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Old 04-07-2010, 08:18 AM
 
12 posts, read 24,984 times
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Hello All,
My husband has a possible job opportunity at University of Minnesota so I am writing to get info on some neighborhoods. I think the inner ring suburbs would fit our criteria the best. Here is the list, I know we won't find everything but looking for any place that comes close.
1. Family friendly( 2 kids 14 and 9) with good sense of community, safe
2. good public schools
3. able to spend around 300,000 for decent 3 bedroom house, small lot is fine. older is fine.
4. commute to U of M less than 30 min
We live in a small suburb of MA and are looking to make a change to more urban feel, less land, more walkability, more diversity and more easy access to cultural acitivites.
St. Louis Park seems to come close but looking for other suggestions. Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Cleveland bound with MPLS in the rear-view
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I was going to say St. Louis Park also! One thing I'd recommend if you plan on living here is to be close to the "Chain of Lakes", especially Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoun. Having easy access to those popular lakes is something I personally covet very much!
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:25 AM
 
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St. Louis Park would be a good option. You might have to sacrifice room in the house to stay under $300K but you should be able to find something.

Keep in mind that the traffic situation in the Twin Cities is SIGNIFICANTLY better. Traffic in Boston makes the Twin Cities traffic look like rural America so getting in and out of the city to go to the theater isn't an all day event like it is in Boston. You can get into downtown Minneapolis in under 30 minutes from pretty much everywhere in the metro area (non-rush hour) and even in rush hour it doesn't take much more than that from even the most outlying areas.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:35 AM
 
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The commute difference is good to know. We live 25 miles outside Boston and it takes 1 hr to get there. I guess what my real question is, is it possible to find a decent, safe, family neighborhood with good schools closer to the city? The suburban, car dependent, McMansion, keeping up with the Jones mentality we discovered is not for us.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwnaya View Post
The commute difference is good to know. We live 25 miles outside Boston and it takes 1 hr to get there. I guess what my real question is, is it possible to find a decent, safe, family neighborhood with good schools closer to the city? The suburban, car dependent, McMansion, keeping up with the Jones mentality we discovered is not for us.
You can find a lot of suburbs that don't have the keeping up with the Jones' mentality. Even in the close in suburbs/inner ring, walk-ability is not necessarily an option. Yes, many of the neighborhoods will have sidewalks but you won't necessarily find stores, etc. within walking distance. I would also contend that in St. Louis Park you will find more keeping up with the Jones attitude then you will in say Chaska or Rosemount. MN as a whole though won't be nearly as bad as what you experience on the East Coast even in the worst spots in MN.

I think you will find that St. Louis Park to your liking though. Roseville might be a good option to but the schools in St. Louis Park are MUCH better.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Columbus OH
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My initial thought was St Louis park, followed by Hopkins. You might also consider SW Minneapolis. Although the district overall has its share of problems, the schools in SW Mpls are generally very good and worth looking into.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:38 AM
 
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I think SLP is a good option, and don't think you'll find much "keeping up with the Jones" aspects. The part closest to Minneapolis is very walkable and fairly urban, and is filled with families. It will also eventually have a light rail line, which is a perk. I agree that the schools in SLP are better than Roseville, and SLP itself is less "suburban" than what you'll find in many other other area suburbs. Many of the SLP houses are on the smaller side (since it's an older suburb), but at your price range you should be able to afford a place that does have 3 BRs.

But... although there are some parts of SLP that feel relatively urban, they still might be more suburban than what it sounds like you're looking for. You might want to also consider some of the neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul themselves; a lot of them are similar to what inner-ring suburbs are like in many other cities. You can find some very family-friendly neighborhoods with excellent schools that would offer up everything you're looking for. Seward comes to mind: an urban neighborhood with some very nice older homes, a strong community identity, good schools, and a very diverse set of neighbors. It seems to be popular with U faculty with families, or at least many of my professors with young children lived there. (it's close to campus)

If you like St. Louis Park but are looking for something more diverse and more urban than you might also want to look at the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, or specifically, parts of the Lyndale neighborhood; parts of the neighborhood are a little sketchier (towards the freeway, mostly), but the part of Lyndale neighborhood close to Lyndale are quite nice, safe, and family-friendly. You'd still be within (longish) walking distance to Lake Calhoun, but prices are a little cheaper to the east of Lyndale. (although you might be able to find something in the Uptown/Lyn-Lake neighborhoods of CARAG and the Wedge/Lowry Hill East, too). Lyndale has a nice park with activities, a VERY active neighborhood organization and strong sense of commmunity, other families who are also looking for the same things you are, etc. There's also an express bus to the U that goes up Lyndale, so your husband would have a quick and easy commute. And if you're looking for cultural opportunities it's tough to beat Lyndale neighborhood: Lyn-Lake itself has a theater, multiple arts organizations and galleries (many with programs for families), is very close to places like the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker, and -- at least according to the neighborhood -- is home to one of the country's largest number of working artists per capita. It's also far more diverse than the neighborhoods right to the west or to SLP.

In short, yes, you can definitely find a family-friendly, urban, safe, diverse neighborhood with good schools and within your price range in or near Minneapolis.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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Would anyone be able to tell me more about the Seward neighborhood of Mpls? Are there safer areas than others? I like the Seward Montessori school for my 3rd grader but what would be my options for my high schooler? If we live in the neighborhood would we be guaranteed a spot in the montessori school? What is the likelihood of getting my high schooler into Southwest High(which seems to be the best high school in Mpls)? Can anyone tell me about the housing stock? My preference would be older home, 1800 sq ft or so, 3 bedrooms, small amt of land, 300,000 approx. Love the Co-op and sense of community protrayed through the town website. Just want to know if it is true!
Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwnaya View Post
Would anyone be able to tell me more about the Seward neighborhood of Mpls? Are there safer areas than others? I like the Seward Montessori school for my 3rd grader but what would be my options for my high schooler? If we live in the neighborhood would we be guaranteed a spot in the montessori school? What is the likelihood of getting my high schooler into Southwest High(which seems to be the best high school in Mpls)? Can anyone tell me about the housing stock? My preference would be older home, 1800 sq ft or so, 3 bedrooms, small amt of land, 300,000 approx. Love the Co-op and sense of community protrayed through the town website. Just want to know if it is true!
Thanks!
That's near where we live (in the Corcoran neighborhood). Seward is a little quieter and has a slightly better reputation than Corcoran. We have been living here for two years now and love it here. We have had a few minor complaints but overall have had a very positive experience and I'd say the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. We're a younger couple but it is likely we will decide to raise our family here once we decide to have kids. Your son could open-enroll in Southwest but would physically be much closer to South High School which also has a very good reputation. One of my good friends graduated from that school and has nothing but good things to say about his experience there. My neighbors also speak highly of both Seward Elementary and South High, which is good.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:57 AM
 
Location: Columbus OH
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My older son goes to SW and he and his friends love it. I also know several parents who send their kids to South and I generally hear very good things. One kid decided it wasn't for him and is now enrolled in a charter school, which suits him much better. So I think you'd find that there are lots of options for schools--probably too many... Washburn is a school which used to have a bad reputation, but its been completely revamped and may be worth a look.

I live in SW Mpls but have spent a fair amount of time in Seward-- I like the character of the neighborhood. Its convenient to lots of bike trails and has lots of fixed up historic homes. The area near the river undoubtably is more expensive.
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