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Old 11-18-2008, 08:22 PM
 
412 posts, read 847,433 times
Reputation: 218

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My husband and I are thinking about moving from the Chicago area to Michigan, because our families are in Michigan. We know that we prefer the west side of Michigan and urban areas, so we're looking at Grand Rapids.

We'd like to live in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood, with things like a library, bookstore, coffee places, grocery store, and restaurants nearby. We'd like to live in a neighborhood where the neighbors know each other and care about the neighborhood. We'd like to avoid bad traffic, crime, and high property taxes.

Do you think Grand Rapids is for me? Do you have any specific neighborhoods to recommend?
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:26 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
Reputation: 3833
Quote:
Originally Posted by skchi View Post
My husband and I are thinking about moving from the Chicago area to Michigan, because our families are in Michigan. We know that we prefer the west side of Michigan and urban areas, so we're looking at Grand Rapids.

We'd like to live in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood, with things like a library, bookstore, coffee places, grocery store, and restaurants nearby. We'd like to live in a neighborhood where the neighbors know each other and care about the neighborhood. We'd like to avoid bad traffic, crime, and high property taxes.

Do you think Grand Rapids is for me? Do you have any specific neighborhoods to recommend?
Do you have kids at home, and are schools important? That will probably make a difference as to recommendations.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:39 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,901 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by skchi View Post
My husband and I are thinking about moving from the Chicago area to Michigan, because our families are in Michigan. We know that we prefer the west side of Michigan and urban areas, so we're looking at Grand Rapids.

We'd like to live in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood, with things like a library, bookstore, coffee places, grocery store, and restaurants nearby. We'd like to live in a neighborhood where the neighbors know each other and care about the neighborhood. We'd like to avoid bad traffic, crime, and high property taxes.

Do you think Grand Rapids is for me? Do you have any specific neighborhoods to recommend?
Define "low crime."
Define "nearby." (are you walking or driving?)

Grand Rapids is a nice area in which to live. We can probably help you figure out some options.
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:07 AM
 
412 posts, read 847,433 times
Reputation: 218
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.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
Reputation: 3833
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.
Property taxes in EGR are about 44 Mills, or 2.2% of your market value/year. City of Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Schools are about 1.5%.

If you don't even have kids yet, I would just throw the whole school issue out the window. You're talking at least 6 - 7 years away before you'll have to make that decision (and as you mentioned there are alternative schools).

If you want to walk to retail, etc., the whole area from I-196 on the North to Wealthy on the South, Lafayette on the West and East Grand Rapids on the East would probably suffice for what you are looking for. Cheshire Village in the Northeast is nice too. Alger Heights would work.
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:15 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,901 times
Reputation: 236
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.
East Grand Rapids meets all your criteria except property taxes.
They're very high... certainly nobody would ever call them "low."
You get what you pay for (great services, great schools, etc) but if you're after low taxes, EGR should be off your list.

One thing to keep in mind about schools. Even if it's 6 or 7 years away, good schools add to your resale value and in today's climate, it's sometimes tough to sell a house. Living somewhere you wouldn't mind being "stuck" if your house won't sell is a good idea.

That said, you asked about schools of choice.... yes, people do that to get out of GRPS. It's a lottery system though, and you're driving your kids to school every day.

I think taxes are lower in Rockford and Grand Haven. They too have great urbanized, walkable neighborhoods with good schools and lower taxes than EGR.

In the end, I'd still say you should check out EGR... as a resident, I'm completely biased, but we love it here and are glad we choose our neighborhood.

Last edited by suydam; 11-19-2008 at 03:06 PM..
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:49 PM
 
447 posts, read 1,122,701 times
Reputation: 226
Holland, my friend. Holland.
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Midwest America
194 posts, read 889,617 times
Reputation: 108
Grand Rapids is awesome! You won't regret moving here. It's extremely affordable, the people are very friendly – it's super easy to make friends here.. There's a pretty good nightlife scene here for a small city. The city seems to be quite well-run and many neighborhoods are really cute.. I'm referring mainly to the neighborhoods immediately surrounding the city center up to East Hills. I would not move to the immediate southeast or southwest. They're quite tacky.. Cherry Hill, heritage Hill, East Hills are nice. I've only lived here for a few months, but I hope to never have to move except to East Grand Rapids which is even nicer.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:22 PM
 
412 posts, read 847,433 times
Reputation: 218
Wow, thanks for all the great recommendations! We'll have to do a lot of research. Since we're living near Chicago now, it's not a big deal to drive over to Grand Rapids to check out the different areas. So, we'll probably be doing that after the holidays.

I'll need to compare the East Grand Rapids property taxes to what we're paying now. I think that our property taxes are high in our current town, but it's especially bad that our city wastes a lot of money.

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?
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:06 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,387 times
Reputation: 10
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?
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