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Old 03-11-2016, 10:10 AM
 
7 posts, read 9,882 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello All -

I grew up in Cedar Rapids but have been living in the twin cities suburbs for the last 8 years. I recently received a fantastic job offer back in CR and am planning to accept it and move back to the area. My wife and I are having a hard time figuring out exactly where to live though. My job will be in downtown CR and our families live mostly in the northern part of CR as well as Marion and Urbana. Our primary considerations are, in order:

1. Safety/Crime
2. Schools
3. Nature/Parks

Here are the areas we have been considering:

1. Marion/Northern CR (Linn Mar District): Schools seem great, but crime appears to be relatively high and it doesn't seem like there's much to do around here.

2. Southern CR (College Community District): Pretty much everything about this area sounds nice to me except that as of right now there are hardly any houses for sale in this area.

3. North Liberty: I can find tons of houses in North Liberty that I like and it seems like a good place to live, but the high schools really concern me, plus the guy who shot up Coralridge Mall was from here.

4. Fairfax: Seems perfect but there's like 5 houses for sale so maybe it's too small.

That's pretty much it. We are not really considering CR due to high crime rate and poor schools (I went to Washington she went to Jefferson, we both had awful experiences and it doesn't seem like much has improved.) I'd love to know people's thoughts on these areas or if there are other areas that seem to fit our criteria that we aren't considering. We have sort of considered Solon and Mount Vernon but just don't know much about those areas/schools (and again, very few houses for sale.)

Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2016, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
1,671 posts, read 2,398,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrEilers View Post
Hello All -


1. Marion/Northern CR (Linn Mar District): Schools seem great, but crime appears to be relatively high and it doesn't seem like there's much to do around here.

2. Southern CR (College Community District): Pretty much everything about this area sounds nice to me except that as of right now there are hardly any houses for sale in this area.

3. North Liberty: I can find tons of houses in North Liberty that I like and it seems like a good place to live, but the high schools really concern me, plus the guy who shot up Coralridge Mall was from here.

4. Fairfax: Seems perfect but there's like 5 houses for sale so maybe it's too small.

That's pretty much it. We are not really considering CR due to high crime rate and poor schools (I went to Washington she went to Jefferson, we both had awful experiences and it doesn't seem like much has improved.)

Your experience with crime and schools in this area are completely different than mine. I don't know what you call high crime, but Marion is safe. The lower income area of Marion does suffer from more theft than the newer parts, but still not "high." As far as things to do, depends on what your interests are. Marion is a family town so for a young couple without children I can see it could be "boring."


I don't know what concerns you have about North Liberty schools. From families I know there, the schools are very good. At least that's what I've heard from many parents connected to the University of Iowa.


Regarding Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, it sounds like you may be the same age as my kids who attended CR school district from kindergarten-high school. They had great experiences. I've heard the same from many other families and friends. The schools are top notch. Washington High School is sometimes ranked top in the state of Iowa, along Kennedy High School.

Last edited by smpliving; 03-11-2016 at 12:41 PM..
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:25 PM
 
7 posts, read 9,882 times
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My only concern with North Liberty schools are that they currently feed into iowa city high schools which I am not a fan of. The elementary and middle schools seem great.

I know that Marion is a relatively low crime area compared to the country ad a whole but it is about the same size as the place where we currently live and there's a pretty big discrepancy in. For example marion looks to have about 15 registered sex offenders living there where we have 0. Our last murder was 40 years ago and it was a mentally disabled person killing his mother in their own home whereas marion had a woman stabbed in a hy vee last year in front of her son. These are tough pills to swallow when looking for a place to raise a family. When I say boring I'm mainly referring to proximity to things like lake mcbride and hawkeye wildlife area as we are a pretty outdoor oriented family. That's why I'm personally more interested in south CR or Fairfax.

My concern regarding CR schools is more safety/cultural than academic. I felt my education as WHS was fine but didn't enjoy or feel safe going to school with people I knew to be active gang members. I graduated in 2001. My brother went there from 2002 to 2005 and said the gang problem worsened. Grand that is still 11 years ago but what I see on the news does not fill me with hope. I also had a teacher there threaten to hit me because he thought I was talking during class. Not a fan.

I admittedly don't know much about Kennedy and have no strong feelings about it either way. I know I sound very picky but this has been a very tough decision for my family as we really love where we currently live and want something as close as possible in Iowa
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:21 AM
 
3,613 posts, read 3,332,122 times
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Marion is fine. Take crime stats with a grain of salt because reporting is not the same everywhere. Also, what "crime" are you talking about, getting a bike taken from a front yard or murder?? Marion is very much like any of the suburbs in the Twin Cities. The newer area by Linn Mar High School is nice, safe area, lots of younger families, easy access to the schools, shopping, etc. As for "things to do"--really? You are 1.2 miles from Cedar Rapids... not to mention that downtown Marion has a lot of activities in the park, the shops are full, probably the best Chinese restaurant in the area .
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:54 AM
 
7 posts, read 9,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwerty View Post
Marion is fine. Take crime stats with a grain of salt because reporting is not the same everywhere. Also, what "crime" are you talking about, getting a bike taken from a front yard or murder?? Marion is very much like any of the suburbs in the Twin Cities. The newer area by Linn Mar High School is nice, safe area, lots of younger families, easy access to the schools, shopping, etc. As for "things to do"--really? You are 1.2 miles from Cedar Rapids... not to mention that downtown Marion has a lot of activities in the park, the shops are full, probably the best Chinese restaurant in the area .
Well I am talking about all crime, but I am most concerned about violent crime like the woman who was murdered at Hy Vee last year or the guy who stabbed someone and got the schools locked down like 4 or 5 days ago. Though all things being equal I'd rather not have bikes stolen out of my yard either. And with regard to things to do, I pretty clearly indicated I was mostly talking about outdoor activities like access to lakes, rivers, walking trails, hunting/camping ground, etc. Restaurants are fine but I'm not going to spend a lot of time there and I don't think there are many shops in Marion that interest me. Being close to Cedar Rapids is only a benefit to me in the context of my commute to work, if it weren't for that I'd prefer to be farther away.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:26 AM
 
3,613 posts, read 3,332,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrEilers View Post
Well I am talking about all crime, but I am most concerned about violent crime like the woman who was murdered at Hy Vee last year or the guy who stabbed someone and got the schools locked down like 4 or 5 days ago. Though all things being equal I'd rather not have bikes stolen out of my yard either. And with regard to things to do, I pretty clearly indicated I was mostly talking about outdoor activities like access to lakes, rivers, walking trails, hunting/camping ground, etc. Restaurants are fine but I'm not going to spend a lot of time there and I don't think there are many shops in Marion that interest me. Being close to Cedar Rapids is only a benefit to me in the context of my commute to work, if it weren't for that I'd prefer to be farther away.
The area around Linn Mar high school has walking trails, parks, etc. that are easily accessed from your front door. You won't get lakes like you have in MN, they just don't have them in Iowa like they do in MN. If you are working in Downtown CR, I'd suggest staying on the east side of CR. Depending on your budget, I'd look on the east side of CR proper even, around Post Road and such. It is a beautiful area that is like living in the country/forest, but just being minutes from everything you need. You will have all kinds of wildlife in your yard/neighborhood with walking paths everywhere--or just quite streets to meander down. I don't know that you "clearly indicated" your "things to do" were "outdoor activities" but you will have that. I'm not sure which suburb you are in now but I would equate Marion with the Lakeville/Farmington area where you have a central retail area but also very rural areas.

Just an FYI, the Marion Hy-Vee stabbing was a domestic violence situation so not really a threat to anyone else....
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Old 03-12-2016, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,637 posts, read 3,617,454 times
Reputation: 4511
DrEilers
From afar I've been watching the C.R./I.C. threads as you have asked questions, made comments & then followed with more comments and questions.
I can't really imagine why you'd be considering a relocation to near those 2 cities in Iowa given that you write as if the particular locality in the Twin Cities where you live now is pretty ideal for your needs.
Without wanting to sound insulting, I have to say that your questions & comments on the various cities, suburbs, schools & crime in Linn County & Johnson County indicate a level of fear that I find to be surprising & almost shocking, especially coming as they do from someone who lives in the midst of a metro of over 3.5 million people.
Some perspective: Linn County had 210,000 residents at the last census & Johnson County had 130,000 at that time. The 2 cities at the cores of those small metros have 128,000 & 70,000 residents.
In view of the massive scale of difference between them & your current location, it surprises me as to how extremely concerned you are both about crime & schools in the C.R./I.C. Corridor. I say this in response to the few & isolated serious crimes that have occurred that you have specifically cited.
As an example, because a man from North Liberty went on a shooting escapade at Coral Ridge Mall, you've entirely written off that suburb which just hit the 18,000 mark in a new count.
Because a woman was badly attacked on a trail network near Cedar Lake in central C.R. almost 12 years ago, you have cited the area as being unsafe & in an earlier thread questioned whether funds should be spent on enhancing that lake area as a park. Emphasis is added here to note that that Cedar Lake area crime occurred "almost 12 years ago."
More perspective: I recall that in 2010 a teenager from suburban Mpls/St. Paul (St. Louis Park to be exact) went on a crime rampage in rural north central Iowa & killed 2 women in 2 small Iowa towns. (See the link)
Twin Cities Teen Charged In 2 Fatal Iowa Shootings « WCCO | CBS Minnesota

By extension should all Iowans assume that the Twin Cities, especially St. Louis Park, are full of dangerous people? Your North Liberty example would make me assume that you'd reply in the affirmative.
Since fear seems to be at the base of your expressed concerns & you appear to be grasping at reasons to not relocate, I'd suggest you to stay in your current zone of comfort in the Twin Cities.
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Old 03-15-2016, 01:56 PM
 
27 posts, read 29,157 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrEilers View Post
My only concern with North Liberty schools are that they currently feed into iowa city high schools which I am not a fan of. The elementary and middle schools seem great.
Current North Liberty resident here. They are building a new high school in North Liberty that will be part of the Iowa City district - Liberty High School. I believe it opens in 2017.

The elementary and middle schools are good but overcrowded. Class sizes are large. A lack of state funding means that's unlikely to change. There's a new elementary planned for 2019 (assuming a bond passes), but there are enough kids in the area's overcrowded schools to open the new school almost at capacity.

The Iowa City board is in the process of redistricting elementary boundaries. They did secondary boundaries last year. You may want to take a look at those as you make your decision.
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Old 03-20-2016, 07:35 AM
 
49 posts, read 43,754 times
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Most of the shootings in CR happen in the wellington heights area which feeds into Washington HS and I think?? Franklin MS. Don't let your kids go there. Kennedy is fine.
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Old 03-20-2016, 07:47 AM
 
49 posts, read 43,754 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qwerty View Post
not to mention that downtown Marion has a lot of activities in the park, the shops are full, probably the best Chinese restaurant in the area .
So it has stores, restaurants, and parks? Thrilling.
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