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Old 12-19-2007, 09:51 PM
5 posts, read 20,076 times
Reputation: 11


My family is considering a move from Madison, WI to Cedar Falls, IA. My husband and I would be working in Waterloo. I would love some feedback from people who are familiar with both areas. I understand Waterloo is a very different metro area than Madison, but I think it may be perfect for my family.
I have questions around the following areas: How accepting is the community of ethnic differences? Some previous threads have had a, shall we say, prejudiced tone to them; I assume they represent a small minority. When people talk about bad areas of CF or W'loo are they referring to violent crime, property crime, drugs? What do people think of Tremont St in CF as a possible place to live? How would you rate the CF school district? How would you rate the dining options and variety in the area? Entertainment? Does the community offer a farmers' market or CSAs? Community radio? How have property values held up? How is JD regarded in the community?
Any feedback in these or other areas would be much appreciated. Thanks
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:29 AM
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There are a lot of threads on Waterloo, but yeah, it probably has the reputation as being the "worst" place in Iowa.

I think a lot of that is just leftover from the 80's though, when the whole area went through a really horrible downturn. I wouldn't really worry about crime though, the entire state of Iowa normally only sees 40 or 50 homicides per year - the 2005 rate was 1.33 per 100,000. That's extremely low, the country has a rate of around 5.5 per 100,000, and most large cities are anywhere from 10 to 30 per 100,000. Waterloo-Cedar Falls see anywhere from 0 to maybe 3 murders per year.

I don't think the state is racist, much more that it's new to different cultures, and is naive. People aren't OUTRIGHT prejudice and mean to people as much as they're reserved and putt-offish. Does that make sense?

That being said, there ARE minorities in Iowa, so don't worry that you're going to completey stick out. Waterloo has a sizable black population as well.

In the last 6 years, the state has welcomed around 37,000 international immigrants, and as of 2006 was listed as having around 275,000 minorities.

The minority population in the state has grown by 146% since 1990.

I think that number might be a little low though, as I know very large groups of hispanics and blacks have moved into the urban areas the past 3-4 years.
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Old 12-20-2007, 06:20 PM
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
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Hi, I live in Waterloo, go to school in Cedar Falls public schools (until May) Maybe I can help....

You are VERY right in saying that Waterloo-CF is different than Madison, though both in the Midwest, still different. Cedar Falls is the predominant area for residental growth right now, but both areas are still adding on with commercial growth, whether it be new retail, offices, ect.... Though the entire metro area as a whole has decline in pop. cedar falls continues to grow, so it may not be as stagnant as some people claim to know.

About accepting minorities, I have never found this as a problem around here, people are really open-minded and a lot more liberal than one might think, whether that be good to you or not. Cedar Falls has a GSA (Gay straight alliance) for it's students and even promotes a "coming out day." Last year at our graduation the choir wasn't even allowed to sing a song with the work hallelujah in it, so, maybe being this liberal isn't good to you, maybe it is.

Tremont and all of the older areas of Cedar Falls have really cute bungalow houses and nice fixed up older houses, yes there are some ugly ones intwined in the town, but that is with any older neighbhood. Cedar Falls has a very cool downtown as well, known to us as the parkade... And there are farmers markets in that area, as well as art shows/sales the community promotes. Farmers markets in W'loo too, various locations including the main one downtown. Community Radio - idk.

I will also tell you that John Deere is very highly regarded around here in response to your questions on that, it offers a lot of white collar high paying jobs; and if you don't believe me look at some of the very large elite homes on the western fringes of CF, and southern waterloo.

So, if you do decide to make the move, i'm going to tell you, be prepared. The area has somewhat of a rough history, so be prepared to see a little bit of the ugly when you come to visit and check it out. I know people who move here and hate it, as well as people who love it, and I think a lot of the people here are very content with where they live too and are welcoming to people from different states. I hope I could help (this was long kinda boring I know)
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:24 PM
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cedar falls is a nice place to live. houses can be a little pricey but they are nice as well. i actually lived on tremont street just down from the college. the whole area was a nice neighborhood. schools and hospitals not far from there.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:32 PM
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Default Not good

I have lived in many places in the Midwest, even Madison. I moved to Cedar Falls about three years ago for my job and have some mixed reviews on this area. Cedar Falls by itself is actually pretty nice for a city of this size. You will definitely miss the night life and better food of Madison. As this area is kind of lacking, but there are a few decent spots. It seems that people that raise kids here tend to like the environment. Now on to the bad. Unfortunately Cedar Falls is basically connected to Waterloo Ia, which in my opinion is pretty much a slum. with vary few good parts. The crime rate is about double the state Average. Here is my personal experience. I have lived here for three years and have been burglarized three times. Also it seems that everyone is smoking crack or meth, and robbing stores, banks and people left and right. Drugs are a big problem here, even compared to Madison. I would recommend a good security system, vigilance, and a gun. Waterloo has the nick name "Armpit of Iowa" by other Iowa residents. Good Luck!
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:17 PM
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Waterloo is, well, less than desirable in a few areas: I would not recommend anything on the east side. You will be able to find nice areas on the west side. Crime is high in Waterloo- especially on the east side.

Cedar Falls is connected to Waterloo- but feels completely different. It is just about as safe as you can get for a small city. People are generally warm and friendly. There is a midsized university- UNI. This adds to the diversity and open mindedness. Tremont is great...I would try to live on the north end of Tremont, maybe lower than 18th street. If you go into the higher numbers you get a little too close to the University and that kind of multi-unit housing. There are some beautiful bungalow homes and old farm style homes with a lot of character. If you are looking for newer construction I would look on the west side of Hudson Rd. We live near Tremont and really enjoy it. It really depends what your price bracket is. The CF housing market hasn't come down much, it is very desirable. Cute farmers markets, in the CVS parking lot and on the square downtown during the summer. The downtown offers cute shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. There are more restaurants by the mall-they are chain restaurants though. (Although I love Texas Roadhouse) Bike paths in Cedar Falls are a definite plus. There are many active families in the communities who rollerblade, walk, run, and ride bikes in the summer. George Wyth park is nice too. UNI has a local NPR station. I think it's 90.9. If you choose Tremont your kids would go to CF. Good school. I have lived in CF for a total of eight years. I have never experienced any crime. No one I know in CF has ever been the victim of crime. There is a laid back sense of calm here. You have to use your head like anywhere, but you don't have to be constantly on guard. (I lived in NYC for three years- there you always have to be "on"- although I never experienced any crime there either.)

John Deere is very respected here. Many people are either retired from Deere, their parents worked for Deere, they work for Deere, their uncle works for Deere...you get the idea.

Drugs in Iowa...I do believe there is an underlying meth problem. Again, I don't know of anyone who does meth, it is certainly not in the open...but I have read and heard things on the news.

Good luck! CF is really a nice place!
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:32 PM
Location: Marion, IA
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I'm probably more familiar with Madison than Cedar Falls, but I think it will be quite a culture shock. Madison has a lot of diversity. It's probably going to seem like moving to a small town. You will save money on taxes though I can promise you that. Madison's are outrageous. Also traffic is nill, especially compared to Madison. No crammed beltways at rushhour.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:53 AM
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Default Native Iowan

I was born in Waterloo and grew up in Cedar Falls, although I now live in Chicago. Tremont St is a good area. There is not really a "bad" area in Cedar Falls. There is some racisim in the town, but it is certainly a minority of the people. Waterloo definatly has some jagged edges. It once was just the east side, now it's both east and west. Known for drugs, violence, gangs, etc...it's not big city scary like Chicago's south side, but just not a great town. Iowa City is a great place to raise kids and still have that Madison feel.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:19 PM
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how dare you talk about my city like that?! Waterloo is a great place to live and far better than Cedar Falls. For one thing Waterloo is more diverse and doesnt have as many bar fights and riots as Cedar Falls. The mall in CF in a shame, I would never go there again and the college has to recruit black people so that they wont get in trouble with the board of regents just because black people dont want to go to a college where there is racial tension. Lastly...CF has its bad parts just like Waterloo...have you been to North Cedar?! enough said...dont diss my city because i will diss you!!!!!
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Old 06-12-2010, 09:25 AM
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Oh no! Please tell me you didn't move there! Yeesh. I lived in waterloo for years growing up. The newest building downtown is the jail. Its always full too. I ended up packing one night and took off for Iowa City. Iowa City is a gem! Youll find real opportunity, culture and money there. In fact, everyone seemed so proactive about thier futures in Iowa City I decided to go to college and get my RN! This is not the case in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Even with UNI trying to strengthen the area it's still a depressing dump of a town. Anyway, after I got my degree in Iowa City I vacationed in St. Petersburg, Fl. I never left! Now I work for the health dpt and every day after 5 and all weekend is a vacation! The reason I tell you this is that you won't know how bad it is until you get out. If you've made plans to/or live in the area now make plans to move out at once! The next time I fly in I'll meet you at Quintons in Iowa City for a TAC sandwich, a beer and "I told you so's" Then we can all have a laugh at this hair brained idea yours and the horrible exp you had in Waterloo. Lunch is on me!

Last edited by JoshuaArmstrongRN; 06-12-2010 at 09:28 AM.. Reason: Typos
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