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Old 06-10-2012, 10:41 AM
 
5 posts, read 13,891 times
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Please help! My husband is considering taking a new position in Iowa City. Currently, we live in Saint Charles, IL (a northwest suburb of Chicago), and we like it. However, the cost of living makes it difficult to get ahead. Is there anything notably more desirable about Iowa City than the lower cost of living??? It appears the weather is comparable. Education is a top priority for us. My husband is Catholic. I am a non-denominational Christian... We have two school age daughters whose hobbies include horseback riding, piano, and swimming. My husband is a triathlete. My interests are...well, I just try to keep up with my family, I guess. Any insight would be GREATLY appreciated!! Thank you for your help.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:25 PM
 
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There certainly shouldn't be culture shock - it's all in the midwest. As far as the priorities you listed: education, religion, sports/outdoor/triathlete - you should be able to find everything you're looking for.

What Iowa City doesn't have is the big city life of Chicago. It's a great place to raise a family, and there is certainly entertainment and culture to be found, just not quite on the same scale as Chicago. So depending on how important that is to you, IC is probably a wise move.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:07 PM
 
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Great point about the culture, and I see that as a positive since I do like the culture here. I've been in the midwest for 23 years of my life. I do like the easy access to Chicago, but I'm not sure it's worth all the money we pay to be close.

What are property tax on, say, a $300K home in Iowa City? Also, I'm wondering which areas are highly recommended for elementary and middle schools. I have a 4th and 6th grader.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:50 AM
 
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One of IA City's biggest advantages versus large urban areas is that you will spend drastically less time on the road. I moved from Iowa City to a suburb of Minneapolis and that's the biggest thing I miss...now I drive 30 minutes to get to the cool restaurants, or the most fun parks, or the zoo, etc. You can drive all the way across Iowa City in about 20 minutes, most times of day. And yet, because of the college, there is lots of theatre, music, good food (including many different ethnic options you wouldn't expect in a smallish midwest town), art, and so on. Its a pretty fitness-oriented town, too, so your husband would have no trouble finding fellow tri-athletes.

Here's an old thread with a post of mine that includes some links for restaurants and attractions in Iowa City:

//www.city-data.com/forum/iowa-...-wine-bar.html

Oh, and for taxes expect around 1.5% to 2% of the house value. Iowa City Area MLS has a decent site to look at housing, and lists taxes for each house as well. You'd also get a good idea of how far $300k will go in Iowa City, which I'm assuming will be better than the Chicago metro, but I suppose it depends on your specific area.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:59 AM
 
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Also, Chicago is still only a 3 hour trip away, so even reasonable for a day-trip, if you need a big-city-life fix.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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Iowa City is a great town - there's a lot going on with a heavy interest in music and art, a lot of college culture in a stable environment (half the city doesn't go away when school is out, for example). I live in a larger town nearby and still visit Iowa City about once a month or so - it's really a unique, peaceful and energetic place. If you can manage a visit, I think it'd help put your mind at ease. Between Iowa City and Corralville (they've grown together in places), you should easily be able to find what you're looking for. Whether or not you feel it clicks or there's something vital missing, I don't know.

New Pioneer Coop is awesome, and the Ped Mall is a must visit.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
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The university and medical community in IC are highly regarded.

In 2004. Forbes Magazine named Iowa City the third Best Small Metropolitan Area in the United States. And in June 2006, Kiplinger's Personal Finance rated Iowa City #10 on its list of the Top 50 Smart Places to Live.

I have not been IC for forty years. At 67,000 population it is the second largest city in the state. It won't be a culture shock, but you might have to go back to Chicago for Trader Joes, Costco, etc..

The only downside is location and taxes. In 2008 much of the city’s 500-year flood plain saw mild to terrible effects of the rapidly flowing Iowa River. Chicago floods too on occasion, so it shouldn't be a worry. If you are upper income your state income tax can be as much as 8.99%.

Iowa has an unusual food tax structure. Most human summation foods for home use or medical needs are non-taxable, but restaurant taxes may be a surprise.

Here is a cost of living index you can use to compare IC and other US Cities. Cost of Living - Iowa City Area Development Group

Last edited by linicx; 06-11-2012 at 11:14 AM..
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Des Moines
586 posts, read 1,984,744 times
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^
Just to correct a few points,

As of the last census, Iowa City is still only the 6th largest city in the state, and only the 6th largest metro in the state. The census estimates don't show it yet, but the city of Iowa City probably has already passed Waterloo up to become the 5th largest city in the state by now.

Also, Costco is developing a store in Coralville. Still no Trader Joe's, but the rumors are they are scouting locations. Of course, Iowa Citians can head to the Des Moines area for shopping like this too, since we're only two hours down the road.

Most populous metros in Iowa:

1. Omaha-Council Bluffs--877,110
2. Des Moines-West Des Moines--580,255
3. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island--381,342
4. Cedar Rapids--260,575
5. Waterloo-Cedar Falls--168,289
6. Iowa City--154,893
7. Sioux City--144,062
8. Dubuque--94,648
9. Ames--89,663
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:19 PM
 
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U dont mention what either of you do for work, what are your enternainment , activities, hobbies, priority between high quality robust lifestyle with many options vs chilled out, simpler life. Does the new position pay a lot better than old?

If either of you work from home using internet connection, stay clear of Mediacom Cable. Frequent outages, disconnects, simply unreliable. I would not look for a house no matter what, unless it has at least two or more options like DSL + cable. My advice is if you like TV, look for apt or house that allows dish install cause Mediacom is a lot more mediocre choice than Comcast or U-Verse you probably got used to in St. Charles.

Do u like to work out indoors? Make sure you'ff find there a gym that is bigger and better than one like AnyTime Fitness. Full service gym with locker rooms, showers is a must.

IC is supposed to get soon Amtrak line to Chicago so if you plan frequent trips to Chicago, it will be easier.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,365 posts, read 7,036,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMRyan View Post
^
Just to correct a few points,

As of the last census, Iowa City is still only the 6th largest city in the state, and only the 6th largest metro in the state. The census estimates don't show it yet, but the city of Iowa City probably has already passed Waterloo up to become the 5th largest city in the state by now.

Also, Costco is developing a store in Coralville. Still no Trader Joe's, but the rumors are they are scouting locations. Of course, Iowa Citians can head to the Des Moines area for shopping like this too, since we're only two hours down the road.

Most populous metros in Iowa:

1. Omaha-Council Bluffs--877,110
2. Des Moines-West Des Moines--580,255
3. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island--381,342
4. Cedar Rapids--260,575
5. Waterloo-Cedar Falls--168,289
6. Iowa City--154,893
7. Sioux City--144,062
8. Dubuque--94,648
9. Ames--89,663
just look at the type of growth in college towns of major public universities in this era compared to the past. In the past, the college towns were little different in size than the small industrial cities that spread across our states.

not today. college towns are the bright spot. Is Ann Arbor facing the issues that other cities in Michigan face? how much growth in places like Madison, Columbus, and Austin comes from their universities?

The University of Iowa has a huge impact on growth in the state of Iowa and Iowa City and Coralville are obviously the beneficiaries. The major medical center, the research component, student population (many with lots of money coming in from out-of-state, particularly Chicagoland).

Of course Iowa City is repositioning itself vis-a-vis other Iowa cities like during no era in the history of the state. when it comes to economic growth, this city has a (hawk)eye on the future.
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