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Old 03-07-2010, 03:59 PM
 
8 posts, read 25,941 times
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Hi, I'll be attending grad school in Grand Rapids this fall, but the majority of it is on-line and occasional weekends. I'm looking for a 1K-100K town within 3 hours of Grand Rapids. I'm in need of great schools and I want a very progressive/liberal town. It's me and two children, one receives special ed services and the other very intellectual, so good schools that meet their needs is important. I don't need employment. I'd love to get into a rental 3 bedroom for under 1K. I've happily lived in Eugene OR, Oakland CA, Fort Collins CO and some small college towns. I'm looking seriously at the Ann Arbor area, but housing is quite pricey. Any other ideas? I don't know if I'll be able to make a trip out before I move, so I may be signing a lease off advise and pictures. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by mom plus three; 03-07-2010 at 04:11 PM..
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:46 PM
 
356 posts, read 933,783 times
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Could you explain what you mean by liberal and progressive?

Does that mean lack of bias towards people of other races and ethnicities?

I'm not picking on you its just that different people mean different things when they say liberal and progressive.
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:05 PM
 
60,450 posts, read 85,521,430 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom plus three View Post
Hi, I'll be attending grad school in Grand Rapids this fall, but the majority of it is on-line and occasional weekends. I'm looking for a 1K-100K town within 3 hours of Grand Rapids. I'm in need of great schools and I want a very progressive/liberal town. It's me and two children, one receives special ed services and the other very intellectual, so good schools that meet their needs is important. I don't need employment. I'd love to get into a rental 3 bedroom for under 1K. I've happily lived in Eugene OR, Oakland CA, Fort Collins CO and some small college towns. I'm looking seriously at the Ann Arbor area, but housing is quite pricey. Any other ideas? I don't know if I'll be able to make a trip out before I move, so I may be signing a lease off advise and pictures. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
East Lansing, Ann Arbor, parts of Kalamazoo....maybe places like:Big Rapids and Mount Pleasant.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:47 AM
 
8 posts, read 25,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyl4rk View Post
Could you explain what you mean by liberal and progressive?

Does that mean lack of bias towards people of other races and ethnicities?

I'm not picking on you its just that different people mean different things when they say liberal and progressive.

Thank you for your reply. Racial and cultural tolerance is important. We are racially mixed; my kids are Black Hispanic. My kids are bi-lingual (Spanish) as well. I want to try to continue to live in communities that don't place a negative light on their Blackness or their Latino heritage.

Ideally I'd love a community that truly is diverse rather than one that thinks -- "We love all races/cultures, but I'm glad we're all white." I don't want my kids to be the token black kid.

I'm not looking for intellectual snobbery, that of which can be as stiffling as the far right, but I am looking for a community that values their libraries and theater more than their shopping centers.

It's a tall order and college towns typically fit the bill, but Grand Rapids I don't think would be right for us.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:29 AM
 
25 posts, read 57,048 times
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Ehh, you might be surprised with GR. Depends on what part of the city though. I haven't lived here long enough to point you in the proper direction, i'll let someone else handle that, but from my experience here it seems to have pretty good race relations and all. I'd check out the east side of GR. I live in an area where I see people of all sorts of different ethnicities and the race relations seem to be pretty solid.
I'm originally from the A2 area and i'd say you'd have pretty good luck there. The satellite towns around there all pretty pasty white but IMO seem to be cooler towns than the towns surrounding the GR area but then again like i said, I don't know this area very well and i'm biased because i'm from Chelsea

Last edited by gunder14; 03-08-2010 at 08:31 AM.. Reason: addition of greatness
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:34 AM
 
25 posts, read 57,048 times
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Looking back on that it looks like i'm trying to be all stuck up about Chelsea, haha, i'm not, just saying i'm biased because that's my hometown and I know the Ann Arbor area a lot better than here
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:24 AM
 
60,450 posts, read 85,521,430 times
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Originally Posted by gunder14 View Post
Ehh, you might be surprised with GR. Depends on what part of the city though. I haven't lived here long enough to point you in the proper direction, i'll let someone else handle that, but from my experience here it seems to have pretty good race relations and all. I'd check out the east side of GR. I live in an area where I see people of all sorts of different ethnicities and the race relations seem to be pretty solid.
I'm originally from the A2 area and i'd say you'd have pretty good luck there. The satellite towns around there all pretty pasty white but IMO seem to be cooler towns than the towns surrounding the GR area but then again like i said, I don't know this area very well and i'm biased because i'm from Chelsea
I agree and I would also look at Kentwood and some parts of Wyoming in terms of the suburbs. I say those two due to being more diverse than the other suburbs in the area.

Actually, Wyoming has relatively good sized Black and Hispanic/Latino populations too. If you go with Wyoming, look maybe in the Kelloggsville or Wyoming school districts. There's Godfrey-Lee and Godwin Heights SD's too, but the other two are better academically and all of them have good sized Black and Hispanic populations.

Kentwood has a better school district than those in Wyoming, generally speaking and the district has a Black student population of 31% and Hispanic/Latino percentage of 9%. So, obviously there is a presence of both groups in a good school district academically. It has a big high school too.

This should help you figure out possibly where you would want to live and you don't have to leave the immediate GR area to find what you are looking for.

Michigan schools - MI elementary, middle and high school information

Comstock Park might be another school district to consider in terms of diversity and school quality. Maybe even Northview as well.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:30 PM
 
356 posts, read 933,783 times
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Grand Rapids would be my first recommendation.
Some neighborhoods:
Downtown
The Hill
Stocking Ave
SE side, Wealthy, Cherry, Lake Dr
Diamond N of 196
Near EGR
There are many more neighborhoods, these are just a few that I know. Some of these are more adventurous than others.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:27 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,467 times
Reputation: 236
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom plus three View Post
Hi, I'll be attending grad school in Grand Rapids this fall, but the majority of it is on-line and occasional weekends. I'm looking for a 1K-100K town within 3 hours of Grand Rapids. I'm in need of great schools and I want a very progressive/liberal town. It's me and two children, one receives special ed services and the other very intellectual, so good schools that meet their needs is important. I don't need employment. I'd love to get into a rental 3 bedroom for under 1K. I've happily lived in Eugene OR, Oakland CA, Fort Collins CO and some small college towns. I'm looking seriously at the Ann Arbor area, but housing is quite pricey. Any other ideas? I don't know if I'll be able to make a trip out before I move, so I may be signing a lease off advise and pictures. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
Ann Arbor is the best match for what you're describing if you really don't mind being 3 hours from GR. The city school district is fantastic, the town is the most liberal and progressive in Michigan. As you note, it's expensive. I suppose you get what you pay for.

Now, for me personally, if I'm going to school in GR, I'd move to GR. If you live in the city, there are neighborhoods (East Hills, Eastown, Heritage Hill) that give you what you're after except for great schools (by most measures... I may get flamed for saying this, but you brought it up).

To solve the school problem, you either have to be vigilant and get your kids into some of the good programs in GRPS like City High School (read about it when you get here) or you have to use "Schools of Choice" (SoC) to send you kids to the suburbs. There are fantastic schools in the inner ring around Grand Rapids and a quick tour after you arrived would give you a sense where you'd be most comfortable. Then you apply and it's a lottery. Some districts tend to have perpetual space though. People have mentioned Kentwood for example.

The best schools in the area by most measures are Forest Hills (not quite "inner ring"...further out) and East Grand Rapids (inner ring, but small and not always accepting SoC students). EGR is also less diverse than Kentwood which is the other place I'd look.

At the end of the day, with school in GR, I think you'd be happiest in GR. That's just my opinion though.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:57 AM
 
47,531 posts, read 62,171,166 times
Reputation: 22306
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom plus three View Post
Thank you for your reply. Racial and cultural tolerance is important. We are racially mixed; my kids are Black Hispanic. My kids are bi-lingual (Spanish) as well. I want to try to continue to live in communities that don't place a negative light on their Blackness or their Latino heritage.

Ideally I'd love a community that truly is diverse rather than one that thinks -- "We love all races/cultures, but I'm glad we're all white." I don't want my kids to be the token black kid.

I'm not looking for intellectual snobbery, that of which can be as stiffling as the far right, but I am looking for a community that values their libraries and theater more than their shopping centers.

It's a tall order and college towns typically fit the bill, but Grand Rapids I don't think would be right for us.
I don't think Grand Rapids would be right either because it's obvious that you've already prejudged the people there.

Detroit is a very liberal city and might be more to your liking.
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