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Old 11-13-2006, 07:41 PM
2 posts, read 23,704 times
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I was born a Hoosier ( grew up in Vermillion county), but I have been living in norhtern CA for 16 years. Due to my Mom's ailing health, I am moving my family to Indiana. My family is looking for a town that is diverse with good schools that has a reasonable commute to Chicago. Rather than just rely on test scores for schools I thought I would ask the experts; is there a good place to race a family there that has a diverse population? Looking At Merrillville, Munster, Crown Point area.
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Old 11-16-2006, 07:45 PM
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Crown Point and Munster are ok. I'd stay away from Merrillville, too much traffic.

You'll get a lot of State-line traffic in Munster as well, just not as bad as Merrillville.

Crown Point is the County seat. Its a nice town, close to shopping, etc.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:50 AM
Location: Northwest Indiana
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Based on the information you have provided, Munster seems the best option. It is the best place to live for schools, diverse population and low commute time to Chicago. Only problem is the real estate prices are higher than for other NW Indiana cities. If you have a house in Northern California, then you can probably afford Munster. If not, I agree with the other people who mentioned Crown Point as a second alternative. Merrillville does have a lot of traffic but some people really like being near all the shopping. I just talked to someone yesterday who lives in Indy now but is hoping to move to Merrillville.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:22 AM
Location: Land of Ill Noise
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Though I'm not the best person when it comes to Northwest Indiana, you might want to consider Munster. It isn't far from where Purdue University-Calumet's campus is in nearby Hammond, not to mention I know someone who went there and liked it(and since I went there once to see a concert of a band I'm interested in about 11/2-2 years ago). Parts of Hammond are nice too, mainly the south area of town around Purdue U.-Calumet(I will recommend AGAINST the central part of town near Hammond's old downtown(the Waco neighborhood), due to crime reasons). FWIW, I also will recommend against East Chicago and(of course) Gary, too(the former, IIRC, has gang problems). You might also want to read up on other nearby communities too, such as Highland, Griffith, St. John, and Dyer(and just maybe, Whiting). I also hope someone does ultimately fill you in on what these communities are like, since my best experience of seeing Northwest Indiana was that night when I went through Hammond, and along Indianapolis Blvd.(US 41) to a shopping center south of I-80/94 to kill time before that concert.

I do know that the further south you go from Ridge Road(possibly with the exemption of Merrillville and Crown Point), the more rural towns get. You might also wanna look in the area around Dyer, since an Amtrak station serving the route between Chicago and Indianapolis 7 days a week(and also Cincinnati, Huntington WV, Charleston WV, Charlottesville, and Washington, D.C. 3 times a week) is located there. And don't hate me if I misjudged certain towns, and if they aren't as great(or even as bad) as I said. Good luck with your search, and I hope the people here who are much more familiar w/NW Indiana can fill you in on any further questions.
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Old 11-22-2006, 05:44 AM
Location: Bloomington IN
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I grew up in NW Indiana and still have some family there. I'm not as familiar with it as I once was but can offer my impressions based on conversations with family and trips there a few times a year.

One thing you mention is wanting diversity. I'm assuming you mean racial/ethnic diversity. While Lake County overall is pretty diverse, towns tend to follow the pattern of Chicago, people of one ethnicity live in some places while people of another ethnicity live in others. I don't think it's that people of different backgrounds don't accept each other. It's just the way it is. (Before anyone that still lives there jumps on me for this, please keep in mind I'm talking in very general terms. I know this has changed a great deal in the 20 years since I lived there.)

I would not choose to live in Hammond, Gary, or East Chicago because of the schools.

I would also not choose to live in Whiting. The schools there always had lots of money because of the oil refinery, but the town always smelled because of the oil refinery. Whiting is also pretty cliquish. My parents owned a business in Whiting for over 20 years. It took at least 5 years before they were accepted because they were not from Whiting. (It would be a super easy commute to Chicago though!)

It seems that Crown Point and Munster are becoming more and more of a tax refuge for people from the Chicago suburbs. Overall they aren't really that diverse, but I would give Munster a higher rating on the diversity scale.

Dyer, St. John, and Schererville students go to Lake Central schools. One of my cousins works in the district. According to her it's becoming more diverse.

From a diversity stand point Merrillville might be an option, but I understand the schools could be an issue there.

I'm most familiar with Griffith since I was raised there. I can definitely say that the schools are far more diverse than when I was a student there. Coming from CA though you may not be able to find the type of housing you wish to find.

Highland has lots of businesses, but doesn't seem to have changed a lot to me over the years. Nice little town, but never had a "town" feeling to me because of the way it's laid out.

I hope these impressions help you somewhat. Welcome back to Indiana!
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Old 12-03-2006, 10:11 AM
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I would stay away from Merrillville..though diverse, not exactly the nicest place to raise a family lately. Its becoming quite crowded and the school system is beginning to decline. If you want diversity, Crown Point and Munster are not your place. Although they are nice areas to live in with good school systems. Highland, parts of Hammond...even Schererville. Highland and Hammond are closer to Chicago...and once you get acclimated with the area, you can learn the side streets to avoid the trecherous traffic that you'll face going into Chicago.

Nice homes in Munster and Schererville...coming from California, Im sure you'll have no problem affording one.

Sports are big in the schools...so if your kids are into Basketball, Football, Baseball or cheerleading...they'll love it here!

Good Luck!!
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Old 12-03-2006, 03:15 PM
Location: The Region Yo
71 posts, read 227,846 times
Reputation: 96
Munster is the place you're looking for. The school system is one of the most highly ranked in the state...not just from a standardized testing standpoint, but by achievement. Because of the high concentration of professionals living there, the students are highly competitive and motivated to get into good schools. I am a product of Munster public schools and I was OVER prepared for college due to the competitiveness (that's not meant to be a bad thing). While it is not exactly a blue collar town, there are very nice areas that have a large population of craftsmen, technicians, etc high on their pay scale. That means housing tends to be a bit higher than elsewhere in the "Region"; however, taxes are very reasonable because Munster is mostly built out and does not need to build schools, utilities, etc. Ethnic diversity is pretty high, but most of the groups are all sort of in the same boat since they are fairly well off in Munster. Highways and public transportation to Chicago are very accessible. All that and it's got one of the best microbreweries in the country too!
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:28 PM
Location: Tampa Bay
489 posts, read 2,014,933 times
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When working in Chicago, consider taking the train into downtown Chicago and living near a train station. It was the South Shore train when I lived there, but I know they call it something else now. But if you inquire of anyone there concerning the South Shore trains or stations, they will know what you are talking about and can direct you. Yes it will cost to use the train to commute, but with salaries being so much better in downtown Chicago, you won't miss the cost of your train tickets at all! Also, I was born and raised in NW Indiana and lived there for 30 years. The South part of Hammond was always good and so was the Woodmar Country Club area and an older neighborhood with historic houses off of the intersection of 165th and Hohman Avenue. Also, if you take Hohman Avenue from that intersection toward Munster, you will find good neighborhoods along the way and can even live in that part of Munster if you will be taking the train into downtown Chicago or driving there. This area is very near the Illinois stateline and interstate.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:20 PM
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The South Shore is still called the South Shore. My daughter's boyfriend works there.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:22 PM
2 posts, read 23,704 times
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Default Thanks for all the advice

I just confirmed that we are moving soon, and we are certainly going to use all the comments to pick a great place. Thanks to everyone on the forum, and I will be sure to add all that I can for others with questions!
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