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Old 06-13-2008, 01:06 PM
3 posts, read 18,504 times
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My family and I are looking to re-locate out of the New Orleans, La area, and I possibly may have a job interview in Altoona. Any info about living in Altoona, and how is it raising a family there?
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Old 06-15-2008, 08:56 PM
1,932 posts, read 4,475,212 times
Reputation: 1240
Default Blunt Honesty...

Well, if you have a job to come to, that's a plus. Overall, Altoona's not great, but it's not the absolute worst either. It's a mid-sized city with smaller towns around it. It's in the Laurel Highlands of PA. The economy is stressed, but as I said, if you have a job to come to, you're already a step ahead.

It depends a great deal where you live in Altoona as to how much crime you're exposed to. Living further out from the downtown area is best. They have the usual drug issues, like most every other city. They have crime, but it's not widespread. The main problem areas are "intown" or what you'd call downtown Altoona, the neighborhoods around Altoona Hospital and Fairview Hills. These areas are mostly the folks with the least amount of income and where the drug issues are more apparent, which causes more petty crimes, like burglary.

Altoona overall, it's a safe place. If you can move to Hollidaysburg or Duncansville, two smaller towns about 5 to 10 miles south of Altoona, that would be even better. They're quaint and safer than Altoona.

Altoona schools are good. They have plenty of shopping. Not big on culture events. They have a minor-league baseball team, The Altoona Curve, which is a farm team for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They have Lakemont Park & Island Waterpark, a small amusement park that's family friendly and inexpensive and just 5 min. from downtown Altoona. There's also DelGrosso Amusement Park in Tipton, PA which is less than 30 min north of Altoona and is another small, inexpensive family friendly amusement/water park with free concerts during the summer.

Altoona hosts it's own campus of Penn State University. Can't forget the Railroader's Museum and Historic Horseshoe Curve.

Like I tried to say above, Altoona overall isn't a terrible city. It has pockets of trouble here and there, like any other city. It is a good town with good folks and a decent place to raise kids. As far as culture and events, it's not New Orleans or NYC or even Philly and Pittsburgh, but it has outdoor activities and amusement parks. It's not far to drive to the larger cities for culture. It's even close to Penn State main, where there is a smattering more culture and exhibits/shows up there. Hope this is beneficial to you.

Last edited by mams1559; 06-15-2008 at 09:05 PM.. Reason: added links
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Old 06-16-2008, 04:36 PM
Location: Richmond, VA
2,306 posts, read 1,648,513 times
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My parents work in Altoona, but live in the outskirts. (Bellwood) I graduated from Altoona High and when I went to school there (a little over 10 years ago) it wasn't bad...It was pretty good. But over the years that has changed. DOn't get me wrong, there are some great elementary schools but the problem is there is now only one junior high and one high school so your kids will be mixed in with some bad apples. I would suggest Hollidaysburg or Bellwood to live as I thin their school system is better. (My parents moved a few years after I graduated so my brothers would be in the Bellwood system.) Both Hollidaysburg and Bellwood are about 20 minutes from Altoona.
There are lots of places to eat in Altoona and they have an okay mall. Bowling, skating...It offers a lot in those terms...I just wouldn't want to live in Altoona. (Although there are some very nice parts to Altoona. By the Penn State campus used to be nice, and there are some decent places in the city...Greenwood is nice)
Good luck. You can work in ALtoona and find a very nic eplace to live. The good thing is cost of living is very affordable!
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:53 PM
3 posts, read 18,504 times
Reputation: 12
Default Thank you for the info

Thank you for your information. I am sure Altoona has its problems, but coming from New Orleans I dont know if the problems up there even come close to the problems here. Once again thank you and all of your information will help my wife and I make decisions.
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