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Old 12-01-2008, 06:38 AM
 
21 posts, read 64,312 times
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My husband is considering a job in the medical field in Grand Rapids. We currently live in Birmingham, Michigan and have been here for 9 years. Are there any others who have moved to GR from this area? My two boys attend the awesome public schools here and I love the character of the homes and neighborhoods in this part of Oakland county. I am not big on new construction since it doesn't have the character I love. Which areas if any compare to Birmingham/Bloomfield? I would like good schools - public or private - nice neighborhoods and maybe a country club near by.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momtwoboys View Post
My husband is considering a job in the medical field in Grand Rapids. We currently live in Birmingham, Michigan and have been here for 9 years. Are there any others who have moved to GR from this area? My two boys attend the awesome public schools here and I love the character of the homes and neighborhoods in this part of Oakland county. I am not big on new construction since it doesn't have the character I love. Which areas if any compare to Birmingham/Bloomfield? I would like good schools - public or private - nice neighborhoods and maybe a country club near by.
I'm not a Detroit area transplant (I am a non GR native), but I've spent quite a bit of time in Birmingham and the closest thing to it here in Grand Rapids is East Grand Rapids. I think you'll love it.

Here's a good photo set of the area around Gaslight Village and Reeds Lake:

Flickr: Search cmu chem prof's photostream (http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%22east%20grand%20rapids%22&w=63447395%40N00 - broken link)

A lot of the homes and neighborhoods have that colonial (John Hughes' movies) look to them.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3182/...37fe25e751.jpg

Safe, walkable, friendly, great schools, and only about 15 minutes from downtown and the medical campuses. Spectrum Health even has one of its hospitals (Blodgett) right in EGR.

Plus, you're going to run into a lot of Eastsiders here in Grand Rapids. In our neighborhood alone, you'd think they were shipping Detroiters over by the truckload.

Last edited by magellan; 12-01-2008 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:53 AM
 
21 posts, read 64,312 times
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Thank you for the info. The pictures look exactly like what I want. Is East Grand Rapids a suburb or a part of the city? What zip code do they use? I tried to look up houses for sale and found some under zip code 49506. When I did an inquiry on the Michigan sex offender webiste for that zip three pages of offenders came up. That scares me. My current zip has only 5 people listed and covers a pretty big area. Is there a a certain dividing street or area I should avoid?
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:21 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momtwoboys View Post
Thank you for the info. The pictures look exactly like what I want. Is East Grand Rapids a suburb or a part of the city? What zip code do they use? I tried to look up houses for sale and found some under zip code 49506. When I did an inquiry on the Michigan sex offender webiste for that zip three pages of offenders came up. That scares me. My current zip has only 5 people listed and covers a pretty big area. Is there a a certain dividing street or area I should avoid?
I grew up near B'ham in West Bloomfield but live in East Grand Rapids now. I have neighbors from Grosse Pointe, Birmingham and Farmington Hills right now. I think you'd find many transplants from "home" in this area.

To your questions, East Grand Rapids is most definitely the "Birmingham" of metro-Grand Rapids.

Like Birmingham, East G.R. is its own city.
Unlike B'ham, East G.R. sits directly adjacent to the urban center of the metro area, Grand Rapids. So maybe East G.R. is a little more like Grosse Pointe in that regard (proximity to the regional hub).

At any rate, the zip is 49506 for the entirety of East Grand Rapids... but that zip-code ALSO includes a big chunk of Grand Rapids proper which is where you're finding sex offenders on your search. In fact, if you search by city (East Grand Rapids) you'll see that there are no sex offenders living in town. Anecdotally, I don't think the topic of sex offenders has ever come up in conversation with other families in the 4 years we've lived in EGR.

Much like Birmingham, East G.R. is a city that is as well known for its school district as it is for its city. There are a few streets northwest of town that are in Grand Rapids Township but EGR public schools. The area is very small (unlike say the parts of West Bloomfield Township that are also Birmingham schools).

When you want to find houses, I would recommend you use GRAR.com's search tool. It allows you to search for homes in a specific school district and is a much more complete listing of homes in the area than realtor.com. Just use their search tool and select "East Grand Rapids" from the school district list to see a complete list of homes for sale within that school district. You will find plenty of options. Realtor.com is all well and good, but I've found that it occasionally lists stuff as "East grand rapids" when it isn't and "Grand Rapids" when it's really East Grand Rapids. Because the zip-code isn't exclusive to one town or the other, it's hard to tell without knowing the area. By searching based on school district you should be ok.

You can also download a city map from the East GR website which shows every street (it's a small little town). Using that map, dotted lines are Grand Rapids townships streets that are within EGR Public Schools. Everything else on that map is City of East Grand Rapids (which by definition is also EGR Public Schools). Comparing that to an area map should give you a sense of where you're living in the grand scheme of things.

Finally, you asked about streets to avoid. I don't think there are any, to tell the truth. There are homes in nearly every price range, so you will find yourself in the area that appeals to your pocket book... but from a safety standpoint I'm not aware of any major issues.

Major differences that you'll find between Birmingham and EGR:
  1. Birmingham's downtown is MUCH larger
  2. The center of EGR is a lake more than the town
  3. There are no school buses. Your kids must walk or bike to school, even in the winter.
  4. East GR is smaller in geographic size than Birmingham. Our one high school has fewer than 1,000 kids whereas B'ham as 2 schools that size.

Most other things are similar though. There are lots of transplants in EGR. The schools are a matter of community pride (right now you'll be hearing about their football state championship, but you're just as likely to hear about the "We the People" constitutional law club's placements at nationals as you are about sports). The town is accused of being snobbish and arrogant (like B'ham) but most people you'll meet will be very friendly and open (like anywhere else). Lots are smaller than township living. Taxes are higher than township living. Really it's a very similar lifestyle.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a direct message.

Last edited by suydam; 12-01-2008 at 12:31 PM..
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:00 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suydam View Post
I grew up near B'ham in West Bloomfield but live in East Grand Rapids now. I have neighbors from Grosse Pointe, Birmingham and Farmington Hills right now. I think you'd find many transplants from "home" in this area.

To your questions, East Grand Rapids is most definitely the "Birmingham" of metro-Grand Rapids.

Like Birmingham, East G.R. is its own city.
Unlike B'ham, East G.R. sits directly adjacent to the urban center of the metro area, Grand Rapids. So maybe East G.R. is a little more like Grosse Pointe in that regard (proximity to the regional hub).

At any rate, the zip is 49506 for the entirety of East Grand Rapids... but that zip-code ALSO includes a big chunk of Grand Rapids proper which is where you're finding sex offenders on your search. In fact, if you search by city (East Grand Rapids) you'll see that there are no sex offenders living in town. Anecdotally, I don't think the topic of sex offenders has ever come up in conversation with other families in the 4 years we've lived in EGR.

Much like Birmingham, East G.R. is a city that is as well known for its school district as it is for its city. There are a few streets northwest of town that are in Grand Rapids Township but EGR public schools. The area is very small (unlike say the parts of West Bloomfield Township that are also Birmingham schools).

When you want to find houses, I would recommend you use GRAR.com's search tool. It allows you to search for homes in a specific school district and is a much more complete listing of homes in the area than realtor.com. Just use their search tool and select "East Grand Rapids" from the school district list to see a complete list of homes for sale within that school district. You will find plenty of options. Realtor.com is all well and good, but I've found that it occasionally lists stuff as "East grand rapids" when it isn't and "Grand Rapids" when it's really East Grand Rapids. Because the zip-code isn't exclusive to one town or the other, it's hard to tell without knowing the area. By searching based on school district you should be ok.

You can also download a city map from the East GR website which shows every street (it's a small little town). Using that map, dotted lines are Grand Rapids townships streets that are within EGR Public Schools. Everything else on that map is City of East Grand Rapids (which by definition is also EGR Public Schools). Comparing that to an area map should give you a sense of where you're living in the grand scheme of things.

Finally, you asked about streets to avoid. I don't think there are any, to tell the truth. There are homes in nearly every price range, so you will find yourself in the area that appeals to your pocket book... but from a safety standpoint I'm not aware of any major issues.

Major differences that you'll find between Birmingham and EGR:
  1. Birmingham's downtown is MUCH larger
  2. The center of EGR is a lake more than the town
  3. There are no school buses. Your kids must walk or bike to school, even in the winter.
  4. East GR is smaller in geographic size than Birmingham. Our one high school has fewer than 1,000 kids whereas B'ham as 2 schools that size.

Most other things are similar though. There are lots of transplants in EGR. The schools are a matter of community pride (right now you'll be hearing about their football state championship, but you're just as likely to hear about the "We the People" constitutional law club's placements at nationals as you are about sports). The town is accused of being snobbish and arrogant (like B'ham) but most people you'll meet will be very friendly and open (like anywhere else). Lots are smaller than township living. Taxes are higher than township living. Really it's a very similar lifestyle.

If you have any other questions, feel free to shoot me a direct message.
Suydam knows the area probably better than anyone. I would also add that there are a lot of medical professionals in EGR. Most likely due to it being the closest upscale community (other than Heritage Hill) to downtown Grand Rapids.

Didn't know that about the buses Suydam. Learn something new every day. With all the sidewalks and walking paths, I'd think that every school is within an easy walk/bike trip from most of the homes.

The other thing you won't find in EGR is upscale retail like you do in downtown Birmingham. Actually, you won't find much upscale retail anywhere in GR (yet). You'll have to go to Chicago like everyone else does around here.
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:51 AM
 
21 posts, read 64,312 times
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Wow, thanks so much for the info Magellan and Suydam. I can tell you both really understand where I'm coming from. I know there are both bad and good people everywhere. For me, having lived in this big metropolitan area my entire life, I understand the demographics and know exactly where to be and where to avoid. I know quite a few people who came to this area depending on realtors to guide them and really being disappointed in where they live. I feel like I have some good information from you now so when we spend the weekend looking around we won't be wasting time in areas we are not interested in. Thanks again.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:48 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,179 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
The other thing you won't find in EGR is upscale retail like you do in downtown Birmingham. Actually, you won't find much upscale retail anywhere in GR (yet). You'll have to go to Chicago like everyone else does around here.
Good point. I actually drive to Birmingham and Somerset mall to do some of my Christmas shopping. It's easier than Chicago and closer too.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:46 PM
 
21 posts, read 64,312 times
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Don't wait too long - great sales with bargain basement prices at both Saks and Neiman Marcus going on right now. Have fun.
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Old 12-02-2008, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suydam View Post
Good point. I actually drive to Birmingham and Somerset mall to do some of my Christmas shopping. It's easier than Chicago and closer too.
A lot cheaper too, I imagine. Can't beat that Chicago experience though. Better than Big Beaver any day.

My wife has a chance to go on a bus trip to Chicago this Saturday, for free. Hmm, wonder if she'll go?
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Old 12-02-2008, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
328 posts, read 1,281,708 times
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Default Definitely Cheaper!

Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
A lot cheaper too, I imagine. Can't beat that Chicago experience though. Better than Big Beaver any day.

My wife has a chance to go on a bus trip to Chicago this Saturday, for free. Hmm, wonder if she'll go?
I would take Somerset over Chicago anyday, and I live in Chicago!

Chicago's City Sales Tax is 10.25%, the highest in the country! So whenever I have a rental car and go home, I get stuff at Costco/Target/Mall and Savor the sweet 6% sales Tax of Michigan.
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