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Old 07-27-2012, 03:27 PM
 
9 posts, read 26,106 times
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Relocating due to wife's new job in Merrillville IN. Have two teenage children so schools are extremely important as well as safe family oriented community. May need to commute downtown Chicago for work. Looked at several communities in the area but some were too congested and others too rural. Does anyone have any input on the two communities (understand taxes are high in IL and shopping is not great in Crown Point) but would really like to know which area will be easier for the kids to fit in. Don't want a high school with alot of drugs or unwelcoming kids. Any input much appreciated! Looking for a neighborhood in 400,000 range. Also, Chesterton is an area that has been mentioned but seemed pretty rural - any input would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 07-27-2012, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
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Crown Point and Munster have some of the best schools in the state of Indiana outside of the Indianapolis suburbs.
Also you have to consider property taxes in Indiana are capped at 1%. Illinois doesnt have that and income taxes are higher in Ill. plus the schools arent any different than Indiana's.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:13 PM
 
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I would say Munster due to great schools, great amenities, and very safe. But you may find that it is too congested. Schererville or Saint John may work for you as they have good schools, safe, are not far from Merrillville and still within 45 mins to Chicago.

Crown Point borders Merrillville so the commute for your wife would be excellent. The schools are good, however, getting to Chicago is a little annoying (even if you live right off of 65.
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:08 PM
 
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There are several towns that you'd probably be happy with in NWI, but I'd ask for more info from you first before giving recommendations. How frequently would you be commuting to Chicago? Enough to want to live closer to Chicago or not enough where an occasional hour and 20 minute drive is okay? When you say some suggestions you've received are towns that are too congested and some too rural, what exactly are you lookin for? A larger lot? A newly constructed (last 10 years) McMansion home in a subdivision or a more established community and older home? Towns you'll want to consider have been listed and I agree: Crown Point, St. John, Schererville, Munster, Dyer. All are nice communities, with good schools and are safe. I'd actually compare Frankfort, IL to St. John more than any town in Indiana with a lot of large new homes, larger lots, and comparable schools. Not trying to be a smartass, but honestly, you won't find a school in Chicago suburbs or NWI that doesn't have drugs or unwelcoming kids. It's all about the choices your child makes. But anyway, if you could prioritize a little more and provide some more details, we could probably give you better suggestions. Would be happy to help.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:56 AM
 
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Thanks for the feedback, it all helps. To be honest, thought Munster would be the perfect place given the great schools and distance from Chicago. However, when we visited the smell from the landfill park and barbed wire around the "gated" community scared us. We live in a area with nice parks and biking trails and really enjoy that. Drove toward St. John/Dyer but didn't find a whole lot but corn fields. (Maybe we didn't go to the right area) Finally ended up in downtown Crown Point and felt like it might be somewhere we could live. Found a development near the high school that was nice. Not interested in a McMansion in the middle of a corn field - just would like a nice upper middle class community with descent access to the city. Everyone seems to be steering us away from Crown Point and into Valpo - but feel like it is too far if I have to commute into the city. Is there a reason to stay away from Crown Point? Should we consider Chesterton?
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Old 07-28-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Edmonds, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendellw View Post
Thanks for the feedback, it all helps. To be honest, thought Munster would be the perfect place given the great schools and distance from Chicago. However, when we visited the smell from the landfill park and barbed wire around the "gated" community scared us. We live in a area with nice parks and biking trails and really enjoy that. Drove toward St. John/Dyer but didn't find a whole lot but corn fields. (Maybe we didn't go to the right area) Finally ended up in downtown Crown Point and felt like it might be somewhere we could live. Found a development near the high school that was nice. Not interested in a McMansion in the middle of a corn field - just would like a nice upper middle class community with descent access to the city. Everyone seems to be steering us away from Crown Point and into Valpo - but feel like it is too far if I have to commute into the city. Is there a reason to stay away from Crown Point? Should we consider Chesterton?
Chesterton would be a plausible option for you and it definitely is not "rural". It's a smaller town than Valpo or CP but very suburban in character and growing very quickly. A commute into Chicago from Chesterton will be long but not as long as from Valpo because of its proximity to the freeway. You can get from Chesterton to Chicago easily in under 1 hour without traffic. Chesterton is 20 minutes or less from Merrillville if you take I-94 south to I-65, assuming no traffic. Schools are great, on par with Valpo schools.

The South Shore also has a stop in Chesterton (Dune Park) but you'd be looking at a 1.5 hour commute by train.

As far as Crown Point goes, I don't know any reason why people would be steering you "away" from there. Crown Point is a nice area with good schools and very much on the same level as Valpo, Chesterton, etc.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:50 PM
 
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I'd have to assume that he would be commuting to Chicago during normal rush hours where there will always be a lot of traffic. That's why I didn't include Valpo or Chesterton. I've made the commute to Chicago from Porter County several times in rush hour both via train and car, and it's brutal.

There's not a whole lot of bad to say about Crown Point. Good schools and a nice downtown. I considered moving there but it was just too far away from Chicago for my daily commute downtown. I know some living in Crown Point who think that the crime spillover from Merrillville is inevitable with all the apartments there, but I don't think that's imminent. I also wouldn't consider Crown Point to be upper middle class as you've mentioned you may prefer. I'd consider CP to be a blue collar family oriented town with people mostly living in older homes, with a mixture in the last 15 years of some families with money moving in and building larger homes.

Again not including the Porter County towns, I would rank Schererville and Munster as the towns in Lake County that have both trails, running paths, and great parks.

Last edited by svillechris; 07-28-2012 at 01:56 PM..
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Old 07-28-2012, 01:48 PM
 
2,888 posts, read 6,738,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendellw View Post
Thanks for the feedback, it all helps. To be honest, thought Munster would be the perfect place given the great schools and distance from Chicago. However, when we visited the smell from the landfill park and barbed wire around the "gated" community scared us. We live in a area with nice parks and biking trails and really enjoy that. Drove toward St. John/Dyer but didn't find a whole lot but corn fields. (Maybe we didn't go to the right area) Finally ended up in downtown Crown Point and felt like it might be somewhere we could live. Found a development near the high school that was nice. Not interested in a McMansion in the middle of a corn field - just would like a nice upper middle class community with descent access to the city. Everyone seems to be steering us away from Crown Point and into Valpo - but feel like it is too far if I have to commute into the city. Is there a reason to stay away from Crown Point? Should we consider Chesterton?
There is no reason you should avoid Crown Point. I graduated from High School there, it's a nice little town. It's very similar to Valpo because they are both county seats, court houses downtown, etc. Your insurance would be cheaper in Porter County.

As far as Crown Point crime goes, if you look in-town or to the South of the city you'll be ok. I think the only area that people might be concerned about is at the far Northern edge of CP. Those kids go to Merrillville schools. You def. would want your kids in CP schools.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:06 PM
 
2,156 posts, read 5,488,415 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendellw View Post
Thanks for the feedback, it all helps. To be honest, thought Munster would be the perfect place given the great schools and distance from Chicago. However, when we visited the smell from the landfill park and barbed wire around the "gated" community scared us. We live in a area with nice parks and biking trails and really enjoy that. Drove toward St. John/Dyer but didn't find a whole lot but corn fields. (Maybe we didn't go to the right area) Finally ended up in downtown Crown Point and felt like it might be somewhere we could live. Found a development near the high school that was nice. Not interested in a McMansion in the middle of a corn field - just would like a nice upper middle class community with descent access to the city. Everyone seems to be steering us away from Crown Point and into Valpo - but feel like it is too far if I have to commute into the city. Is there a reason to stay away from Crown Point? Should we consider Chesterton?
The gated community you saw was Briar Ridge which is actually half into Schererville and half in Dyer. I don't know why the barbed wire would scare you (as it is mainly on the non-decorative fences) but the area is one of the safest areas in NWI (even the non-gated places) .

The reason you probably saw a lot of cornfields is because you were in the outskirts of those towns that probably are zoned to Hanover Township schools (which btw, unless you want long drives to schools in Cedar Lake, don't move to the Hanover part of Dyer and Saint John).

Crown Point is a nice city. The main reason why some people are steered away from that city is partially because it is not a very good commute to Chicago. However, some people do think that violent crime will eventually become commonplace in CP. From North to South you have Gary, Merrillville, and CP all along Broadway. Ppl typically call this the "path of destruction" because of how crime has seriously impacted Gary and Merrillville. CP has taken many measures to insure that this does not happen to their city and that it remains a nice, safe, community to live in. But others think that it is fruitless efforts.

I wouldnt let this bother you though because CP is attracting man families from all over the area for its nice amenities and good value.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:19 PM
 
9 posts, read 26,106 times
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Thank you for the great info!
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