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Old 09-21-2008, 03:52 PM
 
22,444 posts, read 33,242,876 times
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I live in Philadelphia, formerly Washington DC and before that a resident of North Carolina and Florida....and always at the very least in a crowded, traffic filled suburb. I'm officially through with all of that and ready to live someplace quieter, more affordable and simpler.

A few caveats are that I am looking for a somewhat liberal town (not Iowa City or Ames) and a place where there seems to be interest in the downtown area from a development/redevelopment perspective. I would be conceivably opening a small organic food business and would be obviously wanting to be in a place where people care about organic/local food and the benefits of buying it.

Additionally a low housing cost from a buyer's perspective is a must. My leftover equity from my home sale (after paying cash for my new home in IA) would fund that. I have some ideas but don't want to sway the responses. Thanks.
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Old 09-21-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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Let me ask...what do you consider a small town? You may find that the Iowan standard of small town is maybe 5000 residents or less. Someone from Philadelphia or DC may consider a town of 30,000 small whereas the Iowan would condisider a town of 30,000 a good sized city.

Grinnel may be a samll town (by Iowa standards) tha meets you criteria. It's fairly liberal and I think it's residents show an interest in its downtown area.

There are a few other small cities that have beautiful downtown areas, but I sense a more conservative attitude in the towns. Those towns: Clear Lake, Pella, Iowa Falls, Nevada.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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Default small towns in Iowa

I get the size issue comparison, and think thats a great point. 5,000 would be too small. Grinnell is a nice town but too small I believe. How about Cedar Falls or Council Bluffs?
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Central Iowa - Ankeny
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Council Bluffs doesn't sound like what you're looking for... Cedar Falls does though. They have a lot of interest in sprucing up their downtown (has already seen a lot of progress) ... it's a community of about 40,000 and is connected to Waterloo, a community of 60,000. However - it feels like it's own community, and is surrounded by a heavily agricultural area of Iowa so definitely has that traditional Iowa feel to it.

Not sure why you need the place to be liberal but that isn't any of my business, there is University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls so you will probably find people you can relate with. I lived there for about 4 years and there were plenty of libs.

Good luck!!
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Old 09-21-2008, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
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I'm not really in on the organic food scene, so I'm not sure I can tell you where the demand exists for your project. I do know that there is an organic food scene in Iowa, so people are out there making it work!

Cedar Falls might be a good fit for this. You've got a lovely downtown (that came out of the flood mostly unscathed) in a nice college town atmosphere. It's fairly liberal from my experience, but not as liberal as Iowa City. Waterloo, Cedar Falls' twin city, has some issues right now--crime, joblessness, moving to a post-industrial economy, so stick to CF if you can.

Council Bluffs, I'm more concerned about. It's pretty much a suburb of Omaha--so you may have competition in that market. And since it's a suburb of Omaha, you lose some of the small-town feel you're looking for. Also, western Iowa as a whole is very conservative.

I would also look into Dubuque. It's one of the oldest major cities in Iowa (1833) with a historic downtown undergoing revitalization. It's a very scenic, pleasant city with a small-town feel. With its location, you would have access to markets in NE Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois. It's solidly Dem, but with kind of an old-school liberalism--very Catholic and union.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:20 PM
 
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Not sure why you need the place to be liberal but that isn't any of my business, there is University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls so you will probably find people you can relate with. I lived there for about 4 years and there were plenty of libs.

Good luck!! [/QUOTE

Unfortunately conservative folks are usually pretty damn happy to gas up the SUV and head off to the super mega-mart and stock up on produce/products brought in from Mexico or wherever at the lowest price possible...and they also typically don't care about the carbon footprint involved in getting it there. My target audience is someone who thinks in the bigger picture, which most often would be someone labeled a "liberal". I was hoping to find a cluster or two living in Iowa.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharpHawkeye View Post
I'm not really in on the organic food scene, so I'm not sure I can tell you where the demand exists for your project. I do know that there is an organic food scene in Iowa, so people are out there making it work!

Cedar Falls might be a good fit for this. You've got a lovely downtown (that came out of the flood mostly unscathed) in a nice college town atmosphere. It's fairly liberal from my experience, but not as liberal as Iowa City. Waterloo, Cedar Falls' twin city, has some issues right now--crime, joblessness, moving to a post-industrial economy, so stick to CF if you can.

Council Bluffs, I'm more concerned about. It's pretty much a suburb of Omaha--so you may have competition in that market. And since it's a suburb of Omaha, you lose some of the small-town feel you're looking for. Also, western Iowa as a whole is very conservative.

I would also look into Dubuque. It's one of the oldest major cities in Iowa (1833) with a historic downtown undergoing revitalization. It's a very scenic, pleasant city with a small-town feel. With its location, you would have access to markets in NE Iowa, SW Wisconsin and NW Illinois. It's solidly Dem, but with kind of an old-school liberalism--very Catholic and union.
Thanks, I'll definitely check out Dubuque and Cedar Falls. Any feedback on the Quad Cities? Bettendorf?
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:25 PM
 
Location: IN
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Decorah. It is a small town with a College. It is also on top of the "driftless region" near the Mississippi River. It is a spectacular area scenery-wise with many steep wooded hills.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Central Iowa - Ankeny
337 posts, read 1,421,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
Unfortunately conservative folks are usually pretty damn happy to gas up the SUV and head off to the super mega-mart and stock up on produce/products brought in from Mexico or wherever at the lowest price possible...and they also typically don't care about the carbon footprint involved in getting it there. My target audience is someone who thinks in the bigger picture, which most often would be someone labeled a "liberal". I was hoping to find a cluster or two living in Iowa.
Corporate businesses are a result of capitalism, and that is what makes America the great place to live that it is. Unfortunately liberals want small businesses to STAY small businesses and fail to succeed. There are A LOT of people who drive SUV's and trucks in Iowa - and shouldn't need to feel guilty about it. The global warming scare is a result of liberal media - there are plenty of silenced qualified scientists who prove it wrong wrong wrong.

Maybe Iowa isn't the place for you - because unless you live in a larger city, you're going to need an SUV or truck here - we have harsh winters, floods, and tornadoes - AKA the kind of weather that a PRIUS will never be able to withstand.
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Old 09-23-2008, 05:42 AM
 
Location: Davenport, Iowa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
Any feedback on the Quad Cities? Bettendorf?
The Quad Cities are definitely "bluer" than the state as a whole, but they're not at all what I'd consider a small town. The metro area has almost 400,000 people. That said, I feel its a great place to live. Bettendorf is not a small town either; its one of the Quad Cities, but more like a suburb of Davenport. They don't consider themselves one, but its filled with upper class and upper middle class white folks escaping the "mean streets" of Davenport in their bland subdivisions. They're idea of downtown redevelopment has been casino-related, with the exception of a strip mall and a Hardees. As you can tell, I'm not a fan.

As far as housing, its cheap as heck here, and I'd guess there's a market for organic food. Greatest Grains in Davenport has been around for quite a while, and I believe its serving a similar demographic. Being on the east side of the state, the QC area is closer to more population centers. According to the development folks, we have over 2.6 million people within 100 miles. Its also a fairly quick trip over to Chicago, if you start missing world-class big city amenities.
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