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Old 10-21-2015, 01:13 PM
 
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I recently received an offer for a job in central Illinois and I am trying to determine where would be the best place for me to relocate.

I am a single male in my early-mid twenties. I enjoy the outdoors, but I also like having good places to go out an eat and grab a drink.

I prefer to live in a bigger city, and due to my work location I can realistically commute from either Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, Springfield or Decatur.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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I think Peoria or Springfield would be your best bet. They are the two largest cities in central IL, with Peoria being a larger and slightly more cosmopolitan-feeling metro than Springfield. Peoria has more outdoors-oriented options right on the Illinois river valley, but there are some nice places in and around Springfield, too. B/N is also a nice area that is growing, but the nightlife there skews towards the younger, more university-oriented crowd, so if that isn't your scene, then you'll be out of luck. I can't speak to outdoor opportunities in B/N. All three have plenty of places to eat.

I would probably choose Decatur as a last resort. Unfortunately, Decatur doesn't have too much going for it these days, and the trend seems to remain downwards, not upwards, as manufacturing there seems to continue to contract.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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The Illnois River Valley is about 90 miles long and consists of several counties. There are parks, sports venues, two zoological parks, botanical gardenfitness centers, planetarium and observatory, power boating, sailing, daily or weekly cruiseses in season, groups of theater, art and music professionals, power run, auto show, cook=off, museums, histoic districts, two malls, a dozen shopping centers, and a dozen grocery stores, meat markets, fish market and international grocer. There are 60 parks but only three are large being three hundered acres or larger. You will find social groups, political groups. netwoking groups, birding broups, labor groups, artist and music soical groups, inland wildlife refuge for feeding, esting and nesting along the Illnios River in Fulton and Mason Counties. Two State Forests and several state parks are nearby. Basically there is something going on all year. You'll find Costco but not Trader Joe's. You'll find natual grocery stores and permanent seasonal markets with fresjh veggies and fruit, but you won't find Whole Food.

Peoria MSA is over 400,000. Springfield MSA is over 200.000. The next largest towns individually are Bloomington and Champaign at under 100,000 followed by Normal and Urbana. East St, Louis, Cabondale, Rockford and the Quad City may be larger, but the drive time will kill you.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:38 PM
 
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Without knowing exactly where your job is, I couldn't make a recommendation. That's a pretty big area you've thrown out as possible places to live.
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Old 10-24-2015, 03:03 AM
 
Location: North Carolina
873 posts, read 610,739 times
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Must have a job offer from hardees as everything else is leaving the area
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:17 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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What exactly is "everything else" and where is it located? Central Illinoia is quite large. It stretches from the Mississippi River to the Indiana border. Beside Morton you surely have broad knowledge of Springfield, Urbana-Champaign, Bloomington-Normal, Woodford County, Adams County, Pittsfield, Knox County, Astoria, Macomb, Lacon, Marshall County, Dunlap, Brimfield, etc?


QUOTE=Tigeru;41670751]Must have a job offer from hardees as everything else is leaving the area[/quote]

Last edited by linicx; 10-24-2015 at 10:39 PM..
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Old 10-28-2015, 09:15 AM
 
Location: C-U metro
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I am in the same boat although a bit older (late 30's). We are considering Forsyth, Monticello and Champaign. My position is in Decatur but after driving around town before my interview, it does appear to be losing population. I won't move to Decatur as I noticed the schools are atrocious but haven't been able to find out yet why. Does anyone know? Most of my future co-workers don't live in Decatur but commute in.

My wife wants to move to Champaign so she can continue her education at U of Illinois once we qualify for in-state tuition. She's an RN now so jobs for her won't be an issue. Does anyone know what the pay scale is for RN's in the area? Given the university, it could be pretty low even for experienced nurses.

I wouldn't mind Forsyth but the mall appears to be dying and if it does, I can't see how Forsyth maintains what it has. Tulsa has had a large number of malls die in the past 20 years and for 1 MM MSA population, we have 2 malls. Oklahoma has a history of transitioning malls into government office parks. The government offices tend to attract a lot of things that bring property values down so I'd rather not buy a home near a dying mall. Is the mall dying because of ADM losses (i.e. recently) or has it been dying for a long while (Amazon or other newer malls somewhere else)?

I love Monticello but can't seem to get the wife on board. It has grocery stores and a Shopko so we don't need to leave town for routine shopping. I love the town square and huge trees.
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Old 10-28-2015, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Illinois
89 posts, read 253,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingcat2k View Post
I am in the same boat although a bit older (late 30's). We are considering Forsyth, Monticello and Champaign. My position is in Decatur but after driving around town before my interview, it does appear to be losing population. I won't move to Decatur as I noticed the schools are atrocious but haven't been able to find out yet why. Does anyone know? Most of my future co-workers don't live in Decatur but commute in.

My wife wants to move to Champaign so she can continue her education at U of Illinois once we qualify for in-state tuition. She's an RN now so jobs for her won't be an issue. Does anyone know what the pay scale is for RN's in the area? Given the university, it could be pretty low even for experienced nurses.

I wouldn't mind Forsyth but the mall appears to be dying and if it does, I can't see how Forsyth maintains what it has. Tulsa has had a large number of malls die in the past 20 years and for 1 MM MSA population, we have 2 malls. Oklahoma has a history of transitioning malls into government office parks. The government offices tend to attract a lot of things that bring property values down so I'd rather not buy a home near a dying mall. Is the mall dying because of ADM losses (i.e. recently) or has it been dying for a long while (Amazon or other newer malls somewhere else)?

I love Monticello but can't seem to get the wife on board. It has grocery stores and a Shopko so we don't need to leave town for routine shopping. I love the town square and huge trees.

I think given your situation, Monticello might be best for you. It's a nice bedroom community that has seen a lot of development in the last 5- 10 years. It is also a relatively short drive to Decatur or Champaign.

Forsyth is a VERY nice area although the mall is not great. I mostly attribute this to consumer shopping habits transitioning to online shopping rather than brick & mortar stores coupled with the current economy in the Decatur area. I was actually just in Springfield (bigger mall & metro than Decatur or Champaign) and noticed that even there, there were a lot of vacant spots in the mall.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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I once lived in NEOK, so I am familiar with Tulsa. When I was there it had to two malls: north and south sides. Woodland Hills Mall flourished, while the northside mall did not. It eventually became a very nice indoor craft center type mall.

Tulsa and Champaign ae ars different as a cat and a bull. The MSA in both of those cities aare 1M pop. Chicago/Cook County is ten times larger than OKC. Just like OK, the rest of the state is ranchers and farmers.

Illinois is very much like NE OK in that it's leafy and green. In central Illnois you find the same hign rolling hills and the other Illnois River as Tulsa. But Illnois is also flat and prairie. IL and IA are the #1 and #2 exporters of corn and soybeans in America. We also export beef and pork and other products. You will get used to seeing the vast areas of crop and small farm towns. You will also find many becautiful state and city parks. And you will do substantial driving between A and B as Illinois is a large state. Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield are considered in the s/se part of central Illinois. Unlike OK what you don't see is many Native Americans. The original Peoria clan was moved in the 1800s into what is today, Peoria, OK., near Miami in in NEOK.

The Champaign-Urbana MSA is around 100,000 +/-. Champaign is the state flagship university, UIUC city with a population of about 85,000. The student population consistenly hovers around 30,000 +/-. Urbana, population 42K will probably fit both of your needs a little better. It's smaller, shares a common border street with Champaign, but it is much different and it has it own unique vibe. It has a very nice park system that includes an aquatic Center with reduced rates for urbana residents. Montecello has a population of 5,000. Decatur is struggling with the loss of major manufacturing. It's population is about 74K, and the racial makeup is 72% white, 24% black, the 'others' includes about 5%.

If you don't mind driving to work you could consider Bloomington - Normal for a couple of reasons. It is midway between Champaign and Peoria. Between Peroai and B-N your wife will find 7 hospitals, 2 nursing schools that confer the Nursing PhD, a medical schol plus two or more schools that confer the PhD. ISU is slightly smaller than UIUC but it is less costly to in-state students who live in Normal. It does confer the PhD and it does have medical based programs too,

Peoria area in a nutshell: In some places it looks a A lot like Tulsa. Peoria has two malls, 10 grocers plus deli, meat and fish markets, large parks, green and leafy, developing waterfront, theatre, a dozen shopping centers similar to Utica Square, two large zoological parks, and 3 four year colleges.

Medically speaking, in Peoria, your wife will find five hospitals, V.A. Clinic, two mursing schools that confer the Nursing PhD, and the University of Illinoios College of Medicine-Peoria (UICMP). a teaching/research facility in the Medical District. The Sisters at OSF have operated the hospital in Peoria for more than 100 years. The only Illinois hosptials that treats more critically ill children than at Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria, is located in Chicago. OSF offers a virtual hands-on-patient (mannequins) in a surgical suite for doctors and nurse training. It is the #2 Certified unit in America, plus OSF is a Mayo Clinic Network affiliated hospital. C-U and B-N pediatric doctors have priviledges at OSU-Peoria. This is where they send their critical patients. Otherwise, Peora has a permanent farmer's market, natural food stores, and Costco. Peoria is midway between Chicago and St. Louis which are the closest other towns to find Costco, as well as Whole Food and Trader Joes. Unlike the other cities Peoria is a STEM city that transformed itself from a manufacturing place to whar it is today .

Springfield and Peoria are very similar in size. Springfield is the state's business and government cemter as it is the state capitol city. Find a zoo, White Oak Mall, parks, and good restaurants. It is roughly 66 miles from Champaign, and 40 miles from Decatur. It has 3 hospitals and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

I don't like large cities and their drama. Very small town with a population of 5,000 is charming until you live it. This is not OK., and outsiders are notgenerally welcome. Merging into the area is much easier in a larger community. Also, you will not find large city amenities, or fast Internet. If you can pull a great cell signal you are very lucky. Verizon is usually stellar in rural areas, but not always. Tracfone usually works all over the state, but not always. AT&T usually rules in larger Illinois cities and in the college towns, but not always. But generally speaking, regardless of where you live in rural America, your Internet will be painfully slow if you live outside the "Last Mile".

Last edited by linicx; 10-28-2015 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:58 AM
 
1,102 posts, read 1,727,810 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingcat2k View Post
I am in the same boat although a bit older (late 30's). We are considering Forsyth, Monticello and Champaign. My position is in Decatur but after driving around town before my interview, it does appear to be losing population. I won't move to Decatur as I noticed the schools are atrocious but haven't been able to find out yet why. Does anyone know? Most of my future co-workers don't live in Decatur but commute in.

My wife wants to move to Champaign so she can continue her education at U of Illinois once we qualify for in-state tuition. She's an RN now so jobs for her won't be an issue. Does anyone know what the pay scale is for RN's in the area? Given the university, it could be pretty low even for experienced nurses.

I wouldn't mind Forsyth but the mall appears to be dying and if it does, I can't see how Forsyth maintains what it has. Tulsa has had a large number of malls die in the past 20 years and for 1 MM MSA population, we have 2 malls. Oklahoma has a history of transitioning malls into government office parks. The government offices tend to attract a lot of things that bring property values down so I'd rather not buy a home near a dying mall. Is the mall dying because of ADM losses (i.e. recently) or has it been dying for a long while (Amazon or other newer malls somewhere else)?

I love Monticello but can't seem to get the wife on board. It has grocery stores and a Shopko so we don't need to leave town for routine shopping. I love the town square and huge trees.

Monticello is the perfect place for a family with one spouse with work/school in Champaign and the other in Decatur. Champaign to Decatur would not be a nice commute, especially in the winter. I dare say that your wife asking you to do that because she might, a year or more down the road, want to attend U-of-I, comes off as selfish, at least at first blush. I'm sure there's more to the story so that's all I'll say about that.

My wife and I have lived in Monticello for 13 years, and wouldn't prefer to be anywhere else within 100 miles for the family-raising stage of our lives. The schools in Monticello are pretty good, the property taxes reasonable (at least by Illinois standards), crime is almost non-existent, the community welcoming, and, as you've mentioned, you have all the "basics" right in town. If you want to go to Champaign for shopping/dining/entertainment, it's an easy 25 minute drive. Decatur is about the same.


There's a small, but nearly new, hospital right in Monticello, along with an adjacent clinic. The county nursing home is also in town. In other words, your wife might be able to find work right here. Carle Physicians Group, which includes Carle hospital and numerous nearby clinics, is the second largest employer in Champaign County (behind the university), while Provena Medical center is the 4th largest and Christie Clinic the 6th largest. If she can't find work in Monticello, she should be able to do so in Champaign/Urbana rather easily. There's only a small nursing school at the University (it's actually an extension of the University of Illinois Chicago nursing school, and not part of the local U), so there's not some huge glut of newly minted nurses flowing out from there that depresses local wages in the field. The nearby community college does have nursing , including some partnership programs with 4-year colleges/university that allow one to earn a bachelors degree. It doesn't seem like the output is overwhelming the job market, however, as everyone I know in the healthcare field seems to have no problem gaining or keeping employment. I don't know what kind of wages your wife is making now, but I'd be surprised if the pays scale here wasn't fairly similar to Tulsa. I wouldn't completely discount opportunities in the nursing field in Decatur, either.

We might relocate to Champaign once our son graduates, but only because we both work there. If our commitments were split between Decatur and Champaign, we'd happily stay here in Monticello until retirement....and may do so anyway.

Now about Forsyth...if I had to live closer to Decatur, it would be the first place I'd look. The shopping mall business itself may be shrinking (it's a national phenomenon, not just a local one), but I think Forsyth will continue to attract retail and restaurant development. The MSA may be rather small, but that area's still the retail epicenter of a circle with a ~40 mile diameter. I suspect the mall continues to limp along for a long time while business outside the mall continues to grow. If/when the mall closes, it will have diminished so much in importance that it won't be devastating. That's my belief, anyway. One thing I am pretty sure of is that the mall will not become government offices. The state couldn't afford it even if they wanted it! The other area I'd look at in the immediate Decatur area would be Mt Zion.

Last edited by madpaddy; 10-29-2015 at 09:17 AM..
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