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Old 04-29-2014, 10:26 PM
Location: Brooklyn, ny
174 posts, read 250,266 times
Reputation: 162


Love Manville heights but can I also make a suggestion for the area around Rochester Rd.? My s/o and I lived in a condo off of N. 1st Ave and Rochester and we absolutely LOVED the location. It was far enough away from the University that we didn't have the loud student population. The location was phenomenal as we were just up the street from Beautiful Hickory hill park, right across the Street from Regina HS (or down the street from Iowa City High) and a bus stopped right on the corner of Rochester and N. 1st. This was great because my s/o worked for the University and just hopped on and off - took maybe 5-10 minutes to get to work everyday. When we moved to the West Side we were deeply disappointed and missed the easy access we had to so many things (highway, grocery store, bus system and hickory hill park). There are some great homes located off of Rochester and 7th ave and Rochester and Windsor (that general area)... we really wanted to live there but it was just a little too much out of our price range. You mentioned that you loved Manville heights but the s/o wasnt big on the older homes these homes are newer but still have that classic look about them.

I moved from CA to Iowa City and honestly after leaving I truly miss it. Sure the winters are frigid and the summers are humid but there are tons of great summer activities downtown along with great festivals and the farmers market and best thing of all the people are so friendly.

I wish you the best of luck!
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Old 05-08-2014, 11:28 AM
1 posts, read 2,711 times
Reputation: 10
HI there Gimlet!

I thought I'd offer in my two cents about your questions. As it happens, too, I'm a Realtor, and just by chance was perusing city-data for the first time and found your question. I hope I can help! Let's see what I can suggest:

1. Any thoughts on the neighborhoods around Willow Creek Park? It looks like a pretty nice, affordable location from afar, but I don't see it mentioned much on here. Or maybe it is, and I don't recognize it as such. I'm specifically looking more toward the northern end of the park -- looks closer to the elementary and other things.

Willow Creek is a neat park and is well located to UIHC, schools, practical shopping and access to other parts of town. There are a lot of single family homes similar to your description of what you would need in the area and the proximity to UIHC is great for your husband. It's definitely an area that could work out well for you.

2. If we can afford it, is Manville Heights a far better choice?

Better? I wouldn't necessarily say so. Many of the homes in Manville Heights are a bit older, so in many respects part of the answer is what kind of home do you want to live in? Yes, Manville tends to be a bit more expensive because many of the homes are larger, or have undergone significant updating making them so. As with so much, personal preference plays a big part. I would be more than happy to drive you around and show you some of the areas you're asking about.

3. Recommendations for an OB at UIHC? Since I'll be 7.5 months pregnant when we move, I'll want to make a quick transition to new prenatal care.

TOTALLY! Kelly Ward is AWESOME. She was my OB and she's just amazing. And, to my knowledge, she's accepting new patients.

4. Does anyone want to recommend a realtor? If all goes as expected, we'll be visiting to look for housing in May or June and would like to start to coordinate with a realtor in advance of that.
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All my best,

Last edited by Yac; 05-12-2014 at 02:04 AM..
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Old 05-09-2014, 04:00 PM
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
1 posts, read 2,678 times
Reputation: 16

First of all, congratulations on your soon-to-be new arrival. Exciting times for your family.

Iowa City may be a perfect place for a growing family - because the schools are good, although suffering some growing pains currently, and there are many parks for kids to play in.

Yeah, we have four seasons. Big deal. Sometimes they last too long - snow in May in 2013. Sometimes they come too early - "what do you mean it's Summer, what happened to Spring"? But hey, it's Iowa. That's what it does.

I know your original questions were very specifically worded, but I would be remiss if I didn't throw in some negatives regarding Iowa City, at least from the viewpoint of one old, disgruntled Iowa City resident.

I'm not a big fan of Iowa City after living here for five years (born and raised in Iowa - lived previously in the Cedar Rapids area for 25+ years), but I am in my early 60s, so I may look at things differently.

The city government - not to be confused in any way, shape or form with our police department - could care less what happens unless it involves the downtown area, the university or the more expensive residential parts of town.

The traffic flow through Iowa City is awful, especially the southern route on highways 1 & 6 from highway 218 in the west to Heinz road in the east.
I80 in the north has too many idiots driving it and a seemingly never-ending string of construction, be it on the interstate itself or the on/off ramps.
Dubuque street (central) goes through a too-crowded downtown and there is too much "big rig" traffic on Scott Blvd (east).
You can, however, be a part of (1) a rapidly growing spectator sport - the "running" of red traffic lights, where you get extra points if you speed up as you run through it, and (2) a new quiz show - "Darned If I Know" - where contestants are asked daunting questions such as "What do you call a red, octagonal-shaped sign with the letters S-T-O-P printed in white on it?"

Then there is the abomination known as "Coral Ridge Mall" (whose access was poorly designed). It's not part of Iowa City proper, but is in the adjoining city of Coralville. Since there are no malls left in Iowa City to speak of - Old Capitol Mall is basically dead and Sycamore mall (aka "The Iowa City Marketplace" - I think) is dying a slow (?) death - Coral Ridge is where people like to shop (for whatever reason).

A lot of folks like the downtown area, but for me it's too student-centric (duh, that's where the university is, you old fool).

From a housing standpoint, there are way too many overpriced rental properties, but it's a "college town" so I guess that is acceptable?! Many "for sale" houses where I live (southeast part of town) are selling below the actual value, because the area has a "less than desirable" appeal or so I've heard. If you can afford it, buy in a "nice" neighborhood?

Many of my neighbors are excellent people, but I view Iowa City as pompous overall. Too few have too much money and there is a distinct air of "if you ain't connected with the university, you ain't nothin'".

On the positive side, I am also a big fan of the UIHC and, per bestplaces.net ([mod]link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed[/mod]), the cost of living in San Francisco is 90% higher than Iowa City.

Remember these are just the rants of a disgruntled, old guy. Take it with a grain of salt or a shot of tequila (but only after the birth of your newest addition).

Good luck to you and your family.

P.S. I'd love to know more about your experiences in New England, as it's one of the places under consideration for our retirement.

Last edited by Yac; 05-23-2014 at 06:55 AM..
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Old 05-12-2014, 07:15 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,149,256 times
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If they only estimate a 10% change, I think they are underestimating the costs of San Fran. They may have used some poor methodology. However, IC is certainly a shocker if you expected those lower "midwestern costs of living".
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:25 PM
6 posts, read 9,833 times
Reputation: 12
Default CA mom now in 7 years in Iowa, a few words to the wise

Hi well maybe I'm too late to the party, but you said you're a SF dweller maybe moving to Iowa City and I wanted to reply. I grew up in Marin County, and lived for the rest of my years, college/marriage/birth of 4 kids in Southern California, then 7 years ago hubby's job moved us to Cedar Rapids, IA which isn't far from Iowa City. So I thought someone like me who speaks "Californian" might be of use to you.

This forum looks like a great place to get details on the things you asked about, schools, housing -and while overall the move to IA has been great for our family, there are some drawbacks/trade offs.

1) Getting back to CA to visit family or get your ocean fix comes with a price. One direct flight to LA has just begun on Allegiant, but other wise plan on paying over 600$ to get to CA which always requires a lengthy layover in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and in winter such trips are often unpredictable.

2) Yes, you can't beat the great housing prices here, 250K you sited will buy you a castle compared to anything in CA, but save up for those winter heating bills. Same with summer cooling bills (depends on how energy efficient your house is - ours is older, so again, lessons learned.)

3) I get tired of -sorry fellow Iowans - boring MidWest geography. I actually miss CA more in the summer because people here direct you to the vacay hotspots - Lake of the Ozarks, Minnesota, but they are far and don't compare beauty wise, as all is flat and landlocked. No mountain ranges or jaw dropping scenery here. There could be small town charm, but smaller towns here have really gone into decline, so adjust your expectations for this being a tourist playground, as it really is lacking compared to CA.

4) Iowans are very friendly, but can be clannish like anywhere else. The state religion is Hawkeye football and in Iowa City you will be living that dream, like it or not. Many Iowans are born here, and plan on dying here, so they have viewpoints and habits that they value, connections in business that can put you at a disadvantage, and tend to misunderstand that others "not from around here" don't hold the same things dear. That can be funny, interesting, and sometimes down right puzzling/maddening.

5) Shopping here sucks. No major department stores, no Trader Joe's. My friends here say "Oh sure well it's in Chicago/Minneapolis/St. Louis/Kansas City", but in the winter making those 4 hour road trips isn't practical. The major ups side - and it did take a while - is that it has help me shed the materialism I got bogged down with in CA. And online shopping helps.

6) See number 5 for fun towns that can temporarily rid you of nothing- metroplitan-here Iowa. And I like how living here has us more connected with the rest of the US. CA dwellers tend to never leave CA as it is so big. I even like being on Central Time as for news it keeps us updated faster.

7) You mentioned your young children - they will probably love the four seasons and farms here, Iowa in the fall is a real treat with pumpkin patches and hay rides galore. Long summer nights here are great, though I just wish we could find a way to eradicate mosquitos which love the humidity.

8) Don't sell your CA property if you have it - we did and I regret it.

Let me know if this helps, or what else you need!
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:26 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,149,256 times
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Originally Posted by lurtsman View Post
If they only estimate a 10% change, I think they are underestimating the costs of San Fran. They may have used some poor methodology. However, IC is certainly a shocker if you expected those lower "midwestern costs of living".
I can't edit this in light of the re-work of the prior post. The way the numbers are presented now state that the change from IC is +90%, rather than IC being 90% of SF. That is a much more accurate representation. IC is absurdly expensive for the midwest, but very tame compared to SF.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:30 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,149,256 times
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Looking2moveoutofIA, you sound like a wonderful disgruntled old guy, and I hope you are able to make it through and have that move to somewhere you can enjoy that retirement. You really hit the nail on the head.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:17 AM
1 posts, read 2,485 times
Reputation: 19
I'm sorry that lurtsman feels the need to fill the Debby Downer role - we get it, lurtsman - you hate Iowa City.

Iowa City is a terrific place to live. Private schools are not necessary because of the excellent quality of education in the public schools, K-12. The downtown has a vibrant mixture of retailers and restaurants and, in the summer, is programmed well. There are a number of music, arts, film, literature festivals that happen pretty much from May through October. The Friday night concert series downtown is also lots of fun - everything from high school bands (both high schools have received Grammy Awards for their music programs) to bar bands, and everything from salsa to jazz, rock to soul…you get the picture. Most stores are locally owned so they are more unique than other cities in Iowa. It is not unusual to find many Iowans coming to Iowa City for its entertainment.

One makes friends so easily here, too, and there is hardly a town-gown separation. I live in Manville Heights not far from where I grew up. Lincoln Elementary School is among the smaller schools with excellent teachers and individualized instruction. It's a short walk to the university hospital, the dental school, all major sports, the soon to be re-opened Hancher Auditorium for the performing arts, the many acres of City Park and its new swimming pool, and the downtown. The restaurants on the Coralville strip are a quick walk also. No other neighborhood can boast proximity to so much without being contiguous to the university. The houses are older and some are in better shape than others, but they are generally quite well-maintained as people respect their property and value their location. The income mix is tremendous in Manville Heights - there are janitors and there are Pulitzer Prize winners, doctors and blue collar workers, beautiful large homes (not the mc-mansions of some outlying neighborhoods that are exclusively homogeneous - zzzzz) and beautiful small homes nearby. There is not the pressure to mow one's lawn on the same day as your neighbor, yet everyone keeps their property pleasantly landscaped and well-groomed.

As for an OB doc, if you end up in Manville Heights, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is a short walk and has an excellent OB/GYN department. If you decide you'd prefer the town hospital, Mercy Hospital, Meg Smollen has a tremendous reputation as an OB. But the university is the place to be if there are any problems associated with your pregnancy or delivery. I have a relative whose preemie "multiples" weighed from 1 lb 12 oz to 2 lb 8 oz - you could hold each one in one hand!! They were cared for at UIHC, where they lived their first three months of life and today they are healthy 19 year old students at the university here.

If you want the total Iowa City experience, look hard for a house in Manville Heights. There's something in every price range, great neighbors who are guaranteed to be very interesting, and the diversity in the composition of the neighborhood is valued and a stabilizing factor as well. No other neighborhood has as many amenities close by, and such relaxed living right here. Oh yes, as for the age of those living here, there are many young and growing families here living alongside every other age group. It's a joy to look out your window during the school year and seeing all of the elementary students parading home with their friends and siblings. We sit out with our 2+ year old grandchild and the kids stop to play with her and have great fun. It is like a Norman Rockwell painting, only it's real - and much better!!

Good luck to you and best wishes for your time here and your new family!
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Old 06-27-2014, 09:02 AM
3,492 posts, read 5,149,256 times
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I do, but I do it in an informed way to ensure people get adequate exposure to multiple viewpoints so they can make an informed decision. It's much better if they can see the good and the bad before making a decision. The incredible fanboi attitude some people have about Iowa can mislead people. If you were going to buy tickets to a music show, you would want to know what kinds of songs they played and hear a few samples, rather than just hear their fans say how awesome it is. If people come to the forums expecting anything close to unbiased opinions, the best we can do is provide them with both sides of the story.
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Old 08-14-2015, 03:58 PM
Location: Sugar land, Tx
185 posts, read 305,950 times
Reputation: 203
Originally Posted by jthomas.7489 View Post
I should add that there is a Fareway grocery store that is within easy walking distance from the Willow Creek Park area, with reasonable prices (although closed on Sundays). I stopped in there a few days ago and they took my groceries to my car, which shocked me since I hadn't had anyone do that in years.
Yes. I always liked that fare way stores.The fruits selection there is better than other stores .The hidden treasure of Iowa city is the Co-op store there that sells all organic and fresh stuff that's of excellent quality.

Last edited by Firefly in sweet land; 08-14-2015 at 04:08 PM..
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