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Old 11-05-2021, 09:33 AM
44 posts, read 41,156 times
Reputation: 70


My hubby's job search continues, and next up on the list of possibilities is Valparaiso. Looking for feedback on the following....

Schools -- specifically high schools. I want teachers who teach, not just throw chromebooks at the kids and call it a day. A JROTC program and lots of extracurricular activities (not just sports) would be ideal. I think we'll probably have to do public school, unless there are inexpensive (less than $15K/year) private options.

Commute to Chicago -- is that realistic on a daily basis? Hubby would be working in Valparaiso but I'd probably have more luck finding something in my field in a larger city.

Racism -- I've done some reading about the history of Valpo as a sundown town and find that concerning. We're a white family currently living in the rural south and I've been appalled by the blatant racism we've seen here. (Not that racism doesn't exist everywhere, but I'd like to at least be somewhere where public school teachers don't use the n-word.)

Community -- We're originally from New England and are NOT religious. We like things like town squares, public libraries, bookstores, public transportation, corner stores, community centers, walkable downtowns, independently-owned businesses, local historical societies, old houses, getting involved in local government and sidewalks. We do NOT like communities where cultural life revolves around church, where you have to drive everywhere, where every house looks the same, where you can't get involved in local schools/government/etc. or where there are HOAs.

We're headed out in a few weeks to look around. Anything in particular we should keep an eye out for?

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 11-05-2021, 09:42 AM
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Reputation: 15
The downtown in Valparaiso is fantastic with lots of restaurants and they have festivals/parades there as well.

The downtown are has old historic houses that are beautiful and unique but the new exurban areas being built out tend to have cookie cutter houses that require driving to get anywhere.

They do have a shuttle bus that runs to/from Chicago for people who work there. See the link for more details.

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Old 11-05-2021, 10:31 AM
Location: Chicagoland
93 posts, read 113,063 times
Reputation: 122
Valparaiso has a wonderful downtown. It's filled with shops and restaurants, bookstores, community centers, etc. Based on what you wrote, Valparaiso seems like a wonderful fit. I can't speak on public transportation, but there is a V-Line in the town that can take you around. The downtown area has a lot of beautiful older homes surrounding it. The town is quite large, so there is a variety of housing stock available. Valparaiso feeds into several high schools as well, so keep that in mind when searching for homes.

In regards to a JROTC program, I'm not sure any of the high schools in Valparaiso offer one. Do keep that in mind, particularly if that's a deal breaker. I'm not sure if they bus the kids to other schools with programs (maybe as an after-school extracurricular), so it wouldn't hurt reaching out to the school to see if they offer anything similar.

The commute to Chicago would be hefty around rush hour, especially depending on where you're working in the city. My husband commutes to the city by car, and traffic can be a nightmare. There is the South Shore line that takes you to the city, so that would be an option as well.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:33 AM
Location: Chicago
31 posts, read 28,532 times
Reputation: 39
If I'm not mistaken, property taxes are insanely low.
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:06 AM
Location: Floyd County, IN
26,043 posts, read 45,003,925 times
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Originally Posted by Dominic Kosteris View Post
If I'm not mistaken, property taxes are insanely low.
Indiana has a state statute that caps property taxes at 1% of the assessed value. Valparaiso housing prices aren't cheap, but they are certainly not as spendy as the the wealthier Chicagoland suburbs on the north and northwest side.
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Old 03-12-2022, 12:27 AM
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I grew up in Valparaiso (live in St. Louis, MO now), and my dad (mom is deceased) lives there now. I think the influence of Valparaiso University brings the community more open mindedness and some great cultural opportunities too. There are lots of liberal academic people. And there has been a lot of great development downtown. It's a great community with a walkable super cute active downtown. Public schools have always been top notch and some of the best in the state. I don't know about a JROTC program. You'd have to check, but extracurricular activities are exceptional in the public schools (way more than just sports). I think Valpo ticks your boxes with the exception of the commute to Chicago.

I have stayed with my parents on occasion and used public transportation when I had to be in downtown Chicago for work (drive to Ogden Dunes, took South Shore in, etc.), and I thought that was horrific (so much time involved). Take a look on google maps at rush hour time to some businesses in your field in Chicago. It would not be something I'd consider on a regular basis.

As much as I absolutely love and recommend Valparaiso, I would be concerned about commuting to a job in Chicago. Valpo's about as far out as you can get and still be in what is considered the Chicago metro area. It's a lovely small community bordering on more rural farm areas. But a community with Valpo's population just isn't going to have the job market of a larger city or close in suburb. It's more of an independent little city than a Chicago suburb due to the distance from Chicago. Hey, that's why so many of us who grew up in Valparaiso and love it move when we are out of college to get good jobs in our fields.

On the NWI forums for regular commutes to Chicago, the Munster area is typically the area recommended. But that's not anywhere close to Valpo.

Last edited by Kathy884; 03-12-2022 at 12:47 AM..
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