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Old 10-02-2014, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Ithaca
5 posts, read 8,402 times
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Hi everyone. We are a family with 3 young boys. We currently live in ithaca ny. I am a health care professional and have the opportunity to possibly move to one of the three mentioned places. Where do you think would be a great fit for us? We are a health minded, active family and are looking for the best place to raise our children.
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Central Texas. Wait, I mean South Texas. Actually, both Central and South Texas
317 posts, read 525,151 times
Reputation: 382
Greetings,

I'll call myself an expert on Westmont since I grew up there and lived in Johnstown for 26 of my 30 years. Westmont is a very quiet, sleepy, quaint borough. Great public school system. Extremely safe. Keep in mind Johnstown is one of the most economically distressed cities in the country. I would only consider two School Districts in the Johnstown area. Westmont and Richland. The only real places to go shopping in J-Town are in Richland. (Walmart Plaza and the Galleria Mall) So you might want to consider Richland as well. J-Town is only about 1 hr 20 mins from Pittsburgh, something to consider.

Ebensburg is more redneck. I mean J-Town itself is pretty redneck, but Ebensburg even more so. I worked there for a few years and the people are really friendly. Smaller than Johnstown and Hollidaysburg/Altoona area.

Hollidaysburg is close to Altoona. Decent public schools (Hollidaysburg is significantly better than Altoona). Altoona probably has more amentities than the Johnstown area, but it's still a small town. One advantage, Hollidaysburg is only about 45 mins from State College (PSU)

I wouldn't really consider any community in Western/Central Pennsylvania to have an abundance of "health minded, active" people. Sure you will have a few active people, but most aren't.

I might be able to give you better info if you tell me more about your needs/wants.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:41 AM
 
4,077 posts, read 3,251,246 times
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Ebensburg is very small and offers little in entertainment and retail.

Hollidaysburg is a nice place. It's where the affluent people of Blair County live. Homes are a little on the pricey side for central Pennsylvania, but it may be worth it because of the added recreation, shops, and restaurants.
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Old 10-04-2014, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Ithaca
5 posts, read 8,402 times
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Thanks so much for getting back to me. It seems we have it narrowed down to westmont/richland vs. Hollidaysburg. I prefer an older neighborhood with character and an updated older home and my wife prefers a newer home in a nice neighborhood. We both would like professional families in our age range (wife is 33, i am 37) who have children in close age to ours (<10 years old). Important things to us are school district; best cost of living so we can retire early; nice gym; good preschool; healthy grocery shopping and good shopping in general. Hope that gives you an idea of what we're looking for.
Thanks.
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Old 10-04-2014, 07:47 PM
 
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Um, these towns aren't exactly yuppie liberal paradises. Much that you might like about Ithaca simply won't be available - your choice among GreenStar, Wegmans, and Tops is quite firmly "none of the above."

I suspect relative proximity to Pittsburgh on the weekends would be a positive factor to Westmont. Old Westmont is a spectacularly sited neighborhood, much more dramatic than older Hollidaysburg neighborhoods.

Bear in mind US 22 over Cresson mountain between Ebensburg and I-99 is subject to white-out conditions. I don't know how long you've lived in central NY or watched the Syracuse TV, but that area around Cresson atop the Eastern Continental Divide is comparable to the northern suburbs of Syracuse (say, Baldwinsville) in snow squall potential. (And, actually for the same reason, the elevation scrapes moisture out of winds off the Great Lakes.) It will be snowier than Ithaca up there, although not quite like Oswego or Tug Hill. However, down in the valley Hollidaysburg is much less snowy than Ithaca is - a significant elevation difference compared to the Finger Lakes region.
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Ithaca
5 posts, read 8,402 times
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Thanks for the feedback. I know that the area has a totally different culture compared to Ithaca. I guess we just want to know which area will be the best fit for us socially. Does Westmont have a lot of professionals in their 30's and 40's with young families? How about Holidaysburg?
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:51 AM
 
5,054 posts, read 5,025,088 times
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The closest equivalent to Ithaca would be State College, which is about 45 minutes to Hollidaysburg by I-99. I like State College much better than Ithaca, which has a lot of dumpy areas. There are very nice newer developments south of State College around Port Matilda. You could cut your commuting time to Hollidaysburg to 30 to 35 minutes from Port Matilda.

The State College Schools are top notch, the amenities many (including a Wegmans) and there is an army of professionals of all stripes to interact with.
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Old 10-05-2014, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Central Texas. Wait, I mean South Texas. Actually, both Central and South Texas
317 posts, read 525,151 times
Reputation: 382
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbar27 View Post
Thanks so much for getting back to me. It seems we have it narrowed down to westmont/richland vs. Hollidaysburg. I prefer an older neighborhood with character and an updated older home and my wife prefers a newer home in a nice neighborhood. We both would like professional families in our age range (wife is 33, i am 37) who have children in close age to ours (<10 years old). Important things to us are school district; best cost of living so we can retire early; nice gym; good preschool; healthy grocery shopping and good shopping in general. Hope that gives you an idea of what we're looking for.
Thanks.
If you are looking for older homes/neighborhoods I would start with Westmont, especially "Old Westmont". You will find some beautiful older homes on tree-lined streets. Of course there are also some older homes in Richland and Hollidaysburg, but you are more likely to encounter the cookie cutter type homes/neighborhoods that popped up in the 60s through 90s.

Westmont/Richland is home for many professionals. However, most will be in their 40s, 50s or early 60s. I'm pretty sure that demographic will be similar in Hollidaysburg. Outside of Pittsburgh, you won't find large pockets of professionals in their 30s anywhere in Western PA.

I believe you will be able to get more house for your money in Westmont/Richland. Homes in Hollidaysburg are far from pricey, but are still a bit more when comparing similar homes in Westmont/Richland. I was looking at home prices in Westmont the other day out of curiosity, and I almost fell out of my chair because they were so low.

I think it's going to be nearly impossible to satisfy your shopping needs in the Johnstown or Altoona areas. If that is really important to you, then you might want to consider living in Westmont/Richland and making regular trips to Pittsburgh. As ki0eh mentioned, the culture/mentality of Western PA is totally different from the Ithaca region. I would describe the prevailing disposition as tough, gritty and blue collar. However, I know plenty of liberal professionals in Westmont/Richland. Also, Richland is home to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, a liberal-leaning university that is right across the street from the new Richland High School. I graduated from "UPJ" and most of my Profs lived in Richland.
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Old 10-05-2014, 03:15 PM
 
4,077 posts, read 3,251,246 times
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Where exactly will you be working?
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Old 10-05-2014, 03:27 PM
 
Location: A coal patch in Northern Appalachia
8,222 posts, read 8,602,441 times
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I'm familiar with Hollidaysburg, Ebensburg, and Westmont but have never actually lived in any of them. I'm also familiar with Ithaca since I once considered moving there. I agree with most of the comments here. These three towns will be a let down compared to Ithaca. Ithaca is most comparable to State College since both are primarliy college towns. Johnstown has a small branch campus of the University of Pittsburgh but Johnstown is definitely not a college town like Ithaca or State College, or towns like Indiana, Slippery Rock, Clarion and Bloomsburg. Johnstown is a declining blue collar industrial town that has lost virtually all of its industry. Ebensburg is a nice small town and is the county seat of Cambria County, but it has very little little else going for it. Hollidaysburg/Altoona developed because of the railroad industry and nothing has really replaced it. Altoona has a decent mall. Ebensburg has virtually no shopping except for Wal-Mart.

The Hollidaysburg, Central Cambria, and Westmont-Hilltop school districts are all above average. Hollidaysburg is the largest of the three. Central Cambria, and Westmont-Hilltop are slighly smaller than the average PA school district and their enrollments seem to be on the decline.

I'm guessing your job offer in health care is related to nursing home/senior living since there no hospitals in Hollidaysburg or Ebensburg. Conemaugh Health System is the only health care provider in Cambria County and they recently were acquired by Duke LifePoint Healthcare and my understanding is they currently have a hiring freeze.
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