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Old 10-20-2009, 01:45 AM
Location: Indiana
25 posts, read 78,521 times
Reputation: 14


I am doing a little preliminary digging regarding a potential move that my wife and I will be making once I figure out where I will be going to graduate school at. As it stands now, we have about five real options (Denver; Iowa City, Iowa; Seattle; Lexington, Kentucky; Minneapolis, MN) and I'm trying to find out about each of them. Iowa City is probably the second most likely of the options to pan out and I'm definitely interested in the area. The fact I have a friend who lives in the area also helps strengthen my interest in it.

Currently, we live in Indianapolis, are newly married (two months and counting) and are both relatively young (she's 23 and I'll be 29 in a couple of months). I am trying to find something that is within decent commuting distance of Iowa City (up to 30-40 minutes), but I don't want to live in the city or any of the the "suburbs" (Coralville, etc) based upon what I've read from reading about them and what my friend told me about them. If anyone has knowledge of where the professors from the University tends to lives, that would be helpful as I'd rather live near people I consider to be colleagues (or future colleagues) than around a bunch of frat boys which seems to be a common feature of many of the apartments in Iowa City which is why I don't want to live there.

Based upon the digging I've done and the limited time I've spent out in the area, I put together a working list of places to look into which includes the following.
-West Branch
-Mt. Vernon
-Mt. Pleasant

We are looking mostly for rental homes, although if we can find a nice apartment, condo or townhome to rent, that is fine as well. It does not have to be a formal rental community or anything like that as we are open to whatever our options might be. I grew up in a very small town (150-250 people roughly depending on whether you count the people who lived just outside of town, etc) so living in a rural area does not bother me. Actually I prefer it in many ways. We also previously lived in Michigan so bitterly cold winters and lots of snow are things we (my wife more so than myself) are accustomed to.

We would like to be in a somewhat upper middle class area with low crime and a homogeneous cultural background (no racial tension, no militant minorities which are both problems in the neighborhood next to the one we currently live in). Diversity is not something we feel is absolutely necessary in a community but it's not a bad thing either so long as everyone is respectful and no one is pushing for special treatment.

After reading over the forums, we are something of an oddity since elementary and secondary schools are not a major concern for us since we intend upon home schooling our children when and if we have them.

If anyone has any suggestions or advice, especially regarding specific apartment or town home communities to look at, or if any of the realtors on the list have any advice for us, please let me know. I don't mind receiving private messages at all if that is easier for anyone. Thank you for your time and your help.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:38 AM
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,419 posts, read 4,888,174 times
Reputation: 5811
Your outside of Iowa city list looks pretty complete. I would add Solon to your list. Very nice community that matches your wish list.
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Old 10-20-2009, 09:57 AM
11,289 posts, read 23,019,086 times
Reputation: 11164
I wouldn't count out North Liberty, Coralville north of Interstate 80 or the Western sections of Iowa City. There are also nice areas in Iowa City North and East of a line from 7th Ave running N-S and Muscatine running out East that aren't all "fratty" or "collegeville".

I actually grew up in Northern Coralville my first 22 years, and honestly there are large parts of the area you can go and live in and not really be aware that 30,000 college students are right down the street. The ENTIRE area certainly isn't a frat party. I think Coralville north of I-80, and unincorporated areas right to the east are the best area as far as very nice looking, very safe, clean, and good for people who don't want to be stuck in either the middle of the commercial strips or campus. This area, along with areas in northwest Iowa City are where most of the professors and upper-income earners live. Many people also live in some of the nicer historic houses east of downtown around Summit, 7th Ave, etc.

I think people count Coralville out because all they see are 1st Ave and Highway 6 - which is a mess of retail, hotels, apartments, fast food, and then the iffy apartment complexes up between the Coral Ridge Mall and Hy-Vee (near 22nd Ave). The interstate is a nice breaker between the more apartment and traffic oriented southern part of Coralville, and the entire fast growing northern sections that I honestly think most people don't even know exists.

If you really want out-of town though, West Branch, Williamsburg, Tiffin, Solon, Swisher, Shueyville are all decent areas. Mount Vernon is also close to both Iowa City and the larger Cedar Rapids areas. I think it was actually just voted one of the top small towns in the country. Normally Iowa City makes it near the top of all those "best small city for ___" lists as well.

Last edited by Chicago60614; 10-20-2009 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 10-20-2009, 03:32 PM
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,808,045 times
Reputation: 446
Good points, all.

On your working list, I would scratch Mt. Pleasant. Nothing against Mt. Pleasant, but that's just too far to drive when you can get the same things you're looking for much closer to Iowa City.

Mt. Vernon and Washington are great communities, good choices if you want a larger town that's all its own. Solon, Tipton, Williamsburg and West Branch are good choices if you want a smaller "bedroom community". None are really suburbs. None have any of the problems you are concerned about.
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:50 PM
Location: Indiana
25 posts, read 78,521 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks for the input everyone. The Iowa forum has given me the nicest treatment of any place I've posted questions about the area.
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Old 10-21-2009, 04:12 PM
Location: Coralville/Ames, IA
267 posts, read 1,122,964 times
Reputation: 167
You are more likely to be living near professors in Mt. Vernon out of the towns you listed, since they have a liberal arts college (Cornell College) there as well. I agree that CV and NL shouldn't be ruled out, they are pretty nice and you'll be considerably closer to Iowa City. Solon is nice too if you want to be in a smaller, more rural town.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:19 AM
Location: Indiana
25 posts, read 78,521 times
Reputation: 14
Great information to know Iowegian. Like I said, I really appreciate the assistance I've received. It's nice that everything I've ever heard about the people of Iowa being decent, kind and helpful seems to be true. If anyone has anything else to add, I would love to hear it but I can tell you that the Iowa City area is pretty much the top of my list now for places I want to move for school.
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Old 11-03-2009, 11:52 PM
28 posts, read 96,857 times
Reputation: 29
Honestly, based on your preferences, it seems like Iowa City is the place for you out of your city options. I too played the "where should I go to Grad school" game. I decided on Austin. But I had gone to Iowa for undergrad (it was fantastic), so that hardly counts. I'm back in Iowa now Good luck on your decision.
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:23 AM
Location: New York City
2,814 posts, read 6,152,095 times
Reputation: 3167
Originally Posted by PhDCandidate View Post
Thanks for the input everyone. The Iowa forum has given me the nicest treatment of any place I've posted questions about the area.
I would guess you are not getting a great response on other boards because you came out and said that you don't need diversity. Some people get offended by that.
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