U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Michigan > Grand Rapids metro area
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-05-2010, 04:04 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
428 posts, read 718,657 times
Reputation: 123

Advertisements

Hey! We are looking at a rental in Grand Rapids that appears to be nice and in our modest price range.

It is located just north of 196, just east of Highland Park, and just south of Bethany Christian.

Is this a good area? I know just south of there the "East Town/Hills" ect. area is nice for young urbans, and my wife and I love that. But we have 3 young kids so we have to think about schools and safety and don't know about either in this particular area. And we know that neighborhoods can quickly change, especially on the other side of a freeway.

Also, while I'm at it, I've discovered in my browsing through these threads that most people say to stay "north of Wealthy", yet others have said there are fine areas down there. We've seen some pretty cool houses south of Wealthy and west of East G.R...but how are schools and safety there? Is it spotty? If so are there some general guidelines?

Before anyone suggests it we can't afford Forest Hills or E.G.R...if so that would be where we go.

Thanks in advance for your help! Have lived in Michigan for 3.5 years now but only know Metro Detroit...

P.S. I've Google Map'd the house and the neighborhood looks pretty cute...???? Is that any indicator?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-05-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,231 posts, read 16,828,129 times
Reputation: 8880
My parents owned their first house in the Highland Park area way back when, still go to church at St. Al's, and I've also had assorted relatives also live over there over the years. It's generally safe, though I wouldn't go through the far fringes of the park at night because there are corners of it that are pretty dark and isolated. (AFAIK, it's still safe enough to bring small kids there during the day) Schools are the usual GRPS mediocre, or wherever you can schools of choice into. The elementary school you're zoned for is probably somewhat decent, but I wouldn't send a kid to Creston High these days.

The best schools in GRPS tend to be the ones on the fringes of town. If you don't mind more suburban-looking neighborhoods, the far West Side west of Walker Road and Mount Mercy/Union High School is one of the safest places both in the city limits and in Kent County, and the elementary schools there (Covell, Shawmut Hills, and CA Frost) are still in reasonably good shape.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
428 posts, read 718,657 times
Reputation: 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
My parents owned their first house in the Highland Park area way back when, still go to church at St. Al's, and I've also had assorted relatives also live over there over the years. It's generally safe, though I wouldn't go through the far fringes of the park at night because there are corners of it that are pretty dark and isolated. (AFAIK, it's still safe enough to bring small kids there during the day) Schools are the usual GRPS mediocre, or wherever you can schools of choice into. The elementary school you're zoned for is probably somewhat decent, but I wouldn't send a kid to Creston High these days.

The best schools in GRPS tend to be the ones on the fringes of town. If you don't mind more suburban-looking neighborhoods, the far West Side west of Walker Road and Mount Mercy/Union High School is one of the safest places both in the city limits and in Kent County, and the elementary schools there (Covell, Shawmut Hills, and CA Frost) are still in reasonably good shape.
Thanks beachmouse! Totally appreciate the input. So basically, if the kids are the first priority, which they are, then we shouldn't be looking in the urban core of G.R....???
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,231 posts, read 16,828,129 times
Reputation: 8880
I'm out of the loop which core area GRPS elementary schools are good and which ones are unacceptable, plus they've redrawn and consolidated a bunch of schools in recent years. At this point, GRPS is so poorly managed that I don't think they could tell you where the better schools in the district are.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 02:14 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,467 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by daddythreepointoh View Post
Thanks beachmouse! Totally appreciate the input. So basically, if the kids are the first priority, which they are, then we shouldn't be looking in the urban core of G.R....???
That is what you will find from most people.
I don't send my kids there, so I'm not going to comment on the quality of GRPS.

The public opinion of the district in the greater Grand Rapids metro area is that GRPS is not a place to voluntarily send your kids.

The truth is, many people will come out and tell you that the general public opinion is wrong. For example, City High, within GRPS, is the 2nd rated public high school in all of michigan according to the latest USNews rankings.

You can always live within the city and do schools-of-choice, or find other families sending their kids to GRPS and just link up.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,231 posts, read 16,828,129 times
Reputation: 8880
My parents were lifer teachers for GRPS at the secondary level, and Dad was defending the quality of education a motivated student could get at Union HS deep into the 90s, but two of the last three superintendents have been more interested in divying up administrative jobs among racial lines and getting their resumes ready for their next job at a bigger, better paying district instead of actually maintaining or improving the quality of education for students, and it's become a real mess. (Oh the stories Mom could probably tell from her time as a math curriculum director when her office was on the central campus....)

There are still some individual good elementary schools, and if you can pull off admission to the Zoo School or Blandford School for their sixth grade only programs, they really are unique and awesome programs for your kid. But unless your kid gets into selective admission City Middle/High School, the secondary situation in the district has seriously deteriorated, and you're best off going elsewhere for those years.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 05:36 PM
 
20 posts, read 97,745 times
Reputation: 14
Does it bother anybody that you can choose what PUBLIC school you can go to...?You should go to the district you live in, and if mom or dad doesn't like teacher or coach, just move! I think that is half the reason why GRPS is in such a mess. many parents and "room moms" moved there kids out. Why stay in that area? It's all left with one parent households and who have no other choice. Charter schools ruined us all. A school for profit... its so American!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-06-2010, 07:49 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,467 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeLunchBox11 View Post
Does it bother anybody that you can choose what PUBLIC school you can go to...?You should go to the district you live in, and if mom or dad doesn't like teacher or coach, just move! I think that is half the reason why GRPS is in such a mess. many parents and "room moms" moved there kids out. Why stay in that area? It's all left with one parent households and who have no other choice. Charter schools ruined us all. A school for profit... its so American!
I would guess many more famlies "left" GRPS through Schools of Choice than Charters. I don't have data, but SoC is a pretty big driver of families into suburban districts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2010, 09:42 AM
 
484 posts, read 1,105,996 times
Reputation: 439
Highland Park is a safe neighborhood with many long time residents, particularly around the former Eastern elementary. You should note however that the school closed last year and is currently vacant. I recently lived in the neighborhood and now live in the adjacent neighborhood to the south of Highland Park, Midtown, which is statistically the safest neighborhood in the city and full of younger, urban professional/hipster homeowners.

Both HP and Midtown are convenient to downtown and the expressways. This is especially nice because I can be at any of the major shopping areas (Alpine/28th Street/Rivertown) in 10-15 minutes via expressway. Getting to the zoo takes all of 5 minutes down I-196 and a trip to see the Whitecaps takes all of 10 minutes from my door to the parking lot. The only thing we don't have convenient is a grocery store.

As for schools, it really doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in as it once did. There are so many special programs and choice options that you can apply for that will enable you to send your kid to the better GRPS schools. The only elementary schools I'd stay away from are Gerald Ford, MLK, Chezar Chavez, and Hall.

Here's a little secret that many people don't understand about GRPS (I graduated from and worked with the district): if you, as the parent, are a little proactive, you can get your kid into just about any school in the district (the exception being City High, where almost all of the parents are well versed in this secret). If I were a parent, I'd send my kids to GR Montessori. Like City High, it ranks as one of the better programs regionally and is just down the street from Highland Park (next to Central High on College).

Apply and if the district first denies, go down to the office and tell them you are taking your kids out of the district. They will hem and haw but find a spot for your kid after "re-evaluating" the situation. GRPS is not about losing anymore kids and will accommodate your request to keep you in the district. The reason being, from the district's viewpoint, is that if you have the wherewithall to go down and demand things, you likely have the ability to take your kids elsewhere. For sixth grade, I'd get my kid into either Zoo School or the Blandford program, both of which are feeders to City High. If you follow this path, your kids should be able to walk into City High as this is the path that almost all students take (those that don't come from private schools).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-07-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
428 posts, read 718,657 times
Reputation: 123
Thumbs up Muchos gracias!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by enigmaingr View Post
Highland Park is a safe neighborhood with many long time residents, particularly around the former Eastern elementary. You should note however that the school closed last year and is currently vacant. I recently lived in the neighborhood and now live in the adjacent neighborhood to the south of Highland Park, Midtown, which is statistically the safest neighborhood in the city and full of younger, urban professional/hipster homeowners.

Both HP and Midtown are convenient to downtown and the expressways. This is especially nice because I can be at any of the major shopping areas (Alpine/28th Street/Rivertown) in 10-15 minutes via expressway. Getting to the zoo takes all of 5 minutes down I-196 and a trip to see the Whitecaps takes all of 10 minutes from my door to the parking lot. The only thing we don't have convenient is a grocery store.

As for schools, it really doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in as it once did. There are so many special programs and choice options that you can apply for that will enable you to send your kid to the better GRPS schools. The only elementary schools I'd stay away from are Gerald Ford, MLK, Chezar Chavez, and Hall.

Here's a little secret that many people don't understand about GRPS (I graduated from and worked with the district): if you, as the parent, are a little proactive, you can get your kid into just about any school in the district (the exception being City High, where almost all of the parents are well versed in this secret). If I were a parent, I'd send my kids to GR Montessori. Like City High, it ranks as one of the better programs regionally and is just down the street from Highland Park (next to Central High on College).

Apply and if the district first denies, go down to the office and tell them you are taking your kids out of the district. They will hem and haw but find a spot for your kid after "re-evaluating" the situation. GRPS is not about losing anymore kids and will accommodate your request to keep you in the district. The reason being, from the district's viewpoint, is that if you have the wherewithall to go down and demand things, you likely have the ability to take your kids elsewhere. For sixth grade, I'd get my kid into either Zoo School or the Blandford program, both of which are feeders to City High. If you follow this path, your kids should be able to walk into City High as this is the path that almost all students take (those that don't come from private schools).
Thank you SO MUCH for this post, and thanks to everyone else too! Very helpful.

My oldest is currently in 1st grade, my middle in pre-school, and my youngest is 3. So knowing about safety and the better schools and how to get into them is just perfect.

Anyone have info on the neighborhoods south of Wealthy? We saw some good places just west of EGR...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Michigan > Grand Rapids metro area
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top