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Old 03-16-2014, 06:59 AM
 
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I will be moving to St louis end of may with wife and 2 kids age 11 and 7. This will be a permanent move, and we are looking to find the best schools for our kids to finish their time, and also a good family neighborhood so our kids will be able to meet other kids quickly. Our daughter is in gifted program locally and we would like it to continue. House budget is around 350, and we have beens seating online, but it is really hard to get a feel for anything on the computer. Some areas we have looked at are

Kirkwood
Chesterfield
Crestwood

Any feedback on schools are best and family friendly neighborhoods is appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:20 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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I think all of those areas would be fine, but they are different. Kind of depends what you want and where you want to be in relation to the rest of the metro. Chesterfield is newer housing stock, father from the city, in the Parkway School District. Very nice, but farther out, more traditional modern suburbia, subdivisions, etc. Good schools.

Crestwood is in near south county, older, more post world war II type housing, Lindbergh Schools. For what it's worth, I've heard Lindbergh actually has a very good gifted program. Suburbia but less modern than Chesterfield but closer in. Lots of brick ranches built in the 50's.

Kirkwood is close to Crestwood, but older, inner suburb with older homes, more of a small town feel within the bigger suburbs, closer to the city and Clayton. It has its own little downtown area, most of it is walkable, etc The school district has a good reputation, will be somewhat more diverse than Lindbergh or Parkway schools.

Last edited by MUTGR; 03-16-2014 at 08:45 AM..
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:22 AM
 
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Thanks, it seems like we will have to get out there and drive around to see what feels best. Are any of those areas changing, i.e. getting better or worse the last few years. Hate to move to an area on the decline
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Since schools are a priority, I would look into the Ladue school district. While your budget won't get you in Ladue (city of) proper, it may get you into Frontenac or Olivette, both of which feed into the Ladue school district, which is ranked #1 in the state of Missouri.

Kirkwood is a lovely area and the school district is considered good. Another user on here has kids in Kirkwood schools so he'd be able to help you more. Chesterfield is also good.

However, if I had a budget of $350k and was looking for the best school for gifted kids, I'd definitely start my search in the Ladue school district.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:35 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingconger View Post
Thanks, it seems like we will have to get out there and drive around to see what feels best. Are any of those areas changing, i.e. getting better or worse the last few years. Hate to move to an area on the decline
I don't think Kirkwood, Crestwood or Chesterfield are on the decline, but Kirkwood and Crestwood are both older and have parts that are a little more seedy than you would find in Chesterfield, IMHO. There are areas of St Louis county in decline but I personally don't believe you see that in those three areas you mentioned. In Kirkwood, where I live, they are knocking down older houses and putting in very expensive new homes. Not crazy about it, but seems to suggest the area is getting more affluent, not less.

Crestwood has a little of the south county hoosier effect going on but I'm not sure how to adequately express that to someone not from the area. That's just my personal opinion and bias having lived in the area my entire life.

Most people either are drawn to Kirkwood and its older small town quaintness or to Chesterfied and its more modern affluent suburbia. Depends what you prefer. I live in Kirkwood and my kids go to the schools, but when I sometimes feel like I'd like a newer bigger house, I look at Chesterfield. Can never quite pull the trigger though as I love Kirkwood when it comes down to it.

If you like Kirkwood, you might as well put Webster on your list, although I think Kirkwood schools are better (my bias perhaps).

Last edited by MUTGR; 03-16-2014 at 08:50 AM..
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glamatomic View Post
Since schools are a priority, I would look into the Ladue school district. While your budget won't get you in Ladue (city of) proper, it may get you into Frontenac or Olivette, both of which feed into the Ladue school district, which is ranked #1 in the state of Missouri.

Kirkwood is a lovely area and the school district is considered good. Another user on here has kids in Kirkwood schools so he'd be able to help you more. Chesterfield is also good.

However, if I had a budget of $350k and was looking for the best school for gifted kids, I'd definitely start my search in the Ladue school district.

Good Luck!
Yep, Ladue and Clayton should probably be added to the list.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:54 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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Oh and I agree with MUTGR- I wouldn't consider Kirkwood, Crestwood or Chesterfield to be on the decline, but there are less desirable / shabbier areas within Kirkwood and Crestwood (although not en masse, just little pockets of areas that could be improved upon, but that's like anywhere). Chesterfield is mostly newer.

However, like I said, I would probably try to scope out areas within the Ladue School District, and Clayton as MUTGR suggested. You won't get as much bang for your buck as far as house is concerned, but at least you'll be confident that you're in the best-of-the-best school district.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:06 PM
 
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Agree with mutgr - compared to Kirkwood, Chesterfield, Clayton and Ladue, there is almost no snob-factor in Crestwood; it has a sizable blue collar population and presents itself more visually as salt of the earth. With a $350 budget you can find 3 beds and 2 baths in pretty much any school district, although Clayton would be the most difficult (i.e., your search there would turn up the dumpiest 3 bed 2 bath compared to all the other options). I would add Brentwood to your mix.

Given that you have kids 7 and 11, that suggests to me that you will be looking for a little more than a starter home - 1500-1800 square feet might feel too snug with teenage kids. Here are some options you might consider, links with commentary (disagreements are welcome from locals!):

This house is in a nice part of Fenton - 25 minutes from downtown, south county is very nice and family friendly, leans a bit conservative socially overall, and over-indexes caucasian. Served by the Rockwood school district which is considered very good.

2174 Avalon Ridge Circle, Fenton, MO 63026 (MLS# 14006890) - Fenton MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

This is one of many in Ballwin, which is served by Rockwood and Parkway school districts, this one happens to be Rockwood. A bit longer commute, probably 35 to downtown in typical traffic. Very mainstream and suburban like Chesterfield; a bit more diversity and international flavor in Chesterfield and Ballwin compared to south county, probably closer to national representation.

1060 Camargo Drive, Ballwin, MO 63011 (MLS# 14011111) - Ballwin MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

This one is in a snazzy part of Brentwood, near Tilles park. Like Kirkwood and Webster Groves, it is a desirable area, because it is walkable, very central (maybe 20 min to downtown and much less to other attractions), tons of families, excellent school district. Mature trees, sidewalks, etc... but you can see the difference in what you get for the neighborhood.

9426 White Avenue, Brentwood, MO 63144 (MLS# 14004464) - Brentwood MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

This one is in Kirkwood, though I am not sure about the specific hood (mutgr?) I think this is a nice part of town, although if I were buying in Kirkwood, I would go out of my way to purchase something within a half or maybe 3/4 mile from it's lovely downtown, even if that meant buying a fixer upper, but that is just me. Kirkwood is pure Americana - white picket fences, affluent, extremely family friendly.

5 Sunset Lane, Kirkwood, MO 63122 (MLS# 14000508) - Kirkwood MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

This one is over budget but you can often find homes similar to this at $350 in Olivette, which is served by Ladue schools. The gifted program is well-liked and difficult to get into - lots of precocious kids. The neighborhoods tend to be more bucolic and less walkable - the family-index is probably lower than Kirkwood and Chesterfield, but still the schools draw many families into the more accessible neighborhoods such as this one. You could also keep an eye on parts of Richmond Heights served by Ladue schools.

465 Beauwood Court, St. Louis, MO 63132 (MLS# 14010066) - St. Louis MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

Finally there is good old Clayton. At 350 you are relegated to small condos or else a single family like this one in Richmond Heights. Everyone likes Clayton because it is rich, some nightlife, seems sophisticated on some levels, many international folks due to big business and university affiliations. I guess I would at least look at it since good schools are a priority and it is only the most central neighborhood in metro St. Louis, but the housing options won't be extravagant:

465 Beauwood Court, St. Louis, MO 63132 (MLS# 14010066) - St. Louis MO Real Estate - St Louis #1 Home Seller

Bottom line - I'd look into Kirkwood, Creve Couer/Olivette (within Ladue schools), Richmond Heights (in either Ladue or Clayton), and Brentwood, but I'd double check on the gifted program for all of them - I'm sure they are all good. That's just me.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:20 PM
 
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/thanks for all the advice. We will be out in 2 weeks to do some diving around and see which part works best. We are looking for a house with some space, as kids are growing fast. Homes seem affordable in Fenton, what is community like?
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Old 03-16-2014, 04:09 PM
 
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Fenton community is pretty good. River Chase is a nice community center; great pool and workout facilities. There are some beautiful parks and green spaces all around it. It is not pretentious - even in it's nicer subdivisions, it's the kind of place where you'll see middle aged guys chatting over a couple of Bud Light's in the driveway. There are some very upscale subdivisions and some more hard scrabble types down in the river bottoms. The northern sections of Fenton are served by Lindbergh and the rest is Rockwood Summit; I know the latter has a very active PTA. All-in-all I'd give it pretty good marks for standard of living, although it is completely car-dependent.
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