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Old 04-06-2021, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
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A couple other smaller cities I can think of you may look at. Jasper in southern Indiana. It's a nice town. Lots of restaurants and shopping and less than an hour from Evansville if you need services of a city over 100,000 people and Louisville is about an hour and 15 minutes away. It's close to Hoosier National Forest with lots of hiking and outdoor activities as well as Holiday World, a very nice, well kept theme park and water park nationally regarded as one of the best in the country.


The other is Goshen at the extreme opposite end of the state in north central Indiana. It's less than 45 minutes from South Bend if you need a city over 100,000 but the whole Goshen, Elkhart, Mishawaka, South Bend region blends together but each city is distinct from the other. You're also just over an hour from Fort Wayne, a city of 250,000. Northern Indiana isn't near as scenic as southern Indiana, though there are 3 state parks within an hour drive of Goshen. And Lake Michigan is just over an hour away. The schools are pretty good and the downtown area is filled with local shops, restaurants, and night spots. They even have an art house cinema downtown. The town tends to be more conservative, though, and it is in the heart of Amish country. It is close to Lake Wawasee, the largest natural lake in Indiana, not counting Lake Michigan, and they have a sailing club. Goshen is also far enough from the lake effect snow belt that it tends to get about half the snow South Bend does despite being just 20 miles away.


Anyway, just a couple other options but both are close to 3 hours from Indianapolis. Goshen is closer to Chicago than Indy and Jasper is closer to Louisville.
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Old 04-06-2021, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Brownsburg, IN
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First off, I would say that Danville would also be a great community as it is currently. Having said that, and no disrespect meant Toxic Toast, but I think as Avon fills out Danville will be next suburb. While they turned down this development for 1,200 homes https://myhcicon.com/danville-counci...roperty-fails/ this shows that developers are looking to develop in that area. They also can still go through with this and other developments even if they aren't officially a part of Danville and don't fully receive services. This PDF https://www.danvilleindiana.org/egov...8382_36792.pdf, if it loads up, shows that at a recent Town Council Meeting they passed for a development of 92 single family homes and 76 two-family units development in Danville. There are several other neighborhoods being developed nearby or in that area. Again as it currently is it is a great community/town. However I do believe in the next 5-10 years it will explode in growth as Avon finishes getting built out or as Toxic Toast mention, people who hate the traffic and other issues of Avon look for more small town feel in Danville.

As for Greencastle, it is definitely pretty close to many of the descriptors you listed. The locals and many outside the town will be the conservative/religious, but in town/by the college it is much more liberal so you have that mix. As I mentioned in another post the Depauw Nature Park, a former quarry, is a beautiful, underrated park. However you are very close to the Covered Bridges of Parke County and several state parks or other beautiful locals.

The town is up and down economically. There were some small businesses that used to be on the square that shut down, but most have been replaced by new ones. Most of the business seems to have moved more towards the east end of town other than those that cater to the college and downtown area. My mom said for the area the schools are good for "rural/small town" standards though she prefers South Putnam HS. She said her main issue, she didn't deal with it directly but knew teachers who did, was if parents were faculty members at Depauw or major family business in town were more catered to than just your average family. So if there was any issue they were typically going to take their side over other students. Otherwise she's typically only had pretty positive things to say. You can definitely find some acreage in that area and much cheaper than other parts of even Indiana let alone the PNW.

Lebanon might not be a bad fit either and being between Indy, Lafayette and Chicago definitely helps with the economy. It will feel busier than Greencastle since Greencastle is a little more off 70 distance wise than Lebanon is off 65. I'd also look at Columbus, IN. They have a small town feel, but the Fashion Outlet Mall, Cummins and others provide some strong economy. They are also close to natural beauty. It's not as "small" per se as others, but a good community. About an hour from Indy and a little over an hour to Louisville. A little further south of Franklin and not likely to become a suburb during your lifetime. Finally I don't know as much about Greenfield, but that might be another town worth considering for some of your requests.

As for Franklin. Franklin definitely still has the small town feel. While I mentioned that Danville will explode I believe Toxic Toast is right that Franklin would see suburb growth far quicker and sooner than Danville. That has to do with it being almost an extension of Whiteland and Greenwood and proximity to US 31 and 65 South whereas Danville is a little more remote/removed. Franklin puts you close to the beauty of Brown County and Hoosier National Forest in that area, but up until that point it is very open and farmland. Franklin economically speaking is going to be stronger due to its proximity to more population, but definitely could get swallowed up sooner.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:17 PM
 
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ischyros, excellent info. Thanks for the other town suggestions. Will do some looking.


Westside, great details--thanks. Kind of feels like we'd like Franklin better today, but maybe Greencastle could be a little ahead of the curve as things fill in. We'll keep investigating.
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Old 04-07-2021, 09:46 PM
 
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I moved to Indiana from the PNW myself a few years ago. I chose the town of Pendleton, which is NE of Indianapolis about 1 hour from the downtown, and about 30 minutes from Noblesville and Fishers (both up and coming towns with their own charm, although you won't find any large lots left in Fishers). But out of the three, Pendleton is the most affordable and definitely has the small town feel you wont find with the other two.

It is also unlikely to be swallowed up by the suburbs in your lifetime - it is just far enough removed. It is not as scenic as Southern Indiana and certainly not as scenic as Issaquah WA, but it does have some very nice parks (one will a small waterfall) and an extremely low crime rate, and has been slowly growing for the past few decades.

And most importantly, I have never encountered any "cliques", or political bias/pressure. This town has no bald chicks with blue armpit hair screaming at you, and you won't have anyone approaching you to talk to you about Jesus or how Trump is really still in charge of everything, just in secret. the schools here are also one of the highest rated in the state.

The biggest downside is that it you will get smore snow here. Not as much as Northern Indiana, but more than you would in Southern Indiana. Although some winters (this past one included) we seem to only get a few days of snow, if that.

You should definately look at it.
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Old 10-30-2021, 04:38 PM
 
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Default Update from search....

Hi All, just an update on our town search. We finally had a chance to fly out to Indy and do some exploring. As you can see from previous posts, we’ve been looking a move from Washington to Indiana with our kids and business. We are looking for a smaller town pace, good schools, some vibrancy or creative energy, and low crime. We are political moderates who would like to avoid extremes on either side.

Although we’d been quite interested in Greencastle initially, by the time we took our trip we’d already sort of ruled it out. Several of you said was rather isolated or sleepy, and although I love the idea of a town with a college, I was disappointed to see Depauw was rated the single worst college in terms of free speech on campus. Anyway, with only a few days to explore, we skipped that direction.

Our first day we headed north all the way to Wabash and Fort Wayne. We’ve never expected to live in Fort Wayne proper, but I was curious to see it anyway in case it was the closest city to whatever smaller town we end up living in.

Our primary goal for the day was Wabash, which although small, seems to have a lot of things going for it—from the Honeywell Center to the partially revitalized downtown, to the nice physical scenery. In the end, Wabash was petty much what we expected. There were some fun shops and restaurants, people were very nice, real estate is really inexpensive, but ultimately we couldn’t quite imagine moving our family from the West Coast all the way to Wabash. We asked a few locals about growth or new people coming to town. While they were very friendly, none seemed to say there were new people moving in. Ultimately it felt a little far away from things.

After Wabash we went to Fort Wayne, briefly. It too was pretty much what we expected based on videos and articles. It was quite nice really—clean and pleasant. I could see going there more often.

Somewhere in our travels we stopped in Roanoke. Very small, but a really sweet little town. We also went over to North Manchester, as it came up in our Wabash research as well. We drove past the college, which was nice enough, but it didn’t seem especially integrated into the town, nor did it seem to have much obvious "college town energy."

One side note: Despite the many criticisms I hear of Indiana and its lack of scenery, I thought the drive north was plenty scenic (although it was October). I don’t feel like I’d be bothered by the change if we move.

On the way back we went through Anderson (not our cup of tea at all) and then to Pendleton. Pendleton is one that had been recommended, but we'd also heard some negative things, and coming just after Anderson I don’t think we gave it a fair shot. We sort of scooted right though. But it never really felt like a potential spot for us.

Fortville is another we wanted to visit. It’s a small town, but by the time we got there it felt pretty busy, like we were more or less back in the North Side suburbs. It was so small that I think yo'd just be driving into the busier burbs for everything anyway,

We spent part of the next day visiting family in and around the Indy suburbs on the North Side (Westfield, Fishers, etc.) We can see the attraction, as there are few places with that combination of kid activities, resources, and a seeming lack of crime or concerns. It really is amazing what has been created there. But it also feels a little fast paced and sterile to us, and the schools tend to be a lot bigger than we’d choose for our kids ideally.

The next day we set off south for Franklin. We hadn’t initially investigated Franklin, but several of you had suggested it sounded like a good fit for us. We also had a friend in Indiana tell us she loves it. In truth we were a little discouraged on our drive south as we had started to wonder if any place would feel right or if we’ll stay in limbo forever. But we were almost immediately charmed by Franklin. The tree-lined streets, brick buildings, parks and creeks, the quaint but hip downtown, restaurants galore, the gorgeous Franklin college—we loved it all.

Walking around I tried to look at things with a critical eye, but we couldn’t find anything we didn’t like. Most importantly, everyone we spoke to—from retirees to shop owners to college kids—told us they love it there. That seems quite unusual.

Where we’ve been thinking we’d like property on acreage in Indiana, in Franklin we started to imagine a different path, maybe just living downtown in one of the lovely old homes. It seems plenty safe and how fun would it be to walk to bars and restaurants, college sports, etc.? There has been some seriously good development and revitalization happening in Franklin—and not quaint country stuff, but cool places that rival the city and suburbs. Maybe because it’s only 20 miles from Indy, but Franklin seemed like it has already become what a lot of other small towns in Indiana are aiming for. I will concede that just as soon as you leave downtown you run into one of the highways with ugly strip malls, major shopping, etc. This part of Franklin is far from scenic or cool, but then again there are advantages to having real shopping nearby.

We drove past their high school. Although extremely nice, it was also pretty huge in size (by our standards). But student population wasn’t actually all that big. We spoke with a guidance counselor and she confirmed they are seeing growth, including students from out of state.

Now for the depressing part. After we returned to Washington, somewhere in our endless online research we stumbled upon a story about excess pediatric cancers in Franklin. The more we looked, the more articles and news segments we found. I won’t get into it all here, but there is speculation that some toxic chemicals from an old plant have spread beneath parts of the town and might be the cause of these illnesses. I read and watched it all skeptically, hoping to see that the problem had been resolved or maybe limited to one specific small area that could be avoided, but the truth is I couldn’t quite get to a place where I could justify movingly children there—at least based on the little info I have. I really hope the concerns or problems are coincidental or exaggerated, because it’s a wonderful place with great people.

So now what? We don’t know. We so loved Franklin that we spent most of the rest of our time there before we left. Now we wish we’d made it to Lebanon, Danville and other spots to the north we’d planned to at least drive through. We did manage to see some of Columbus one day, and it seemed pretty cool. Maybe not for us, but we thought it would be a good town to have close.

I think we did at least confirm that we would be happy around the friendly midwest hospitality, and after Franklin I was pretty excited to have a college nearby for sports and such. And we saw so many things for the kids to do along the way.

I am quite sure we’re too hard to please, but any other recommendations are welcomed.
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Old 11-03-2021, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Brownsburg, IN
174 posts, read 243,731 times
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That's unfortunate about Franklin as it seemed to check the boxes. I have never heard about the issue, I haven't done the research, but also haven't seen it on local news. Is it a more recent issue for pediatric cancer or going back a long time? I have at least 3 buddies and 3 former athletes of mine either from there or currently living there. None has ever mentioned it. Also if you live more out of the town on some property like you were first thinking would that avoid the contaminated area or is it pretty widespread throughout the county? I would imagine most of the watertable runs South from Indy/Franklin so being further east or west maybe gets you the Franklin Community you want without as much of the fear of the cancer?

Just spitballing as I know nothing about it, but seems like the community you really want.

If square one is where you are at here might be some to look into, though not sure if any others would fit the bill if you loved Franklin that much.

Valparaiso as mentioned. College that is pretty large. A really cool downtown with ice skating rink and some other fun and things to do. Seems to be getting bigger and bigger, but probably the nicest/most expensive on this list. Close to the Region and Chicago without quite the hustle of that. Someday that will spread down to Valpo, though not for awhile still. Good schools, but compared to rest of places you've looked it will feel waaaaay bigger. So the hustle and bustle will be there and less small town feel in some parts.

Huntington. Has a larger downtown though less overall population to Franklin. Has a college. Quite a bit nearby for outdoor activities. Close enough to Fort Wayne or Indy for day trips, but still small town feel. Has its own hospital and seems to be doing ok economically.

Warsaw might be another. It does not have a college, but has a nice downtown area more reminiscent of Franklin. I believe it is like the orthopedic capital or some title due to a number of orthopedic device manufacturers in the area. I would imagine that helps keep the local economy strong and things to do. They have a ton of lakes around so plenty to do outdoor. Finally again they are not far from Fort Wayne or South Bend to catch collegiate sports or a bigger city shopping/other events.

Another poster mentioned Goshen. I don't know enough to speak on the town though my BIL parents own a company in that area and seem to do well and another friend just moved into a private practice there. College town and again close to South Bend so could be more your cup of tea.

Danville I would still list in the running. Again no college, but it is close to Indy, but has the small town feel. The downtown is cool and some great parks. Definitely feels busy and most of it located directly off of 36 similar to an Avon though not quite as busy.

Lebanon you should still look into. No college, but close to Purdue or Indy. Once off 65 it slows and feels like a great town with a nice downtown area. 65 is really, really busy though.

I think Columbus could check alot of your boxes. I know you thought it big, but it still feels fairly slow. Easy to get to Indy, Louisville or Bloomington. Easy to get to Brown County State Park or the Outlet Mall. Good school system and with Cummins headquartered there they put a lot of investment back into community.

I'm not as high on Crawfordsville myself, but you may as well take a look at it. Nice downtown, Wabash College (all male) about an hour to Indy 30 min to Purdue. The town itself doesn't feel as nice as most of the others on here. Seems more rust belt than thriving, but also close to a lot of state parks (Turkey Run and Shades) and other opportunities.

I'm also not as high on Greenfield. It is stand alone as previously mentioned, but doesn't have alot to do I feel like. Downtown is ok but not great. Definitely thriving unlike Crawfordsville, but no college either. Close to Indy though.

Finally, I'd look at Jasper as another poster recommended. It's south but that puts you close to Holiday World, one of the best kept coaster/water park secrets around. But also you aren't terribly far from Evansville or Bloomington for college entertainment. Also not terrible for getting to Louisville or Indy. In and around some really pretty areas and opportunities for things like Skiing in Paoli, hiking in Hoosier National Forest, spelunking in Marengo Caves, and/or gambling/spa in French Lick all less than an hour away.

There are others, but most of them I think would be too small or too far away from what you would want. Or some that just don't check other boxes you have. Hopefully those give you somewhere else to look.
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Old 11-03-2021, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Englewood, Near Eastside Indy
8,977 posts, read 17,281,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestsideMac View Post
That's unfortunate about Franklin as it seemed to check the boxes. I have never heard about the issue, I haven't done the research, but also haven't seen it on local news. Is it a more recent issue for pediatric cancer or going back a long time? I have at least 3 buddies and 3 former athletes of mine either from there or currently living there. None has ever mentioned it. Also if you live more out of the town on some property like you were first thinking would that avoid the contaminated area or is it pretty widespread throughout the county? I would imagine most of the watertable runs South from Indy/Franklin so being further east or west maybe gets you the Franklin Community you want without as much of the fear of the cancer?

Just spitballing as I know nothing about it, but seems like the community you really want.

If square one is where you are at here might be some to look into, though not sure if any others would fit the bill if you loved Franklin that much.
The local news has definitely reported on the "possible" cancer cluster in Franklin.

Toxic cancer-causing contamination in Franklin may have spread, report says
Why It's Hard For The State To Say Franklin Has A Cancer Cluster
Report on potential contamination from Franklin Amphenol site shows possible spread
No cancer cluster in county, but CDC urges long-term analysis

It has even been reported on nationally:

A Trump County Confronts the Administration Amid a Rash of Child Cancers
Seeking to solve a pediatric cancer mystery
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Old 11-05-2021, 12:03 PM
 
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Thank you Westside and Toxic, you guys always have a lot of good info.



Westside, thanks for the additional thoughts on places. Researching Cicero and Lebanon we came across Hamilton Heights High School. We were really impressed with the school—from what we can tell virtually—and it's what we consider an ideal size for our kids. We also thought Lebanon HS looked good. So, today's thinking is that maybe we go back to looking for a the right house on some acreage and just be in striking distance of one of those schools.


The idea of living downtown in Franklin is super fun, but our original plan was to get some acreage for our house and business (and maybe even grow something for fun). While we might not have the super neat little town right next to us, we should be 20-40 minutes from a lot of that sort of thing, and our extended family who lives in Indy. And if we need to drive to the northside of Indy for kids sports, etc. that wouldn't be too bad.



My biggest concern/hangup at the moment, and one I mentioned in another thread, is that most of the houses on acreage are farm houses and surrounded by active farm land. Not being familiar with this sort of living, I wonder how does one tell if the property is covered with chemicals and pesticides? And what's to stop your neighbor farm from using chemicals that would blow right down on your house? Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily, but I'd like to figure it out. Someone elsewhere told me I might be able to check with a state agency to determine property's history in terms of chemicals. Not sure.
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