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Old 11-17-2008, 10:00 AM
 
4 posts, read 15,202 times
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Hi,
My husband is in the AF and we have put in for Grand Forks AFB for our next base. We really don't want to live on base and would like to find a nice house to buy in town. We have two boys one would be in the fifth grade and the other in second grade. I would like suggestions on nice family friendly areas of the city that would not be a extreme drive to the base for my husband. Currently he has about a twenty min. drive from our house to work. Is the city of Grand Forks terribly far from the base? If so is there other small towns that you would suggest? Any help would be great. We hope to be in ND by the end of summer 09. Thanks
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:44 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,818 posts, read 10,956,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AFmamma View Post
Hi,
My husband is in the AF and we have put in for Grand Forks AFB for our next base. We really don't want to live on base and would like to find a nice house to buy in town. We have two boys one would be in the fifth grade and the other in second grade. I would like suggestions on nice family friendly areas of the city that would not be a extreme drive to the base for my husband. Currently he has about a twenty min. drive from our house to work. Is the city of Grand Forks terribly far from the base? If so is there other small towns that you would suggest? Any help would be great. We hope to be in ND by the end of summer 09. Thanks
Hello

I live and work in the Grand Forks area (live in East Grand Forks MN) but work on the westside of Grand Forks just west of UND. I have been here for 10 years and keep pretty close tabs on the housing market.

As far as mileage the base if 15 miles west of the city limits of Grand Forks on Highway 2. Now...Highway 2 is the more industrial part of town and there have been many efforts to try to improve that area in Grand Forks to make it less industrial looking. Now, it isnt a slum or anything...but just more industrial and less residential looking. Many hotels are located at the I-29 and Highway 2 interchange. The main growth of the city has been on the southend (generally south of 32nd Ave S). There is an interchange at 32nd Ave S and I-29 which can then take you the 3 or so miles to Highway 2 exit and then the base would be about 18 miles or so west from that exit. Traffic will not bother you and the road to the base is 4 lane with speed limit 70 mph once you get outside of the city limits. So travel time even from the south end of Grand Forks would be 25 minutes or so....with closer to 15-20 minutes from the far west end of town.

What is your price range? I will send you a private message with links to the two main real estate companies in town which do have links to the MLS listings. North Grand forks is anything north of Demers Ave and South Grand Forks is anything south of that, although with all the growth on the south side Demers no longer represents the true center marking of the city.

There has been lots of new housing of late going up south of 32nd Ave and east of Columbia Road and west of Washington Street (Hwy 81). Google a map for refrence. Most of this land was farmland and is now slowly being turned into homes. Prices for most of these homes are in the 170s to 250s.
If you dont want a brand new home I recommend areas east of Washington and south of 32nd in the Sunbeam area as they call it. Most homes in this area were built in the 70s and 80s...with farther south off of 47th Ave S being built in the last 10 years. That southeast part of town is very residential and a nice area to live. The older more historical and maybe less cookie cutter type homes would be north of 32nd up Belmont Road to 13th Ave S. Travel time to the base likely nr 30 min.

Now...there is a very nice area of newer homes called Johnson's addition more in the western part of the town just east of the Alerus Center. Prices in the 200s into lower 300s.

All schools are good in GF so I wouldnt let that worry you. South Middle school is the newest one re-built on 47th Ave between Washington and Columbia after the 97 flood. Most of the west and south end of town send the kids there with the majority of these kids going to Century Elementary school which is the newest built. The southeast end of town east of Washington and south of about 24th Ave S go to Schroeder Middle School and nearby Kelly Elementary. There are other elementary schools farther north toward the heart of the city which are just as fine too. There are two high schools Central (north end of town) and Red River (south end).

There is a smaller area of homes built just after the flood north of Demers and south of Highway 2 on the far west and northwest end of town and would be closest in distance to the base (15-20 min). Homes are are a bit cheaper and less big but the neighborhood is nice with the Jaycees Park nearby. Prices here mostly 140-160s.

Now the housing market has slowed some...but we havent been hit by all the mess some other parts of the country have had. So when you arrive it is a buyers market and will likely still be next year as well so you will have a pick of homes more than likely.

Where are you from? I am sure you know about the weather...so wont bother with that. We have distinct seasons and I enjoy them all.

I will be happy to answer any questions.

Dan
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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I currently live in GFAFB housing, and have been for 5 years. About 90% of the housing is new with most 3bdr approx 1800sf. From base to Grand Forks is about 20 miles, is flat and absolutly horrible during winter. The crosswinds mixed with horrible road conditions have put many vehicles in the ditch during the 264 critical days of winter. It is not a place I would want to be stuck when its cold.

Also currently the base is under a BRAC. It will be significantly smaller over the next few years. That could have a big impact on your ability to sell a home later down the road.
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:49 PM
 
Location: 河南郑州, Kansas City, Iowa, Fargo
268 posts, read 1,610,690 times
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Originally Posted by nvrdun View Post
Also currently the base is under a BRAC. It will be significantly smaller over the next few years. That could have a big impact on your ability to sell a home later down the road.
Another pro you have going for you if you decide to sell your home is that GF is a college town, too. (University of North Dakota) It's not entirely dependent on the military for the economy. You could also rent your home to college students when you leave if the logistics are feasible.

I'm also surprised that it's on BRAC. When did this happen?
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Old 11-17-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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2005 is when it happened. First round was last year, final will be in 2010. Approx loss of 3K people. Thats a pretty significant downsize, when the population is only 4,800.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:51 AM
 
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I was told it was off the BRAC list, I was also told that it just got a new command?But you must know how miss information flows through the AF I never really know until orders come down. LoL. We are in Germany right now and we are asking to go to ND so we know about the weather. We know a lot of people that are leaving our base and getting the Grand Forks base. and I am impressed with the schools from what I read. I know that those BRAC lists change like the wind so I will hope for the best as far as that goes. We were in Cheyenne WY so I know all about winter winds but thanks for the update on winter road cond. And for all of your good imput.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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The main mis-information with BRAC is the first two letters. Base Re-alignment, which is what is affecting Grand Forks. It is not closing, just changing missions. It is re-aligning its entire fleet of airplanes, and eventually getting a new mission of UAV's. Which dont require pilots, and I guess they will be stationed at Grand Forks, and opperated out of Fargo.

The BRAC is definatly currently an on-going process. There is plenty of information on the net about the 2005 BRAC if you need more info.
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:20 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
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AFmamma

Here is a very recent article in the Grand Forks Herald about the base...its new command...and changes...


MILITARY APPRECIATION: Taking on new missions, big and small at GFAFB |* Grand Forks Herald *| Grand Forks, North Dakota (http://www.grandforksherald.com/articles/index.cfm?id=92366 - broken link)


FYI 3 houses down from us we had a family move here last March who was stationed in Germany. He will retire from the AF here at Grand Forks. I am not sure exactly what he does there though. Now he was from central Minnesota while his wife was from the Texas/Louisiana area. You did mention about the weather. Have you or your family lived up north before? If not it will take some while getting used to as wind and cold are pretty much guaranteed for a few months in the winter. Of course cold is what you define it...some folks say its cold below 30F

We average about 40-45 inches of snow a year and average temps in January are highs in the teens and lows zero to 10 below. But these are averages and each day or month can have highly varied weather. But wind and blowing snow is an issue at times and Highway 2 from the Base to town being an east-west road can be shut down on occasions in the worst of weather. But in most years it isnt very often possible 1 or 2 times each winter and mostly at night too as vsby is less in the dark.

I am a weather forecaster here in town so if you want any more detailed weather info I can give it to you.

Dan
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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Hi, I may be moving to Grand Forks in may/June. I have been tracking Grand Forks weather since November 2008. The highs and lows are in negative! like -22, -14, etc. How does one deal with this? Are the roads cleared and safe to srive? Does the city close down on very bad weather days? Do the cars start in winter? thanks.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:11 PM
 
Location: E ND & NW MN
4,818 posts, read 10,956,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbwmn View Post
Hi, I may be moving to Grand Forks in may/June. I have been tracking Grand Forks weather since November 2008. The highs and lows are in negative! like -22, -14, etc. How does one deal with this? Are the roads cleared and safe to srive? Does the city close down on very bad weather days? Do the cars start in winter? thanks.
Hi...

Where are you at now? That determines a lot in terms of what you are used to. In terms of the cold...yeah it is cold and you deal with it. Most folks dont spend a lot of time outdoors when both highs/lows are below zero and there is a wind. Now last weekend it got up to 20-25 during the day and then everyone came out to go sledding at the lincoln park hill. But to live here you got to have a good coat, hat, gloves, scarf, etc...I dont know anyone who wears long johns, etc unless they work outside. It's not like you bike or walk around the neighborhood much when it is very cold so time outside when it is really cold is minimal...more of a run to the car and back inside type of thing.

For cars, yes you have to be careful to keep your battery in good working condition...especially if you must park outside at night. Many of the larger apartment complexes offer garages and by all means take advantage of them. But if you do have a stretch of below zero weather cars parked outside for a period without running may be difficulty starting. Otherwise if you must park outside overnight many folks plug their cars in at night and many apartment complexes and hotels have outside outlets for people to plug in their cars. A plug in heater unit costs 100 or so. Also, the auto-starts are worth their weight in gold in cold weather too as you can start your car from inside and by the time you go out and in it it is warmed up. Also you can program the auto-start to start the car every so often and then stop it. Again you really only have to worry about this a few times a year when it can be really really cold (like -20 to -30). Just zero or 5 or 10 above zero isnt any problems on cars.

As far as streets...well lets say everyone who comes here complains about GF streets. They plow when needed to remove the snow....but always leave that lower skim of snow at the bottom and in time it can turn to ice at intersections making them dangerous. I have slid through a many intersections in my day....but just take it easy and know ahead of time when you will stop is the key.

good luck
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