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Old 09-15-2013, 02:58 PM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
7 posts, read 10,658 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi everybody!

We're currently living in St. Petersburg, FL, outside Tampa, down from NJ and Ohio. But the husband has found that here, because of the extensive retirement community, he's not being paid even 2/3rds of what he made up north due to the fact that so many retirees will work for no benefits and less pay to offset pensions and SS. We don't even have benefits because 60%+ of businesses just don't provide them.

So we're back to looking at Texas. We've been back and forth since 2003 when we fell in love with Austin and the Texans throughout the state while on vacation there. However, common sense tells us that Houston is a much better place for jobs, and since we're used to the humidity and heat, don't feel it's a far stretch from living here 1/2 mile from the gulf. Plus, we love the water, so it's a no brainer for us in that department.

My only issue is that I'm desperately looking for a sense of community. Where I grew up in Ohio, I was in a township of 70,000 and our two main drags were a 2 mile long plaza or full of malls and car dealerships. In NJ, my husband grew up in a tiny town that was quaint and full of community, but then together we lived in north Jersey, in a mountain township of 40,000 people with people spread far and wide across farmlands and ski slopes.

Here in Florida, there is no sense of community either. You go street to street, from ghettos to million dollar homes in the course of a few blocks. Most folks are transient, spending half a year up north and half year here. Most of the folks are retirement age and refuse to get close to people our age (40's).

So please help me! Let me know of places to look around the Houston area where there are neighborhoods that still value community, like Christmas tree lightings and Fourth of July parades. Places where people sit on benches (when it's not steamy outside) outside of stores, talking about the weather or the local football teams. Where there are still restaurants where waitresses remember your name and where your postal person actually waves and says, "Hello", when you are at the box to get your mail. I really need to feel like I belong and I know you guys will be able to tell me where we can! Thank you!
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:12 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,429 posts, read 14,837,799 times
Reputation: 3672
In our area, Pecan Grove is that way, I hear.

I'm sure there are other areas around Houston like this too, but I'm not as familiar with them now that I've been out in Fort Bend County for several years.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:39 PM
 
1,915 posts, read 3,237,629 times
Reputation: 1588
Houston definitely has the jobs. I would say Houston is a lot like Florida in many ways with the good, the bad, and the ugly, but slightly better almost across the board, a lot better in jobs (for professionals or skilled/experienced), and worse Gulf water quality.
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX (Bellaire)
4,900 posts, read 13,731,452 times
Reputation: 4190
Although Houston has a good job market I wouldn't recommend moving here without a job lines up first. What kind of price range are you looking at for homes? I can think of a few neighborhoods that meet your description but no sense to get into it if you can't afford them.
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:22 AM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
7 posts, read 10,658 times
Reputation: 15
Chris - he'll be looking for jobs first. I'd like to find the neighborhoods we like before him sending out resumes so he can find something closer to those areas.

He's a Director of Operations, with an electrical engineering background, so hopefully he can find something fairly good there. We'd be looking for houses for about $125-150K, not too big. It's only the two of us, kid is grown and on his own, so 1600 sq feet or so. We'd like to keep the home cost down so we can travel and enjoy life with big boy toys...Which is why I'm interested in the historic, small town areas, because it's not necessary for us to live on a big spread in a subdivision. Enough room in the back for a pool and hot tub is all we require.
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Old 09-16-2013, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Westchase
785 posts, read 1,234,345 times
Reputation: 779
I'd say look into the Woodlands or Friendswood.

The Woodlands has a more affluent, "big-city, small-town" feel because they now have a walkable, mixed-use town center district and never really have to leave much for Houston, which means they tend to stick together and run into each other a lot.

Friendswood has a sleepier, more rural vibe to it, but it's an old community that's been largely untouched by the big city (even though they've grown by leaps and bounds along with the rest of us) and they still hold a lot of community events together.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:05 AM
 
Location: League City
3,842 posts, read 8,266,130 times
Reputation: 5364
Quote:
Originally Posted by TammieJ View Post
Hi everybody!

.....

So please help me! Let me know of places to look around the Houston area where there are neighborhoods that still value community, like Christmas tree lightings and Fourth of July parades. Places where people sit on benches (when it's not steamy outside) outside of stores, talking about the weather or the local football teams. Where there are still restaurants where waitresses remember your name and where your postal person actually waves and says, "Hello", when you are at the box to get your mail. I really need to feel like I belong and I know you guys will be able to tell me where we can! Thank you!
I grew up in a town that had 30,000 people that used to have a good deal of civic pride, and it was type of place where people sat on benches etc... I know what you are talking about because it is kind of a hobby of mine to search for small towns that still have that. You may find -some- of what you seek in the Houston area, but my experience is that is mostly something you find in smaller more rural towns. Especially the small towns in the Hill Country (near Austin). Actually I would move to one of those towns in a heartbeat if I could figure out the work thing. Right now I live in a town with about 80,000 people near Houston. It is a great place, and I am in a great neighborhood with one of the best school districts in the state. The town has lots of civic pride and it has great holiday events. But a lot of the folks here are transient in nature and just waiting for another opportunity to move to a higher paying job (like the folks who previously owned our current house). To me it is harder to completely 'belong' in a place like that. Yes Houston has a lot of opportunity, but if I am reading you right, I suspect it will be challenging to find all that you seek if you stay in the city. Now immediately outside of Houston, I would recommend Brenham or Bellville as places that meet those criteria.

I don't get that 'feel' in the areas around Houston that have the town centers. I DO like the town centers, just don't get that true small town sense. Although as mentioned earlier, Friendswood does have a small town feel, and is the closest thing I have found while still within the metro.
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Old 09-16-2013, 01:37 PM
 
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
7 posts, read 10,658 times
Reputation: 15
Ok, so Pecan Grove, Friendswood, the Woodlands, Brenham and Bellville.

Any one else have some suggestions?

P.S. Daniel, we've been all over Austin looking and loved the vibe in Leander, but there just aren't enough jobs there. We used to work for BAE, and were in to move to Austin, but then they basically laid everyone off, and with Dell and 3M doing their re-orgs, I have a feeling the job situation is going to go downhill over that way fairly soon, if it hasn't already.
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:02 PM
 
1,483 posts, read 1,724,888 times
Reputation: 2513
I grew up in Michigan. We may disagree on college football, but not on the sunbelt. I've found the same lack of community since I've moved here a year ago and it is everywhere. I look carefully at all possible living options in the Houston metro and I can't yet find a single place that really feels like a regular community. The people here are very nice and friendly, maybe even more outwardly friendly than midwesterners, but there is just very little sense of community. If you are looking for that sense of community in Texas you might be better off looking at Austin, New Braunfels or San Marcos. Those are the areas that seem to be the most community-minded in this state.
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,029 posts, read 30,914,224 times
Reputation: 16265
Sounds like you really want a smaller town.
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