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Old 01-08-2012, 06:48 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 55,651,190 times
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So tell me a little more about Cedar Rapids. There are enough negative posts here, I get the drift on those so no need for any more. We may be relocating there in the next year or so. Tell me about specific areas we should look for housing. Our kids will be out of school so we personally don't need to worry about schools but I know that resale on homes is better in better schools so we would want to focus on neighborhoods like that. Looking in the $300,000 ish range, give or take $50,000. We will probably build new unless we can find exactly what we want. We are open to small towns around CR as well. So, any builders you can recommend, specific neighborhoods/area to look into. Ideally I would like a wooded lot with some privacy but still have neighbors fairly close by. I would love to sit on my deck/patio in the warmer weather and drink my morning coffee without having the whole neighborhood looking into my backyard. Any other HELPFUL information would be appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:00 PM
 
11,288 posts, read 23,237,512 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IAGirl76 View Post
Having lived in CR for many years, I have to say I am SO glad I left in 2006 and will NEVER move back! I still have family in Cedar Rapids, and visit a couple of times a month, so my take on the city is not outdated by any means. If you plan on moving to CR area, I would suggest looking elsewhere. CR isn't nicknamed "The City of Five Smells" for nothing! Let's see...you have ADM, General Mills, Quaker Oats, Cargill, and of course the landfill on the far east side of town. I have to hit the recycle air button on my car anytime I drive through CR because the smell really makes me want to vomit. The southwest side of town is the worst, with ADM, General Mills and Cargill, but Quaker Oats can permeate almost all of the area anywhere near downtown. The downtown is still a mess after the floods of 2008, with boarded up businesses and houses...along with the northwest side of town, the southwest side of town, and who knows where else because I never go to the east side of the town when I am there. The city offices are still in the ghost mall of Westdale, because they can't seem to get downtown rebuilt. At least the library finally seems to be open again, although not in the evenings or weekends (only 9-5 M-F), so good luck taking your children to the library after work. Have I mentioned I am glad I left CR????
That's probably one of the funniest, yet stupidest things I've ever read Get over yourself.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:37 AM
 
1,114 posts, read 2,144,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
So tell me a little more about Cedar Rapids. There are enough negative posts here, I get the drift on those so no need for any more. We may be relocating there in the next year or so. Tell me about specific areas we should look for housing. Our kids will be out of school so we personally don't need to worry about schools but I know that resale on homes is better in better schools so we would want to focus on neighborhoods like that. Looking in the $300,000 ish range, give or take $50,000. We will probably build new unless we can find exactly what we want. We are open to small towns around CR as well. So, any builders you can recommend, specific neighborhoods/area to look into. Ideally I would like a wooded lot with some privacy but still have neighbors fairly close by. I would love to sit on my deck/patio in the warmer weather and drink my morning coffee without having the whole neighborhood looking into my backyard. Any other HELPFUL information would be appreciated.
GG, as you might know, I was an Iowa City person, so not especially knowledgeable about Cedar Rapids, but I think you might want to look in the north "suburbs" like Hiawatha and Marion. That should get you far enough out from the river to avoid flooding (check flood maps...don't take my word on it!), there should be some newer, nicer housing stock up there, and space for development if you want to build. Plus, the cereal plants that generate the smell are mostly on the south side.

For something a little different, you could also look out toward Mount Vernon, a little college town of ~4,000 people to the south-east of Cedar Rapids. Some of the best food you'll ever eat is available there at the Lincoln Cafe (Lincoln Cafe, Mt. Vernon, Iowa - Food is Important!).

In general, that area of the state is pretty great. Mild winters, long beautiful springs and falls, lots of (completely free) parks and recreation opportunities. It seems that every little town has a cool little unique thing in it...either a winery, or a restaurant, or a one-off museum, or some sort of fun little festival. If you end up moving there, let me know and I'll send you a list of my favorites.

Also, there is the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which is a 50 mile bike trail connecting Hiawatha to the Cedar Falls/Waterloo area. You could bike up and meet your kids for coffee if they go to UNI!
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:52 PM
 
16 posts, read 49,009 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
So tell me a little more about Cedar Rapids. There are enough negative posts here, I get the drift on those so no need for any more. We may be relocating there in the next year or so. Tell me about specific areas we should look for housing. Our kids will be out of school so we personally don't need to worry about schools but I know that resale on homes is better in better schools so we would want to focus on neighborhoods like that. Looking in the $300,000 ish range, give or take $50,000. We will probably build new unless we can find exactly what we want. We are open to small towns around CR as well. So, any builders you can recommend, specific neighborhoods/area to look into. Ideally I would like a wooded lot with some privacy but still have neighbors fairly close by. I would love to sit on my deck/patio in the warmer weather and drink my morning coffee without having the whole neighborhood looking into my backyard. Any other HELPFUL information would be appreciated.
For new construction, I'd recommend the Southwest side or Marion. Both have the best schools and therefore better resale value. They generally have the nicest neighborhoods as well.

Avoid the Southeast side like the plague. There are some beautiful old homes there but it has turned into Chicago west. So much crime they had to open a police substation in the area. Few days go by that you don't read about shots being fired or someone being shot or robbed.

The Southwest side that I mentioned is the Prairie school district. Very new schools and mostly new construction as Cedar Rapids is expanding to the south. It also has Kirkwood community college which is a very large community college of around 17,000 students. They have some very nice new facilities including a brand new hotel that is partially run by students majoring in hotel studies.

The one downer about the Southwest side is that it is further from restaurants and shopping. Lindale Mall, and many of the better chain restaurants are on the Northeast side. However, if you head south instead of north, you are only 10 minutes further from Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville which is a much better mall anyway. I'm not much for chain restaurants anyway and most of the nice non-chain restaurants are downtown which is not a far drive.

Fairfax is a town that has a lot of new construction as well. It is basically a part of Southwest Cedar Rapids and is just a bit further south across Highway 30. It is part of the Prairie school district.

Another small town to the Southeast of Cedar Rapids is Ely. There is quite a bit of new construction there as well and it, too, is part of Prairie school district.

The downtown is starting to comeback as far as nightlife. There are a lot of new bars and small restaurants popping up since the flood but nothing that really wows me. Iowa City certainly has a better nightlife and restaurant scene but is completely different than Cedar Rapids as far as culture. Where Iowa City is very liberal, Cedar Rapids is much more conservative.

Downtown Cedar Rapids will soon (next year) have a new hotel and convention center as well. The U.S. Cellular center has been here for some time and they have some decent concerts and events but nothing like you'd find in a really large city. The city of Cedar Rapids bought the hotel next door and is renovating the hotel and center so we might see some better events there in the future.

Overall, I'd say it is a decent city. Crime is low overall but has increased in the 12 years I've lived here. Traffic is non-existent for the most part and unemployment seems to be pretty low.
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Old 01-11-2012, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
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Jstrahn, don't forget that Theatre Cedar Rapids is downtown. One of the largest community theatres in the region, showing 12 plays this season. Tickets are rather cheap, too.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:46 AM
 
1,429 posts, read 2,191,271 times
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I lived in other cities too, and I gotta say I agree with the OP...

We had to decide between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, and - Cedar Rapids won. Dodging college kids walking to class was incredibly annoying, as well as the "hip" culture and party vibe.

I love that Cedar Rapids distances itself from that, and presents a more "laid back" approach. Where I came from, rivers where 5' wide ditches that where dry 90% of the time, and then prone to flash flooding once it actually rained. I've been here a year, but I still love driving over the bridge, and seeing people fishing in the river, or boats out on the water.

Also where I'm from originally, downtown is packed, highly congested, and very crime ridden. Downtown Cedar Rapids is quaint, charming (in the words of my family who visited), and personally the perfect balance between lifelessness and activity (due to the flooding I guess).

Where our house is I can ride my bicycle downtown, or walk to the river. Once I was riding my bicycle downtown and came across an activity in the park - do you guys realize that in some cities, that doesn't happen? That trying to ride your bike downtown = a death sentence as you either must cross impossible traffic, some pretty horrendously dangerous areas, or that the city itself doesn't really take bicycle riders into consideration, and you put your life into serious risk doing it?

And the lack of traffic - my God! Well actually some areas can be bad, but by and large, I think you guys have it pretty good here.

There's one factory that smells utterly horrendous, but I don't experience it from my house and it's not really in areas I commonly go. If I lived near that part of town, my opinion may be different. The one we get here is the oat mill one (I think) that smells like cereal. I've never found it overpowering and personally think it's hilarious, especially when explaining it to people back in my home state. I actually don't mind it, or think it's offensive.

I also agree that the cost of living is very decent here. I hate the trash rule (2 bags free per week, anything over requires buying a tag). And if you're mainly interested in packed malls, congested shopping centers, or highly active bars, you may not like the town. My sister was put off completely by the lack of night life here...but to me, that's a good thing .
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:30 PM
 
20,793 posts, read 55,651,190 times
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Well, we just got back from a couple days to look around in Cedar Rapids. We drove out to Marion and it was eh. There were some great older houses near downtown but nothing we really thought was "us". Found a great neighborhood that we both liked off Glass Road in the NW side of town. Easy access to 380, very wooded area, hilly, which is nice but how is that in the winter. I hear you get more ice storms vs heavy snow. Is that correct?

We drove out to Mount Vernon, cute town, college campus is nice but too far out of town so we will pass on that. I would love to live in a town of about 6000 but down the road, it will be better to be where the "action" is so to speak (close to hospitals, etc.) vs having to drive to get to everything.

They could use better city planners and some sign ordinances but other than that we liked Cedar Rapids.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:35 PM
 
1,922 posts, read 1,559,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
Well, we just got back from a couple days to look around in Cedar Rapids. We drove out to Marion and it was eh. There were some great older houses near downtown but nothing we really thought was "us". Found a great neighborhood that we both liked off Glass Road in the NW side of town. Easy access to 380, very wooded area, hilly, which is nice but how is that in the winter. I hear you get more ice storms vs heavy snow. Is that correct?

We drove out to Mount Vernon, cute town, college campus is nice but too far out of town so we will pass on that. I would love to live in a town of about 6000 but down the road, it will be better to be where the "action" is so to speak (close to hospitals, etc.) vs having to drive to get to everything.

They could use better city planners and some sign ordinances but other than that we liked Cedar Rapids.
There is an apartment building on Glass Road right off of the interstate. It is on top of a hill. I think it may be called Cedar Wood Heights Apartments. This has been one of the busiest places in town for CRPD. Here is a link - apartments cedar rapids ia glass roads - Google Maps

I would not want to live near those apartments. Now if you get far enough west on Glass Road, it probably won't be a problem.

More info - Hot Property #5: Cedarwood Hills Apartments, 2060 Glass Rd. NE « The Hot Beat
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:42 PM
 
1,922 posts, read 1,559,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golfgal View Post
So tell me a little more about Cedar Rapids. There are enough negative posts here, I get the drift on those so no need for any more. We may be relocating there in the next year or so. Tell me about specific areas we should look for housing. Our kids will be out of school so we personally don't need to worry about schools but I know that resale on homes is better in better schools so we would want to focus on neighborhoods like that. Looking in the $300,000 ish range, give or take $50,000. We will probably build new unless we can find exactly what we want. We are open to small towns around CR as well. So, any builders you can recommend, specific neighborhoods/area to look into. Ideally I would like a wooded lot with some privacy but still have neighbors fairly close by. I would love to sit on my deck/patio in the warmer weather and drink my morning coffee without having the whole neighborhood looking into my backyard. Any other HELPFUL information would be appreciated.
Have you checked the Robins area?

Also you may want to look into the area off of 42nd St to the west of Edgewood Road. I haven't been that way in a while, but it looked nice the last time I was out that way.

Aroiuind this area - http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ll...m&vpsrc=6&z=15
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:42 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 55,651,190 times
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Originally Posted by Greg_IA View Post
There is an apartment building on Glass Road right off of the interstate. It is on top of a hill. I think it may be called Cedar Wood Heights Apartments. This has been one of the busiest places in town for CRPD. Here is a link - apartments cedar rapids ia glass roads - Google Maps

I would not want to live near those apartments. Now if you get far enough west on Glass Road, it probably won't be a problem.

More info - Hot Property #5: Cedarwood Hills Apartments, 2060 Glass Rd. NE « The Hot Beat
This area was closer to the river bluff then it was to 380, more like Glass and Edgewood. It's good to know those apartments aren't nice though too. DH will be renting an apartment or house there for a while until we move (waiting for our kids to finish high school before we move).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_IA View Post
Have you checked the Robins area?

Also you may want to look into the area off of 42nd St to the west of Edgewood Road. I haven't been that way in a while, but it looked nice the last time I was out that way.

Aroiuind this area - Google Maps
The area we found was just south of here. We didn't get over to the Robbins area. We have time yet, not moving for over a year. We will be back to look around in the spring again.
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