again. I'd prefer a SFH, townhouse, or side by side duplex (maybe ?) with some outdoor space. I also don't want to have to drive 15 minutes to get groceries or food if needed in a hurry. I'd also prefer as short of a commute as possible--I drive around 30ish minutes now. I actually think there are too many choices, so I have to figure out what really matters most to me.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:18 AM
 
1,210 posts, read 2,735,774 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by notdeconcentrate View Post
I knew you would say that, because that's what you tell everyone. I wouldn't exclude a place in GRPS just because the district isn't great overall. I live in a poor district now. The first year we had a pretty great teacher and the only real issues for me were the incompetent administration, poor communication, and lack of organization. If we don't move, we've enrolled in a charter school for next year that has better scores but also meets other needs. I think if I do my part and stay involved that we can make it work wherever.
Ha I guess I'm predictable

Given other things you are looking for HH might be very doable then. You can easily walk downtown if you want (10-15min), plenty of groceries nearby, it's centrally located so commute times usually aren't that long, vintage buildings etc etc.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandur View Post
Ha I guess I'm predictable

Given other things you are looking for HH might be very doable then. You can easily walk downtown if you want (10-15min), plenty of groceries nearby, it's centrally located so commute times usually aren't that long, vintage buildings etc etc.
Makes sense. Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Can anybody in Comstock Park, Kentwood, Eastown, or East Hills, or NW side respond? Please?
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,225 posts, read 16,825,323 times
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I grew up on the far NW side about a block from the Walker city limits. It was, and still is a pretty suburban to rural part of town. A few of my neighbors even had horses in their back yard. Most of the housing stock is 1950s or later, save for some of the really old and beautiful farmhouses you'll see on Leonard, Oakleigh, or Lake Michigan Drive. (Former Mayor Helmholddt had a mansion-sized place on that part of west Leonard for a long time.) Other than a few gas stations and restaurants, there aren't many businesses in that part of town 'up the hill'. My parents do most of their shopping on Alpine Ave. or Meijer in Standale. and it's not too much of a drive to either get down town/East Side or the bigger commercial areas south of town.
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Old 08-05-2012, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
I grew up on the far NW side about a block from the Walker city limits. It was, and still is a pretty suburban to rural part of town. A few of my neighbors even had horses in their back yard. Most of the housing stock is 1950s or later, save for some of the really old and beautiful farmhouses you'll see on Leonard, Oakleigh, or Lake Michigan Drive. (Former Mayor Helmholddt had a mansion-sized place on that part of west Leonard for a long time.) Other than a few gas stations and restaurants, there aren't many businesses in that part of town 'up the hill'. My parents do most of their shopping on Alpine Ave. or Meijer in Standale. and it's not too much of a drive to either get down town/East Side or the bigger commercial areas south of town.
That may be a bit far for me, but it's something to think about. Ultimately, I need to drive around over there and see. Thank you for the response!
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:16 PM
 
56 posts, read 85,630 times
Reputation: 48
--What neighborhood or suburb do you live in?-
Kentwood. I grew up there from birth to high school graduation. It's been longer than 3 years since I moved on, but I still frequent town a lot. It hasn't changed by much.

--What do you like about it?
It's a nice suburb, with lots of nice neighborhoods. Tall trees (which I guess isn't unique in MI). Very, very quiet, which always takes me aback, as one accustomed to the city. Lots of retail (and grocery) close by, especially on 28th Street, and they've built up a lot of stuff on Kalamazoo Ave. Woodland Mall (which I prefer to Rivertown) is there.

--What don't you like about it?
I like to walk to places, but aside from city parks, the sprawling suburbs and winding streets don't leave much to go to within walking distance. Driving is a necessity.

Obviously, no nightlife or entertainment options, except for movie theaters. Also, despite the growth of the new retail centers noted above, I've noticed some of the "old" commercial corridors - like 52nd/Eastern or 44th Street - fall into blight.

--If not answered already, what amenities within the neighborhood or suburb do you use the most?
There are city parks in every neighborhood, and they've done a lot of work on them in recent years. Just recently, I noticed they started putting in splash pads. Bike trails too - they've been sprouting up all over the place.

There's a new public library on Breton Ave, which is way nicer than the old one, but unfortunately, farther away from the center of population. I used to be able to walk to it. Now I have to drive.

--Single family home, apartment, or other? Do you feel you have enough indoor space for the size of your household?
Single family home. Yes.

Suburban sprawl is still expanding like crazy, even post-bubble, and there's still lots of undeveloped land to go. Not cheering or condemning, just sayin'...

There's a lot of apartment complexes there too, hence the city's nickname "Rentwood."

--How diverse (or not diverse) is it in regards to race & age?
Kentwood was about 70% Caucasian in the last census, so for an affluent suburb, it's actually quite ethnically diverse. I can tell you my street has gotten less white and a little bit younger since I left, and there's a real sense of upward mobility in my old neighborhood. During that pathetic time in 2010 when cities all over the country were up in arms trying to prevent new mosques from being built, I was pleased to see Kentwood erect two large ones that year without controversy. You'll find Kentwoodites tend to be proud of the town's relative diversity... To us, it's what mainly sets it apart from the other suburbs.


--If you work, how long on average is your commute? Do you ever take public transit?
Only job I held while at Kentwood was in Cascade, and it was 20 minutes by car from the 52nd/Kalamazoo area, which was where I lived. That hasn't changed.

Downtown is about 30 minutes from there. That commute depends on where you live in Kentwood, but with M-6, even a commute from the southeast corner would probably still take about 30 minutes. I have issues with M-6 being built, but I have to admit it has made travel by car easier, especially to Holland. The bike trail next to it is nice too.

The airport is 10 minutes or less from anywhere in Kentwood, which is a plus.

The Rapid comes through Kentwood, but like the rest of suburbia, it's not very practical unless you live right along the route (i.e. 44th or Eastern). It's also the end of the line from downtown, so commuting by bus takes a lot longer than driving. There are no good routes from anywhere within Kentwood to the airport or to Woodland, which is a drag. But the 44th Street bus does go straight to Rivertown.


--Do you have school age kids? If yes, do they attend school in a public district or other (private, charter, homeschool)?
No, but I was raised in Kentwood Public, and I would have no qualms about sending my kids there. KPS gets a bum rap, in my opinion. East Kentwood HS is huge, and I personally liked being in a big school, though I understand why other parents would prefer a smaller one. On the one hand, I can't argue with the fact that other districts have higher scores... But on the other hand, it's a large district, and it can offer a lot of resources. If you have a motivated student, I guarantee he/she won't be denied any opportunities just because he/she went to Kentwood... And, like the city, it's also more ethnically diverse than the other suburban schools, which I've always appreciated, and felt was very beneficial.

I still hear rumors that EKHS is rife with racial tension, which is 100% bunk. People (mostly outside of Kentwood) have been saying that for years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jandur View Post
For me absolutely. It never really bothered me at all. I could have moved out to say, Kentwood at anytime and gotten a much bigger/nicer place...but it's Kentwood. I'm always a location first person.
I've been more accustomed to living in the city since I left Kentwood, so I can't blame Jandur for this comment. If I were to move back to the GR area, I'd probably look for something near Heritage Hill too.

This is a great thread! I'm learning a lot about how others view their own neighborhoods.

Last edited by RegalTDP; 08-07-2012 at 02:40 PM..
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids
235 posts, read 460,161 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by RegalTDP View Post
--What neighborhood or suburb do you live in?-
Kentwood. I grew up there from birth to high school graduation. It's been longer than 3 years since I moved on, but I still frequent town a lot. It hasn't changed by much.

--What do you like about it?
It's a nice suburb, with lots of nice neighborhoods. Tall trees (which I guess isn't unique in MI). Very, very quiet, which always takes me aback, as one accustomed to the city. Lots of retail (and grocery) close by, especially on 28th Street, and they've built up a lot of stuff on Kalamazoo Ave. Woodland Mall (which I prefer to Rivertown) is there.

--What don't you like about it?
I like to walk to places, but aside from city parks, the sprawling suburbs and winding streets don't leave much to go to within walking distance. Driving is a necessity.

Obviously, no nightlife or entertainment options, except for movie theaters. Also, despite the growth of the new retail centers noted above, I've noticed some of the "old" commercial corridors - like 52nd/Eastern or 44th Street - fall into blight.

--If not answered already, what amenities within the neighborhood or suburb do you use the most?
There are city parks in every neighborhood, and they've done a lot of work on them in recent years. Just recently, I noticed they started putting in splash pads. Bike trails too - they've been sprouting up all over the place.

There's a new public library on Breton Ave, which is way nicer than the old one, but unfortunately, farther away from the center of population. I used to be able to walk to it. Now I have to drive.

--Single family home, apartment, or other? Do you feel you have enough indoor space for the size of your household?
Single family home. Yes.

Suburban sprawl is still expanding like crazy, even post-bubble, and there's still lots of undeveloped land to go. Not cheering or condemning, just sayin'...

There's a lot of apartment complexes there too, hence the city's nickname "Rentwood."

--How diverse (or not diverse) is it in regards to race & age?
Kentwood was about 70% Caucasian in the last census, so for an affluent suburb, it's actually quite ethnically diverse. I can tell you my street has gotten less white and a little bit younger since I left, and there's a real sense of upward mobility in my old neighborhood. During that pathetic time in 2010 when cities all over the country were up in arms trying to prevent new mosques from being built, I was pleased to see Kentwood erect two large ones that year without controversy. You'll find Kentwoodites tend to be proud of the town's relative diversity... To us, it's what mainly sets it apart from the other suburbs.


--If you work, how long on average is your commute? Do you ever take public transit?
Only job I held while at Kentwood was in Cascade, and it was 20 minutes by car from the 52nd/Kalamazoo area, which was where I lived. That hasn't changed.

Downtown is about 30 minutes from there. That commute depends on where you live in Kentwood, but with M-6, even a commute from the southeast corner would probably still take about 30 minutes. I have issues with M-6 being built, but I have to admit it has made travel by car easier, especially to Holland. The bike trail next to it is nice too.

The airport is 10 minutes or less from anywhere in Kentwood, which is a plus.

The Rapid comes through Kentwood, but like the rest of suburbia, it's not very practical unless you live right along the route (i.e. 44th or Eastern). It's also the end of the line from downtown, so commuting by bus takes a lot longer than driving. There are no good routes from anywhere within Kentwood to the airport or to Woodland, which is a drag. But the 44th Street bus does go straight to Rivertown.


--Do you have school age kids? If yes, do they attend school in a public district or other (private, charter, homeschool)?
No, but I was raised in Kentwood Public, and I would have no qualms about sending my kids there. KPS gets a bum rap, in my opinion. East Kentwood HS is huge, and I personally liked being in a big school, though I understand why other parents would prefer a smaller one. On the one hand, I can't argue with the fact that other districts have higher scores... But on the other hand, it's a large district, and it can offer a lot of resources. If you have a motivated student, I guarantee he/she won't be denied any opportunities just because he/she went to Kentwood... And, like the city, it's also more ethnically diverse than the other suburban schools, which I've always appreciated, and felt was very beneficial.

I still hear rumors that EKHS is rife with racial tension, which is 100% bunk. People (mostly outside of Kentwood) have been saying that for years.



I've been more accustomed to living in the city since I left Kentwood, so I can't blame Jandur for this comment. If I were to move back to the GR area, I'd probably look for something near Heritage Hill too.

This is a great thread! I'm learning a lot about how others view their own neighborhoods.
Thank you so much for the response. I think it could be a good thread for people in the future too. I really appreciate the insight on Kentwood. It's on my short list, mainly due to the diversity. Good to know about bike trails, because that kind of makes up for the relative lack of walkability. I really don't like the idea of a possibly still having a 30 minute commute, though. Thanks a lot for your input!
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