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Old 09-02-2009, 09:10 AM
 
5 posts, read 22,452 times
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I’m hoping someone who lives in Madison can answer a couple of questions for me. Here’s the deal:

My husband and I are contemplating a move back to the Midwest next summer, and Madison sounds like the best option. We currently live in Portland, OR. Overall, we really like it here, but we are planning to have kids soon and would like to be closer to our family and friends in the Midwest.

Can you suggest a good area for us to live? We are in our 30s and would like to live in a family-oriented neighborhood in Madison or a nearby suburb. We would rent at first. Ideally we would like to rent a small house or townhouse with a yard. Our max rent would be $1,200. We would like to live in an area with parks or walking trails nearby and stores/restaurants within walking distance.

My only reservation about Madison is the winter weather (I’ve lived in mild and warm climates for the past eight years). When people say the high in the winter can be zero degrees, are we talking days on end? Or does it usually warm up to say a balmy 25 degrees? I’ve looked up the average temps, but I don’t know how accurate they are. My concern is not being able to walk my dog for days at a time. He requires a lot of exercise, but I’m not sure how well he’ll tolerate the extreme cold.

Speaking of dogs, how dog friendly is Madison (i.e. are there good vets, do most rentals allow dogs, and are dogs allowed at most parks?) Portland is very dog friendly, so that is one thing I’d really miss.

Assuming the economy starts to turn around, is it generally easy to find a job in Madison? My husband works in IT/tech support. Are there good opportunities in technology? The latest statistics show Madison has a 6% unemployment rate. Portland is almost 12%, so it has to be better than here.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has the time to answer my questions!
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:26 AM
 
75 posts, read 226,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daisylady View Post
I’m hoping someone who lives in Madison can answer a couple of questions for me. Here’s the deal:

My husband and I are contemplating a move back to the Midwest next summer, and Madison sounds like the best option. We currently live in Portland, OR. Overall, we really like it here, but we are planning to have kids soon and would like to be closer to our family and friends in the Midwest.

Can you suggest a good area for us to live? We are in our 30s and would like to live in a family-oriented neighborhood in Madison or a nearby suburb. We would rent at first. Ideally we would like to rent a small house or townhouse with a yard. Our max rent would be $1,200. We would like to live in an area with parks or walking trails nearby and stores/restaurants within walking distance.

My only reservation about Madison is the winter weather (I’ve lived in mild and warm climates for the past eight years). When people say the high in the winter can be zero degrees, are we talking days on end? Or does it usually warm up to say a balmy 25 degrees? I’ve looked up the average temps, but I don’t know how accurate they are. My concern is not being able to walk my dog for days at a time. He requires a lot of exercise, but I’m not sure how well he’ll tolerate the extreme cold.

Speaking of dogs, how dog friendly is Madison (i.e. are there good vets, do most rentals allow dogs, and are dogs allowed at most parks?) Portland is very dog friendly, so that is one thing I’d really miss.

Assuming the economy starts to turn around, is it generally easy to find a job in Madison? My husband works in IT/tech support. Are there good opportunities in technology? The latest statistics show Madison has a 6% unemployment rate. Portland is almost 12%, so it has to be better than here.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has the time to answer my questions!
For $1200 you should have no problem finding a townhouse to rent in Madison. Some may be just a little above that, but most will be around that range for you. One area I would reccomend would be the Westhaven Trails area. It is, I think, a hidden gem area in Madison. There are parks and trails all within walking distance. There are times when, for a string of days, the temps are below zero.

Well it's not really the temp itself you have to worry about, yet the windchill, but it is not too uncommon to have days on end where that is below 0. 25 degrees seems like paradise in the middle of winter and on some years is quite infrequent. However, I have never known a pet to have a problem during their walks. Madison is quite dog friendly, I would say. Now, if your dog weighs over 35 lbs, then rentals may be an issue. In that case just find a ma and pa type landlord. I have a Newfoundland, so believe me I know how to find places that allow larger dogs.

I would not call it easy per se to find a job in Madison, but it is possible. Compared to most of the rest of the country, Madison is very easy. There are a lot of tech jobs in Madison. There are a couple companies that I would suggest looking at. One would be Epic (you may want to consider living in Verona if your husband gets a job here). They hire tons of IT people. The second would be TDS, they are a great place to work (talking from experience) and hire several tech people as well. Hope that helps!
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 1,116,722 times
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Verona would be good for you, Epic would be the place in Verona for your husband to look for work. Get a house with an unfinished basement and let him do laps in the winter there. -30 degrees is what we were told when we moved here...but come on, we all have heaters and coats...so I wouldn't let cold affect a decision.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:22 AM
 
5 posts, read 22,452 times
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Thanks so much for your response and suggestions for tech jobs. My dog is small, so hopefully we won't have a problem renting.
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Old 09-02-2009, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
365 posts, read 1,116,722 times
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For a small dog, you'll have no prob! Just let him run laps...people are VERY dog friendly here so I doubt that will be a prob, esp. for a small pup. There are rentals in Verona that I've seen from $1000 for houses so check it out...they also have the best school district around and you can walk into town for everything you need, there are also parks everywhere...I would've picked Verona if I had a better idea when moving here from out of state.
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Old 09-02-2009, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
1,311 posts, read 4,328,639 times
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We lived in Madison (individual rental two-flat apartment) for several years with a very large dog. No problem! Just bundle up and walk it anyway. We even had some little booties for her for the winter. Seems that some people's de-icing stuff on the sidewalks hurt her pads. An 85 lb+ wolfhound mix in yellow booties must have been quite the sight to onlookers!
There are also a bunch of great dog parks, and they're spread out on all sides of the city. We also had a great vet. We miss Madison! Enjoy it.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:39 PM
 
61 posts, read 177,642 times
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My husband and I (both in our 30s) rent a house in Sunset Village, a Near West neighborhood. We love it. We can walk to Hilldale area, bike or walk to Monroe St, and walk up to University. There are at least 4 parks within close walking including Hoyt Park which is full of trees and cute trails. We rent a 3bed/2bath with large yard & finished basement for a little more than the $1200 you spoke of, but I think you can find some smaller houses in that range. Our neighborhood is super cute, and not the newer McHouse type suburban sprawl you can get if you go too far out from downtown.

When we're ready to buy we plan to look in Dudgeon-Monroe, Sunset Village, Westmorland, Regent neighborhood, and Vilas. If you're used to the variety of Portland, then staying either Near West or Near East is a better bet. We're close enough to the action, but still with peace & quiet. We also have a large dog who loves the parks & walks. For the harshest days of winter we plan to run her on a treadmill inside. Otherwise we'll take her out snowshoeing, etc. Madison is not as dog friendly as some other places I've lived, but definitely still very good.

Also, we found our place on craigslist and got very lucky. Couldn't be happier with our neighborhood, and our move to Madison (from Boulder, CO). The quality of life for us this summer has been awesome.
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Old 09-03-2009, 07:42 AM
 
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Don't worry, you won't have endless days below zero. That is the extreme, not the norm. The winter temps do fluctuate a lot, but to portray it as endless days below zero is not accurate. You might have a handful of days in the entire winter where the high is below zero. Nights below zero are common though. A common forecast could be 27 one day, then 13, then 6, back up to 18, down to 3, then back to 30. The irony is the coldest days are usually the sunny days and you will hear people say they actually prefer those bitter days because at least it is sunny!

When there is an artic outbreak and as people have said, the windchill kicks in, so very few people want to be outside. People do walk their dogs all year here, but if it is an extremely cold day, people just run to the corner and back with their pets and cut their routine short, but the pets seem to be fine (keep in mind they live INDOORS in the winter here).
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:52 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for the neighborhood suggestions and dog tips! I wasn't sure if the stories I've heard of the unbearable winters were exaggerated. Before moving to Portland everyone told us it would be nine months of constant gloom and rain, and that hasn't been the case.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:55 AM
 
424 posts, read 1,630,227 times
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Maybe its just me, but I'm almost positive that from January-mid March, it will not get above 20 degrees.

Ever.
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