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Old 11-20-2008, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
Reputation: 3833

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuscmom View Post
Hi,
We are also moving to Grand Rapids next fall and are working on housing and other things. I have a daughter in high school. Which would be the best school district? Somebody mentioned Forest hills, but are there any better schools in the area?
At the high school level, there are a lot to choose from that are ranked highly: Forest Hills, Rockford, East GR, Byron Center, Caledonia, Grandville, Northview, Lowell, and City High in Grand Rapids Public Schools. Some are further out than others.
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Old 11-21-2008, 02:22 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,901 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by skchi View Post
I'll look into Holland, but I've read that it's hard to fit in if you're not Dutch. Do you think that's true?
Entirely false.
Laughably false even.

I wouldn't believe that for a second.
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:41 AM
 
Location: Cumming, Georgia
808 posts, read 2,971,336 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skchi View Post
Allbusiness - I'll look into Holland, but I've read that it's hard to fit in if you're not Dutch. Do you think that's true?
We lived in Holland for 5 years before moving to Ada in 1999. Many of the Dutch moved to Hamilton, Hudsonville, and Zeeland. There are some Dutch in Holland, not as many as it used to be. My neighbors in Holland came from else where. We fit in just fine. We are still in contact with friends we made there.

There is Dutch people living everywhere in West Michigan, including in GR.

My parents now live on Lake Mac so we go to Holland frequently.

If schools are not important right now, I'd look into Central City, easy walk to shops in downtown and Hope College.

If you prefer better schools, look at the north side in West Ottawa Public schools.
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Old 11-22-2008, 06:24 PM
 
316 posts, read 1,081,537 times
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skichi- From Chicago where the city and surrounding areas are for the most part very diverse, to Western Michigan, it is an adjustment, especially in the Holland area. It only takes a few minutes to get a vibe that it is a bit tough to fit into the city. In fact, I usually rarely go a trip to Holland without someone mentioning something such as "Well I would do this but I am dutch you know. Or, I would pay for that, but of course I am dutch." I wouldn't bring this up except anytime I ever have been to that city something like this pops up.
In Chicago I never felt uncomfortable being a darker italian american that could be confused for many different races, where as in Holland and the GR surrounding areas I am constantly and subtly reminded that I am not one of them. While it is possible to fit in obviously, make lasting friendships, diverse, and tolerant of other walks of people it is not. Most of my irish, italian, hispanic, german, etc.. friends that have visited there also echo the same sentiments. I think it is hard for folks that have lived there for a long time to see that it is tougher on new people, especially those not bearing the last name of Vandersomething.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:47 AM
 
5 posts, read 11,704 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skchi View Post
We don't have kids yet, but we might in a few years. I'd prefer to be in an area with good schools, but, since we don't have kids now, it's not critical. Aren't there different options for schools, like School of Choice and charter schools?

We'd like to be able to walk to most of the places I mentioned. We really don't want to be forced to drive everywhere.

Regarding low crime - we obviously don't want to live anywhere where people need to have bars on their windows and gangs control the areas. I think that takes out most of the south side, so I've been focusing on the north side. I'd like to be able to walk around outside by myself and not be afraid. Basically, if a neighborhood is generally known to be one of the safer neighborhoods in the city, I'd like to know about it.

I've read alot about Eastown. I'm also interested in Alger Heights. Heritage Hill looks beautiful, but it doesn't look like they have a retail/restaurant area with walking distance.

Do you know much about East Grand Rapids? I'm trying to find out what the property taxes are like.
A lot of Heritage Hill is college apartments for GRCC; and also if you buy into Heritage Hill you have to keep in mind that it's a historical district and if you want to change anything or make improvements to your home - you'll have to get it approved through the Historic Preservation Commission - and if you don't, you'll get charged huge fees and fines for "destroying historical property."

I'm surprised no one's warned you about Alger Heights. My fiance and I looked into buying a house in that area... It isn't a very nice area.

Easttown is more of an arts district - it's just outside of Heritage Hill; while it's nice in some areas there are also a few bad areas... But this can be said about anywhere.

As for "the south side" I live in Grandville and Grandville is a VERY nice community. The stereotype of "the south side" being bad isn't a very good attitude to have if you don't know anything about the area to begin with. In fact, the south side of Grand Rapids (Grandville, Wyoming, Kentwood) hold both of the major malls - Woodland and Rivertown. While Kentwood may not be top of the line, Wyoming has boomed with new homes, restaurants, apartments and more because of the new Hospital off M6. Grandville is also a really nice area, as we've said before - and Grandville schools are blue ribbon (as are a few other schools in the Grand Rapids area) so they're pretty nice.

I'm from South Carolina but I've lived in the Metro Grand Rapids area for several, several years. Unless you're into disturbances with college kids, I'd stay away from Heritage Hill; and if you want to get robbed then move into any area with "heights" in the name. From what I've seen, Alger Heights and Burton Heights aren't that great.

East Grand Rapids is really nice. They've got a nice lake out there and the school system is fantastic. I don't know of too many apartments out there but if you move into that area it is WELL worth the money.

Good luck.

OH. Grand Haven is a really nice area if you're interested in the lake shore. Muskegon is about an hour away but I wouldn't honestly recommend it too much. And Holland is... interesting. Not a bad area, but I've had a few people go nutso on me because I have a music note tattoo on my hand... They're pretty conservative in Holland.

Again, Good Luck. Grand Rapids is a nice area. Much better than Detroit! =]
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:08 PM
 
15 posts, read 35,176 times
Reputation: 15
Question for Suydam.......

Would you say East Grand Rapids welcomes new people into the community? We have heard it is difficult for a new family to fit in......but I just can't believe that's true. We have been researching places to live in West MI and we are hoping to move to EGR next spring. Your thoughts are appreciated.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:53 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahW12 View Post
Question for Suydam.......

Would you say East Grand Rapids welcomes new people into the community? We have heard it is difficult for a new family to fit in......but I just can't believe that's true. We have been researching places to live in West MI and we are hoping to move to EGR next spring. Your thoughts are appreciated.
Neither my wife or myself grew up in West Michigan and we'd never lived anywhere near Grand Rapids prior to moving here 4 years ago.

Since we got here, we've found EGR to be incredibly welcoming. The majority of people we meet fall into 2 categories: Lived here their entire lives (perhaps raised here and moved back to EGR after college) or never lived anywhere near Grand Rapids and just liked EGR during their home search... that's what happened to us.

Our block is comprised of 5 retired couples who have lived here since the 1950s, 2 families with kids in high school, 2 families with kids in middle school, 3 families with kids in elementary school, 2 families with kids in preschool, 2 families with infants not yet in preschool and 1 younger couple without any kids (yet).

Of those groups, the younger people are all transplants from out of the area (4 Chicagos, 1 Detroit, 1 Denver and ourselves also from out of the area). One block over, our friends with young kids are a mix of transplants from out of the area and lifers who grew up here and moved back into town when their careers allowed them to.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 11-24-2008, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Emerald Coast, FL
181 posts, read 547,177 times
Reputation: 129
I'd go with East Grand Rapids. Grandville is nice with good schools, but it's a very mall-oriented area. Not much outdoor walking around. It's the epitome of suburbia. EGR is really walkable and is much more of a town than a suburb. I would give anything to pay 2.5% in property taxes again! I'm at almost 4%!
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Old 12-09-2008, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
27 posts, read 135,855 times
Reputation: 18
I have to echo what others have said about Cherry Hill/East Hills. There's not just college kids here. My neighbors on both sides are families with children who own their homes, and it's so easy to walk to great places (Marie Catrib's!) You're also very close to East Grand Rapids.
It's easy to walk/bike to downtown, and even take the bus. The main library isn't far at all.

I wouldn't call Eastown an arts district. There's bars, coffee houses, restaurants, but not any actual galleries - those are all on Division right south of Fulton. That would be a nice area to live in as well. It's right next to East Hills and East GR, so there's plenty of stuff to easily get to.

I moved here from Chicago too. I do not recommend Grandville, Rockford, Holland, or Grand Haven after moving from Chicago - especially if you like urban areas. It's still a shock to me how small GR really is in comparison. Those places are obviously much smaller and much more like suburbs. Yes, they have downtowns, like Naperville, Evanston, LaGrange, and other Chicago burbs which have little downtown areas.

I've never had a problem with crime. I walk and bike at night all the time to/from downtown, or Eastown.

Where in Chicago do you live now?
I lived in Bridgeport, and the crime rates are massively different (higher in Chicago!) And I never even had any problems with where I lived in Bridgeport.

Definitely come visit and check out this area.
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Old 12-10-2008, 03:05 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
6 posts, read 37,735 times
Reputation: 11
I grew up in Hudsonville and it was a great area to grow up. It has grown quite a bit as has every place else but I still think it's a great area. I lived in downtown for a couple of years as well and really enjoyed my apartment in Heritage Hill. I lived alone but would never walk around at night alone. I currently live in Grandville and it's not so bad. I'm single and I rent but I wouldn't buy a house here. Property taxes are cheaper in Ottawa Co. than they are in Kent Co if you're looking to buy. Personally, I'm looking to relocate to a warmer state. While I've spent my entire life here in West Michigan/Grand Rapids area...I'm not programmed to deal with the weather and the roads when the nasty weather hits. But do pay a visit. Summer here is FABULOUS! I love the beaches and there are so many lakes to check out and are great for fishing.
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