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Old 03-31-2010, 04:50 PM
 
Location: I think my user name clarifies that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartmanfamily4 View Post
I have read that Eagan, Woodbury, Rochester, Eden Prarie, Plymouth, Apple Valley, etc all have small home town feels and the commute to the city is not bad. I am just affraid if we have to live in Ames that I won't be happy. I want there to be more than just farmland and a University. I like a simple life but I don't want to be bored or not have an all around living experience for my children.
First of all, Rochester is about 75-80 miles away from the Twin Cities.

Beyond that, the suburbs you mentioned are not small towns - though they once were. They're now suburbs of the Twin Cities metro area. And honestly, they're not "right next door" to Minneapolis. It's about a half-hour drive from Apple Valley into the downtown Minneapolis area - and that's on a good traffic day.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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I grew up in Ames, and moved away 15 years ago. For being a medium-size town, there is a lot of culture because of the university -- relatively speaking.

I didn't realize how good the schools were, until I've been exposed to the schools my children now go to -- and they are still considered pretty good. In general, the whole populace is very educated, and that seems to lead toward balanced lifestyles you don't find everywhere.

As for lakes -- my parents still live in Ames. There is a new development on the north edge of town where the city turned a quarry into a lake. It has paths and is within walking distance of hundreds of houses.

The worst "commute" you'll have is about 15 minutes from one side of town to another. There are basically no traffic jams except after football and basketball games.

Plus, as others have pointed out, there are other cities within a reasonable distance. Minneapolis, Des Moines, Omaha, Kansas City etc. My two cents.
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Old 03-31-2010, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe1 View Post
If those are the MN cities you are contemplating VS. Ames and you are really wanting a well rounded experience for your kids - Ames is the obvious choice. The MN cities you selected (and I've lived in one of them) are very suburban, and generally very white-middle class communities. Ames is a small city with a great deal more diversity. Ames Public Schools are outstanding. And Ames has that strong sense of community you say is important.
That is not true. Ames, Iowa is 84.5% Caucasian, a percentage similar to the Minnesotan cities listed earlier. Asians are the only large minority in Ames; they make up 8.9% of the population. Here's the source for my stats.

Minnesotan cities like Apple Valley, Eagan, and Eden Prairie are all over 80% Caucasian. I live in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville, which borders Apple Valley and Eagan. Burnsville is just a little bit bigger than Ames by population; Ames has 55,000 people while Burnsville has 59,000 people. Yet Burnsville is 77.9% Caucasian, 8.4% African American, 6.2% Asian, and 6.1% Hispanic or Latino. That is more diverse than Ames. Burnsville has a high percentage of African Americans (for Minnesota), and sizable Asian and Hispanic/Latino populations. The Caucasian population is diverse, too (Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, English, French, Polish, etc). I'm sure the Caucasian population in Ames is similar.

To finally prove my point in short terms, Ames, Iowa isn't much more diverse than a lot of Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs.
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by City Data Guy View Post
That is not true. Ames, Iowa is 84.5% Caucasian, a percentage similar to the Minnesotan cities listed earlier. Asians are the only large minority in Ames; they make up 8.9% of the population. Here's the source for my stats.

Minnesotan cities like Apple Valley, Eagan, and Eden Prairie are all over 80% Caucasian. I live in the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville, which borders Apple Valley and Eagan. Burnsville is just a little bit bigger than Ames by population; Ames has 55,000 people while Burnsville has 59,000 people. Yet Burnsville is 77.9% Caucasian, 8.4% African American, 6.2% Asian, and 6.1% Hispanic or Latino. That is more diverse than Ames. Burnsville has a high percentage of African Americans (for Minnesota), and sizable Asian and Hispanic/Latino populations. The Caucasian population is diverse, too (Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, English, French, Polish, etc). I'm sure the Caucasian population in Ames is similar.

To finally prove my point in short terms, Ames, Iowa isn't much more diverse than a lot of Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs.
I've lived in Apple Valley for over 10 years. And I went to college in Ames. Trust me, Ames is far more diverse than Apple Valley or Burnsville (and diversity encompasses more than just race). Ames is a small city with a little slice everything represented...different races, residents of foreign descent here on visa, educational attainment, and a wide range of differing economic backgrounds. You don't get that in a suburban community to any meaningful degree.

I think the thing that really puts Ames over the top versus the other ciites is the fact the poster has young children. Ames Public Schools benefit dramatically form having a large State University within the city. There are some great partnerships between the two and a tremendous opportunity for high school kids to earn college credit at Iowa State on the State's dollar.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:01 PM
 
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe1 View Post
I've lived in Apple Valley for over 10 years. And I went to college in Ames. Trust me, Ames is far more diverse than Apple Valley or Burnsville (and diversity encompasses more than just race). Ames is a small city with a little slice everything represented...different races, residents of foreign descent here on visa, educational attainment, and a wide range of differing economic backgrounds. You don't get that in a suburban community to any meaningful degree.

I think the thing that really puts Ames over the top versus the other ciites is the fact the poster has young children. Ames Public Schools benefit dramatically form having a large State University within the city. There are some great partnerships between the two and a tremendous opportunity for high school kids to earn college credit at Iowa State on the State's dollar.
Ames is 84.5% Caucasian, 8.9% Asian, 3.2% African American, and 2.1% Hispanic. Burnsville is 77.9% Caucasian, 8.4% African American, 6.2% Asian, and 6.1% Hispanic. I think it's obvious which city is more racially diverse. If you didn't know, 12.0% of Burnsville's population is foreign-born, as opposed to 11.3% of Ames' population being foreign-born. I'm talking just about racial diversity here, by the way. Ames isn't by far more diverse than any large Twin Cities suburb.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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This is a sweeping generalization here - but it gets the point accross. The Twin Cities is a large metropolitan area made up of numerous communities. You have the blue collar less affluent northern suburbs, the uber-wealthy Edinas, the middle class white collar Apple Valley's and Burnsvilles, the racially diverse inner city. Largely speaking, each demograhic is separated by a different school district.

Ames is a small city, with all those demographics. All in one school district. All in one city. Blue collar, white collar, very rich, dirt poor, Asian, Caucasian, Black, very educated households, poorly educated households - all in the same city and the same school district.

And we've only taken into account human characteristics of diversity thus far. What about our built environment? Again, Ames is a small city with a little slice of everything. A suburban town is, largely speaking, cookie cutter homes and big box retail.

Again, diversity is more than just race. Ames is far more diverse than any of the suburban communites mentioned.
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Old 03-31-2010, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
2,698 posts, read 2,189,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepe1 View Post
This is a sweeping generalization here - but it gets the point accross. The Twin Cities is a large metropolitan area made up of numerous communities. You have the blue collar less affluent northern suburbs, the uber-wealthy Edinas, the middle class white collar Apple Valley's and Burnsvilles, the racially diverse inner city. Largely speaking, each demograhic is separated by a different school district.

Ames is a small city, with all those demographics. All in one school district. All in one city. Blue collar, white collar, very rich, dirt poor, Asian, Caucasian, Black, very educated households, poorly educated households - all in the same city and the same school district.

And we've only taken into account human characteristics of diversity thus far. What about our built environment? Again, Ames is a small city with a little slice of everything. A suburban town is, largely speaking, cookie cutter homes and big box retail.

Again, diversity is more than just race. Ames is far more diverse than any of the suburban communites mentioned.
I'm very aware of that. In fact, it annoys me when people seem to limit diversity with racial and ethnic diversity.

I can see where you're coming from on this, but Burnsville and a few other Twin Cities suburbs are more racially diverse than Ames. I was talking exclusively about racial and ethnic diversity.

My apologies for not comprehending your points earlier.

Spoiler
And Burnsville isn't a cookie-cutter suburb!
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:18 AM
 
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I think one thing to consider here also is that if you're going to live in a suburb of MSP, the job at the university will be outside the community you live in. In Ames, the University is very much in the center of the community.
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Old 04-02-2010, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,729 posts, read 18,532,980 times
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This sounds like a disagreement between Mom and Dad about whether to live in the city or country. As others have said, there's no comparison, and if you want small town, you don't want Minneapolis or its suburbs. It's a huge city. I hate driving in it anymore, not that it was easy to navigate the first time I drove through 45 years ago. Even on the outside beltways the traffic is horrendous. It could easily take two hours just to get across town. Now, you want to know how many places you could get to within 2 hours of Ames? Let's just say boocoodles.

To be clear, if you like metropolitan areas, Minneapolis would be a good choice, imho, but ONLY if you want METRO. Please understand, in case you're not fully comprehending the size of the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area, it has a larger population than ALL the cities, towns and rural areas of Iowa combined -- more than the whole state.

From my own perspective, being a Wyomingite, that's more than Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota combined.

I attended Iowa State University. Ames is a nice town, and ISU is very good university. You want really small town? There's a bunch of 'em within a half hour of any place in Ames, while in Minneapolis you'd be very lucky to have a half-hour commute. I have a brother and a friend who both live in Minneapolis. I can't get from one's house to the other's in an hour if I drive it at midnight, let alone at rush hour.
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Old 04-03-2010, 02:36 PM
 
66 posts, read 168,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartmanfamily4 View Post
I have read that Eagan, Woodbury, Rochester, Eden Prarie, Plymouth, Apple Valley, etc all have small home town feels and the commute to the city is not bad. I am just affraid if we have to live in Ames that I won't be happy. I want there to be more than just farmland and a University. I like a simple life but I don't want to be bored or not have an all around living experience for my children.
If you move to Ames or anywhere else in iowa,shortly after you will be saying(oh my god these people).Unless you move to waterloo, waterloo do not have that iowa feel to it, thank god.
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