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Old 02-14-2008, 02:03 PM
8 posts, read 23,855 times
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My sister may be moving to Cedar Falls from western Nebraska. We are trying to gather info about the area. Would love some feedback from people who live there. School quality, neighborhoods to live in or avoid. Activities, churches, etc. Also, how does the land differ from western Nebraska, are there hills or is it similar to central Kansas?
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:43 PM
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
2,073 posts, read 5,089,398 times
Reputation: 1107
Hey Grace,
I think I'll be able to provide you with some information, I lived in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area (Cedar Valley) for 3 years, and I still have family that lives there, so I know what it is like to live there.

Your first concern seemed to be school quality, and in the Cedar Falls district, there is literally not one school to worry about, they all have a good reputation and none of them would be considered "rough" by any standards... the main difference (if any) between most of them would be income levels in different parts of town, but it's nothing to worry about, I assure you any neighborhood IN Cedar Falls will be in a good school area. (I know this sounds unrealistic)

There are no real neighborhoods to avoid either; most people generally point away from the old part of North Cedar which is just North of the Cedar R. along Center St. This would be the "run down" part of Cedar Falls, but there are still new houses, as well as nice neighborhoods from the 60's and 70's, so really nothing serious... I think it's just more of a local thing to look at it with a negative viewpoint, whereas an outsider would probably just think of it as an average town. The one other area she may want to avoid is around the University, obviously because there are college parties. But, there are some nice older neighborhoods in the city.

The land in Cedar Falls is more lush than that of Western Nebraska or say Kansas. Of course the further you get away from the Cedar, it becomes the basic predictable flat farmland of Iowa, so yes there are rolling plains, but there are many woodsy neighborhoods that are on bluffs near the Cedar, which IMO are definitely worth checking out as well as the newer neighborhoods which surround all sides of the community.

Oh and you mentioned churches, which there are plenty of great ones in the area of all different varieties, from small, to mid-sized, to larger... my Mom attends Heartland Vineyard which I would recommend, but I guess it all depends on what you are looking for there.

There is a mall there - College Square Mall, it has Younkers, American Eagle, Von Maur, etc.... it's rather small and has seen some more empty store-fronts in the past few years, not sure what's going on there. There is also Crossroads Mall in Southern Waterloo, which is somewhat larger, it has 2 levels. Basically, there is *enough* shopping for a metro its size, but it's not quite like what you will find in Omaha, Des Moines, Iowa City, or other large metros in Iowa.

So, I think your sister will find it to be a pretty welcoming community, many of the people in the schools here are big on their sports, so it can be somewhat "cliquish" with that... but there are all kinds of different people so I doubt her kids will have a great deal of trouble fitting in.

So, this is all the basic information she will need if shes moving to Cedar Falls, if she's moving to Waterloo though, I will have some areas to recommend avoiding, but there are great areas as well over there too.

Hope this helped, feel free to send me a private message with more questions!!
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