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Old 08-19-2013, 02:53 PM
 
385 posts, read 458,028 times
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I'm house hunting right now, and I've checked out several houses in the Iona/Lincoln areas, built between 2006-2013. They're nice, but a lot of them seem cookie cutter. I hadn't even considered checking out houses near downtown -- mainly because so much of downtown seems run down, vacant, and depressing.

In my daily online hunting, I've come across a few really promising houses off 13th and 14th. Obviously you're going to sacrifice having a yard (most I've seen are in the 0.1 to 0.25 acre size range), but there's something to be said about being that close to the bars/restaurants and to the greenbelt.

A few questions: what are your thoughts about the numbered streets? is it a safe area? some of the houses seem run down and the yards are horrible, but then their neighbor's house is clean and updated with a nicely manicured lawn. why the inconsistency? what are you hearing about revitalization of the downtown area? will there be more bars/restaurants in the next few years? I'm a bachelor in my early-30s and I'm looking for a social scene and I'm not sure I'll find it if I live in a cookie-cutter community on the outskirts of town.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:25 PM
 
3,970 posts, read 12,701,101 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmp4 View Post
I'm house hunting right now, and I've checked out several houses in the Iona/Lincoln areas, built between 2006-2013. They're nice, but a lot of them seem cookie cutter. I hadn't even considered checking out houses near downtown -- mainly because so much of downtown seems run down, vacant, and depressing.

In my daily online hunting, I've come across a few really promising houses off 13th and 14th. Obviously you're going to sacrifice having a yard (most I've seen are in the 0.1 to 0.25 acre size range), but there's something to be said about being that close to the bars/restaurants and to the greenbelt.

A few questions: what are your thoughts about the numbered streets? is it a safe area? some of the houses seem run down and the yards are horrible, but then their neighbor's house is clean and updated with a nicely manicured lawn. why the inconsistency? what are you hearing about revitalization of the downtown area? will there be more bars/restaurants in the next few years? I'm a bachelor in my early-30s and I'm looking for a social scene and I'm not sure I'll find it if I live in a cookie-cutter community on the outskirts of town.

Thanks in advance!
As for a lot of new bar/restaurants downtown in the next few years, no. Residential needs to lead, then those will follow. So far, residential is not a realistic expectation downtown, though there are some small efforts to increase this.

The numbered streets are interesting, in that this was the whole town up to about 1950. I think the variety you see is simply a mix of long standing residents who care about their property combined with those who have moved in with less assets taking advantage of low prices during the recession.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:52 AM
 
8,440 posts, read 12,235,453 times
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Originally Posted by pw72 View Post
As for a lot of new bar/restaurants downtown in the next few years, no. Residential needs to lead, then those will follow. So far, residential is not a realistic expectation downtown, though there are some small efforts to increase this.

The numbered streets are interesting, in that this was the whole town up to about 1950. I think the variety you see is simply a mix of long standing residents who care about their property combined with those who have moved in with less assets taking advantage of low prices during the recession.
Hi temp4,


I can see how Iona may not be ideal for you unless you have horses. I know you checked the Visitors Center ar SRL. I'd call them and ask what their residential plans are. They originally were going to put lofts or condos in SRL. They clearly changed their minds and started with other houses first.

Downtown does have a few lofts/apartments. They seem to go fast.

The numbered streets you mentioned are fine. I think there are different reasons different properties could look great or run down in those streets ranging from age of neighbors to lack of ordinances for years and how they are encorced.

if you like carpentry or gardening etc. a house in that area could probably yield you a profit if you wanted to work on it in your
spare time.

I don't know if you've made friends at any local watering holes or coffee shops. If so, ask them where they live or would recommend.

Have you looked in Skyline or west of the river.? Or condos on Woodruff between 17th - and about 12th? There are some apts. Or Condos that are for professional s. I guess there is always Craigslist. .........

Keep us informed of how your search is going.

MSR
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Old 08-20-2013, 02:20 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
27,006 posts, read 18,276,801 times
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I've always lived on the numbered streets.
8th, 10th, 19th, 18th, Walnut, 11th. My oldest home was built in 1906, and my newest in 1960.

They are all a real mix of very nice, well built homes right next to lesser quality houses. This was due in large part to how Idaho Falls developed. Some of the oldest homes on the numbered streets were built very early, when the streets were platted but had no development at all, and the growth was in fits and starts. Many were surrounded by farmland at first as the city slowly and steadily grew.

During the 20's and 30's, commercial contractors started buying up half-blocks for the first time and building several homes at once. Then after WWII, they began buying entire blocks, but purchasing a big tract of land and building entire subdivisions didn't really start happening until the 50's.

As a result, the numbered streets have a wide variety of home styles and construction. As often as not, a home buyer chose the house style and the contractor built it, whether it was the same style as the house next door or not.

My present home (on a numbered street) is almost 10 years older than the one next door, which remained a vacant lot for all that time. This was the way it was for about 40 years. These days, new houses are beginning to replace demolished older homes. The former grounds of the old Parkview (or earlier, the Sacred Heart) hospital were all sold as house lots after it was demolished.
More commonly, many of the homes have been remodeled, upgraded, and otherwise improved over the years while others haven't really been touched other than a paint job and a new roof once in a while.

While there are disadvantages- single car garages (or none at all except for a small one in back), narrower 1-way streets, and other old style stuff, there are just as many advantages to living on the numbered streets.
They are centrally located, are often much higher build quality than modern homes, and the neighborhoods are often very peaceful and quiet.
The homes are often great deals and have a lot of individual charm. Some are very elegant, others quirky, and others quite plain and utilitarian. The lots all have mature trees and landscaping, and there are quite a few small 1-block neighborhood parks.

While I have nothing at all against new houses, I enjoy living in an established area much more. There is a sense of permanence and history that the new subdivisions just don't have.
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:24 AM
 
385 posts, read 458,028 times
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that might have just sold me on the numbered streets! quality-built houses with charm, at $120K, versus new construction in a cookie cutter neighborhood, at $180K, seems like a no brainer the more I think about it. plus, what in the world does a bachelor need with 3000 sq ft? I think 1800-2000 sq ft is ample

thanks for the advice, everyone! please keep it coming -- I hope to buy a house in the next few months, so the hunt is on!
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Old 08-20-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Hey banjomike, have you felt safe living in that neighborhood? I was reading a thread on here from a few years ago that mentioned a rise in gang and drug activity over there.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:20 AM
 
8,440 posts, read 12,235,453 times
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Originally Posted by tmp4 View Post
Hey banjomike, have you felt safe living in that neighborhood? I was reading a thread on here from a few years ago that mentioned a rise in gang and drug activity over there.
Tmp4 - I know your question is for Banjo, who did a really great job explaining how and when houses were built in the # streets. I just want to add the concern about drugs, gangs is much more limited to areas of 1--3 streets.

I totally agree with your logic about a smaller home. The numbered streets have some gems and some houses less desirable, but many of them are starting to be torn down and new homes built.

There are a wide variety of people with a broad range of careers in the numbered streets. I'm certain there is more individualism with neighbors in the # streets.

MSR
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
27,006 posts, read 18,276,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmp4 View Post
Hey banjomike, have you felt safe living in that neighborhood? I was reading a thread on here from a few years ago that mentioned a rise in gang and drug activity over there.
You need to realize that the numbered streets comprise about 1/3 of Idaho Falls. They begin at #1 and go to #29 (or a few more), so there are definite neighborhoods within them.

Generally, Idaho Falls is a pretty darned safe city. But without a doubt some neighborhoods in the numbered streets are going to be more prone to property crimes (the most common crimes here) than others. While I have had some theft over the years in several of the many homes I lived in, I honestly don't know if the theft problem is higher, the same, or lower than it is in the newer subdivisions or out in the country. My family had a lot more theft when we lived on our farm than when we moved into town, and my brother, who lives just outside one of the local villages, has more theft than I do.

For sure, just 2 or 3 perps can change a neighborhood's crime stats. It's easier to steal stuff here than it is to get rid of it; when thieves are busted, very often their place is stuffed to the gills with goods they couldn't sell or pawn.
My present neighborhood had a car break-in problem for a couple of years, when I first moved here. The cops busted the thieves, and they were a perfect example of what I wrote above. And we have had no theft problems since then.

We don't have much of a gang problem here- there are none of the big gangs who have been able to settle here. While one Cali gang tried to get a foothold here about 18 years ago, they got nowhere.

Part of their failure comes from Idaho Falls' ongoing efforts to keep our town graffiti free, and part comes from the quality of our police force. Since I.F. is headquarters for important national research, we need and get first rate cops. Whenever a kid is caught spraying, the judges here sentence him to a month of graffiti cleanup, and very few re-offend. When you come here, you won't see much graffiti, but the town never remains 100% free for very long. Most of the time, it's 90% free or more.

We have some drug activity, for sure, but it is not a major or threatening problem. As it is throughout idaho, the little villages have as much drug activity as the larger cities, and drugs and dealers go back and forth between the two.

The only good way to decide where you think is safest is to consult a good realtor. They know the bads and goods of every neighborhood better than anyone.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:30 PM
 
385 posts, read 458,028 times
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Thanks again! If it'd be OK, I'd like to stay in touch with you. Sounds like your decades in that neighborhood could lead to more good advice
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Old 08-20-2013, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
27,006 posts, read 18,276,801 times
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Originally Posted by tmp4 View Post
Thanks again! If it'd be OK, I'd like to stay in touch with you. Sounds like your decades in that neighborhood could lead to more good advice
Sure.
Bear in mind that I am sure not as aware of neighborhood changes, for the better or for the worse, than a good realtor. Asking them costs you nothing, and I suggest finding several from different companies. Comparing what they all say will probably give you the most accurate picture.

There are a few other things; don't forget the Avenues that connect the numbered streets. Some are longer than others, as the block sizes differ. Two canals cut through the numbered streets as well, creating cul-de-sacs and dead ends on some of the streets.

There are also subdivisions that were built later, from the 70's onward, that connect to the numbered streets but don't have numbers. These are really part of the same area of town.

There are a couple of numbered streets- 16th and 19th, that have very long interruptions caused by subdivisions that cut into them that were all built in the 60's up to the late 90's. There were many pockets of farm ground south of 17th street that were still farmed for decades while surrounded by houses on all sides. Some may remain, but almost all are gone now. This area is also divided by canals.

I once spent a full day trying to follow 19th from one end to the other. I discovered the street goes almost all the way through town from the Yellowstone Highway on the west to almost the edge of the city limits on the east with big interruptions that extend for blocks in parts of it. The street dead-ended several times, but kept going. Homes were on it from end to end.
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