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Old 04-27-2010, 07:12 PM
 
252 posts, read 564,185 times
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Did a mapquest search to find out where Elk River was, and its a little bit too far. Take a map, put a pin at the U of M West Bank. Take a string and tie it to the pin and extend the string to White Bear Lake. Take the end of the string at white bear lake and keeping the string taut, rotate the string around the pin until you draw a circle, on the edge of which lay WBL, Maple Grove, and Apple Valley (approx). That's the radius to use. Any place we look will be in that radius. Now, that being said, if I get a law job in a northern suburb, we may consider moving to those exburbs because that's the kind of living we prefer. To give you some insight to where we are coming from, imagine that kind of small town living but only as far away as White Bear. Thats Waukee. Small town living but convenient to downtown.

Of course, we sacrifice that convenience coming to the Twin Cities, but what we get in return is the big-city type opportunity for a law career while still maintaining midwestern society not too far from DSM. I know some of you smart-@sses out there will tell me to just "stay in Des Moines", but keep in mind I could have applied and been accepted to any place and I chose MSP for a reason. The reason for my scrutiny is that trying to find the exact right fit for a neighborhood and house (huge financial commitment) when you're responsible for a child's safety is heavy challenge when you've only visited a place a few times before. You really only get one shot at this every four-five years or so, and it pays to do as much research and discussion as possible.
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
5,988 posts, read 12,786,603 times
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Nrogers,

I would suggest looking into the cities of Medina (not to be confused with Edina), Dayton, and Corcoran. Those cities are right on the edge of that circle (about 15 miles from Mpls) and are much closer than Elk River and Big Lake, but are still primarily exurban to rural in character and still maintain that small town feel. Dayton and Medina will have the shortest commute, being that 94 runs through Dayton and Hwy 55 runs through Medina. Corcoran doesn't have any major highways running through it, so the commute will be longer, but still doable. Dayton also has the HUGE Elm Creek Nature Reserve, which is really nice, and plenty of new homes for sale. Dayton is also just north of Maple Grove and near the Arbor Lakes shopping area. Medina has homes with larger lots, and is near Plymouth and Minnetonka for shopping. It is also more expensive than Dayton, and you'd be hard pressed to stay within your price range there.

I know what you mean about "big city opportunity" with "small town feel." I moved from a small town in Michigan and I was looking for the exact same thing - a safe exurb/outer suburb with a small town feel. I ended up renting in Plymouth, but I like these cities better. I'm considering buying or renting in Dayton after my current lease is up - I've really fallen in love with the area.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:51 PM
 
1,807 posts, read 2,898,789 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
I know some of you smart-@sses out there will tell me to just "stay in Des Moines", but keep in mind I could have applied and been accepted to any place and I chose MSP for a reason. The reason for my scrutiny is that trying to find the exact right fit for a neighborhood and house (huge financial commitment) when you're responsible for a child's safety is heavy challenge when you've only visited a place a few times before.
Is this directed at me?
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:16 PM
 
136 posts, read 313,087 times
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My husband graduated from the U of MN law school, and I just want to say that I hope you can minimize your commute as much as possible, and choose a place where you can rely on public transportation. Do not plan on driving in to the West Bank every day - you will spend so much money on parking, and you won't be able to use your commute time to study. It is a hard, extremely time-consuming, rigorous program. Live close. Time with your family will be precious and you do not want to waste time commuting.

We moved from PA so that he could attend, and the way we went about it was by starting with the public transportation map. We only looked at places with great, direct, easy public transportation. We ended up in Uptown, but this was when we were younger and before having our 4 kids (we had 3 when I created my account here ). Not what you are looking for, but I will say that I love the Falcon Heights/St. Anthony Park idea, because you could take the campus shuttle which would be great. Did you look into the graduate student housing that is located there? We ended up on the waiting list.

Please, look at the public transportation options and choose your place based on that. You can move to the area with the small town feel AFTER you finish law school. Do not drive; do not live far from campus. Rent. Why would you want to buy, anyway, when you might be moving again in 3 years? That doesn't make sense to me.

I hear your concerns about safety, but honestly, the twin cities is extremely safe overall. It may take a bit of adjustment to your new neighborhood, but you'll adjust. We moved from a cushy suburb to Uptown - shocking at first, but seriously, it was the greatest 3 years.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Homewood (Willard-Hay, Mpls.)
51 posts, read 193,326 times
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Family of five, you took the words right out of my mouth. This thread has gotten so far away from what the original poster really ought to be looking at. The notion of exurban living while attending the U is *insane*, particularly if you want to have regular dinners with your family. With the stated budget of $145k, you would likely have to purchase in the core cities or find a distressed property in a first-tier suburb.

Initially, I attended the U for college while living in the suburbs, and I cannot stress enough how much money you will burn through on the overpriced parking in and around campus during the day. It is NOT worth it. By my quickie research on metrotransit.org, I see at least five major bus lines (plus the Hiawatha LRT) that drop you virtually at the doorstep of the Law School. To summarize:

The #2 bus line will get you to the Stevens Square and Ventura Village neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

The #3 bus line will get you to the Como area of SE Mpls, Falcon Heights, and the Como area of NW St. Paul.

The #7 bus line will get you to the Homewood, Willard-Hay, Old Highland, and Near North neighborhoods of North Minneapolis, as well as the many neighborhoods within the Longfellow community of Minneapolis.

The #16 bus line will get you to any number of St. Paul/Midway neighborhoods.

The #22 bus line will get you to any number of neighborhoods within the Camden community of Minneapolis, as well as Brooklyn Center and the Hawthorne, East Phillips, Corcoran, Standish, Ericsson, Keewaydin, Wenonah, Morris Park, and Minnehaha neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

Since grad school at the U (Carlson School of Management) may well be in my future plans, I considered what my transit options to the U were while mulling over the purchase of my house in the Homewood (Willard-Hay) neighborhood of Minneapolis. With the #7 bus stop at the end of my block, it's *19* minutes to/from the West Bank -- really, it's a no-brainer. And with the available city-wide WiFi service in Minneapolis, one can get stuff done on a laptop during the ride.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:54 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 25,557,541 times
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Don't forget the express (or limited stop) buses! Those run regularly from some parts of town (and often enough from others) and drastically speed up commuting time. The 113 and 114 from Uptown, for example (the 113 and 114 being a moot point in this case as the OP won't be able to afford to buy much, if anything, in those areas on that budget). In any case, the express/limited stop buses drop off right by the Law School, and they'll save a ton of money and time that would otherwise be spent dealing with parking. As a former U student myself I'll strongly echo the recommendation not to rely on driving to campus, at least not on a regular basis.
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:19 AM
 
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If you want to use public transportation and live outside of the city, most suburbs have express bus service into Minneapolis-Apple Valley, Lakeville, Eagan and Rosemount all have very nice transportation centers and express bus service. Other towns do as well but since you mentioned Apple Valley I threw those out there for reference. You will be happy in any of these towns. They have all the qualities you are looking for, especially low, low crime rates and nice, family oriented towns.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Homewood (Willard-Hay, Mpls.)
51 posts, read 193,326 times
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While there may be express buses from 3rd-tier suburbs like Apple Valley, you're talking about a 60-80 minute trip in each direction - and the buses go downtown, not to the U, necessitating a transfer to another route. Another concern is operating hours -- in the case of Apple Valley, that route does not operate after 10PM...an issue during late-night study sessions.

The original poster was talking about potentially making the commute twice each day. At 60-80 minutes, that's a nonstarter.
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:55 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 58,828,397 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbr1973 View Post
While there may be express buses from 3rd-tier suburbs like Apple Valley, you're talking about a 60-80 minute trip in each direction - and the buses go downtown, not to the U, necessitating a transfer to another route. Another concern is operating hours -- in the case of Apple Valley, that route does not operate after 10PM...an issue during late-night study sessions.

The original poster was talking about potentially making the commute twice each day. At 60-80 minutes, that's a nonstarter.
But the OP doesn't want to live in the city either. I wouldn't take a commuter bus either but I was pointing out that it was an option to not have to live in the city and take a bus. I can get to the West Bank in 35 minutes in bad traffic from Rosemount easily (except in a snow storm) so the commute from the southern suburbs is really a non-issue although there are those in the cities that never have never driven the route that seem to think otherwise.

Besides that, even if the route takes an hour each way, that is 2 hours of study time too.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:43 PM
 
Location: Here
415 posts, read 855,216 times
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To the OP. I'm a transplant, attended the U, and rented in the 7-Corners apt across the street from the law school. Instead of blowing $145k on a home that you may have to sell and move after 3-4 years, why not just bank it, rent, and buy a home once you know where you may end up working/practicing after a while. While the area around the U isn't exactly ideal to raising a child, a classmate of mine had their 2-year son in the same apt complex. He walked to the law school, came home for lunch and dinner. His wife was a nurse so he was able to be home when she needed to work. They made it work and minimize the time away from their child. When you find the need to recreate, spend that time driving/biking with the family to the lakes or to Guthrie close by. There is a fantastic green space that would substitute for an inner city park. Like I said, it's not ideal, but what you're looking to accomplish would keep you away from home more than you realize. If that's the case, you might as well come up here on your own and leave your wife and child in Waukee and go home on Fri-Monday.
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