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Old 07-11-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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We have been looking at houses in Minneapolis (mostly Nokomis, some in Southwest) for a few months now and this weekend saw one in Richfield that we loved. Trouble is, we don't know anything about Richfield. The house is west of 35W (just south of 62 - it barely seems like it's out of Minneapolis unless you notice there's no sidewalks). What are you impressions of the city? How are the schools?
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Old 07-11-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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I like Richfield, especially the area you're talking about. Woodlake Nature Center is really nice (and has events for both adults and kids, as well as a walking path and cross-country skiing in the winter), the location is fairly central, there seems to be a nice sense of community. I'm not sure how the schools stack up. I'm assuming somewhere in the middle; I never heard the district being thrown around as one of the top in the area, but haven't heard anything bad, either. Richfield is one of the old inner-ring suburbs that is trying to adjust to changing demographics and needs; the older residents will remember there being farms there, while the newest residents know it as a far more urban place. I don't like not having sidewalks, but other than that I think it's a pretty nice suburb overall. It's pretty diverse, has decent bus service, has a lot of long-established independent businesses, seems pretty family-friendly, and really seems like a place with a sense of identity.

There's a great book, very professionally done, beautifully illustrated, about Richfield's history, if you're interested in that sort of thing. I think it's called something very straight-forward like "Richfield," or maybe it's "Richfield, the first suburb."
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Old 07-12-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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I went to Richfield for junior high and high school. It was okay. The facilities weren't great, but you didn't people getting into fights in the hallways, either. This was back in the late 80's - early '90s, so things might have changed.

Otherwise, I don't have much to say about Richfield. It was a generic suburb when I lived there, and it's much the same now, though you do have less senior citizens (though there is still a large contingent, with several senior high-rises in the area) and more minorites, which has led to a few ethnic shops popping up.

The only big caveat I can think of offhand is that the traffic around the freeways sucks, and people do not know how to handle the new rotaries put in on several intersections. Overall, the city is very safe, but there are a few sketchy apartment buildings and motels, mostly bordering the freeways which roughly frame the city. In the "inner" part of the city like you're looking at, you're really not going to notice any crime, even minor stuff like grafitti.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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I spent 14 years (1991-2005) living in Minneapolis just six blocks north of the Richfield border, and my grandma lives there now. It's a pretty quiet place, relatively central, kind of a compromise between a city and a stereotypical suburb.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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I'm not a fan of Richfield, but only because it's too "urban" for me. If you like Minneapolis, you'll like Richfield.
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Old 07-12-2010, 05:21 PM
 
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The City has grand plans for the future, but is pretty cash-strapped right now having took on a lot of debt and has had to raise local taxes a lot over the past few years. I think that they over-estimated the positive financial impact that the Best Buy headquarters relocation was going to have on the City coffers/development.

However, the City housing stock is still fairly affordable and the area around the Nature Center is very nice with well-established neighborhoods and mature trees. The schools are ranked in the middle in most instances.

Where do you work and what's your budget? If you're expanding your search to first-ring suburbs, St. Louis Park is a very good option...housing prices are fairly stable, schools rank well, and it's very nicely located to the City lakes area.
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