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Old 08-25-2012, 10:05 PM
 
3 posts, read 46,230 times
Reputation: 12

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I've been reading these forums for years but this is my first time posting. So, if I'm doing something wrong, please let me know.

My husband was offered two jobs with his company, one in Green Bay and the other in Appleton. I understand that they're within commuting distance from each other, but we'd rather he live closer to his job than a 40 minute commute. Right now, we're looking into Oshkosh, Green Bay, Appleton, and Neenah.

We are going to be relocating with our 3 young kids and are really torn/confused about which area is going to be the best fit for us. We've been to Green Bay for weekend getaways here and there but don't know much about the actual community/neighborhoods. And we've never set foot in Appleton or Oshkosh before. (We are heading up there Wednesday to do a little house hunting and check out the towns a bit, but I doubt we'll find out much in a day of wandering around.) I personally thought Green Bay seemed a little dirty/run down and the layout of the whole city seems really awkward.

We definitely are more "small town" than "city" people. My husband and I both always say that we were born a couple decades late. We eat family dinners every night that he's not at work, we like to know our neighbors, we're friendly and outgoing, and on the rare times that we go out without our kids, we prefer a friendly corner bar with a pool table and the game on over a nightclub. We also really want to find a town where our kids can go riding their bikes or exploring the neighborhood without us worrying the whole time. We want to find a place where us being a young family is actually normal, as opposed to all the parents at our kids school being 10-20 years older than us.

I'm big into researching and already have all the stats but I'd really love to hear from people who live in or have lived in any of the towns and what the pluses and minuses were. We're also really worried that we're going to move and life will be close to the same that it is here. Some of the Green Bay zip codes were really close to our suburban Milwaukee zip code when we looked up the crime stats.

So now that you have my whole life story, here are my main questions.
Which city do you think is the best and why?
Which is the worst and why?
Are any of these cities/towns the type that you can let your kids out and have them be back at dinner without worrying or is that a thing of the past?
What are the "bad" (obviously better than MKE but still...) areas of each of these cities?
What are the school bus options? (i.e. Manitowoc has busing available but you pay $20/month per child).
Is Oshkosh really a college town or is it more family oriented?
Are new families generally welcomed in these towns or "outsiders" for a while?

I would greatly appreciate any input at all, especially if there's anyone reading this who has moved from Milwaukee or a similar city to one of these places. There's only so much you can learn from looking at stats. (Also, after reading so many of these, I promise to post an update on where we end up when all is said and done, because that would have been soooo helpful to me when reading through all the old posts.)
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:06 PM
 
319 posts, read 614,185 times
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I recently moved Milwaukee to DePere and I think Neenah > Appleton > De Pere > GB > Oshkosh

There is no crime up here compared to Milwaukee
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:13 PM
 
3 posts, read 46,230 times
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Why do you rank Oshkosh the lowest? There are a couple of fixer uppers that we were looking into in that area, although then my husband would be commuting to Appleton for work.

Which leads to another question...Is a 30 minute commute out there (i.e. Oshkosh to Appleton) as big a deal as in Milwaukee? He's been driving that long on city streets for the last couple years anyways, so I would imagine 30 minutes on the highway would be easier.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:16 PM
 
319 posts, read 614,185 times
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Hwy 41/441 interstate conversion traffic is like driving in Milwaukee and won't be done until .... 2018 I think
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:06 PM
 
54 posts, read 88,183 times
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If he works in Green Bay, look for homes in De Pere. Great schools on the east and west side of the city (the Fox River divides the city), small town feel, VERY family friendly. If working in Appleton, look to live in "north Appleton" or Grand Chute. Kimberly is also very nice. You could also live in West De Pere and have an easy commute to Appleton. MANY people commute to Appleton from Green Bay or De Pere.
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Old 08-28-2012, 04:32 AM
 
Location: WI
3,938 posts, read 9,957,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fivefreis View Post
Why do you rank Oshkosh the lowest? There are a couple of fixer uppers that we were looking into in that area, although then my husband would be commuting to Appleton for work.

Which leads to another question...Is a 30 minute commute out there (i.e. Oshkosh to Appleton) as big a deal as in Milwaukee? He's been driving that long on city streets for the last couple years anyways, so I would imagine 30 minutes on the highway would be easier.
one thing that may affect that part is winter; seems to me 41 has had more then normal issues with the whiteouts during snow storms in the past (possibly even fog at other times). A 30 minute commute in a city when one is only going 25-35 may not change much in the snow. But a 30 minute commute when going 65 on the hiway can double pretty quickly when the white stuff flies and speed cuts way down.
It's been a few years since i've driven around the fox valley, so the above could have changed based on traffic volume, construction etc
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:36 PM
 
3 posts, read 46,230 times
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We're up in Appleton right now. With us wanting to leave Milwaukee for a smaller town feel, Appleton is definitely not it. It comes off really touristy to us. I'm sure there are great neighborhoods around here and the people seem friendly enough, but all of College Ave is just insanely busy. I know Walmart is always a crazy store, so we purposely stop there whenever we're checking somewhere out. It was clean and everything, but it was insanely busy at 3pm on a Wednesday. Don't get me wrong, Appleton is a huge improvement over any of the Milwaukee suburbs, but it's just a little too busy for us. (Anyone reading this who might be considering relocating from Milwaukee, College Ave in Appleton is a lot like Bluemound Road in Brookfield, only even busier.)

We did like Oshkosh, but the 30 minute commute, while definitely not impossible, seems a little silly when there are cute towns like Neenah and Menasha nearby.

We still have a long way to go getting the job transfer settled, and then finding a house. But I will definitely post anything else I find out on here, just in case anyone else reads this looking for info.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Midwestern Dystopia
2,419 posts, read 3,313,386 times
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lived in Appleton for 5 years about 5 years ago, lived 30mins north of MKE for all my life otherwise and know MKE overall well.

your impressions of GB are spot on, east side the worst, and there is crime there despite what another said. of course not as bad as MKE but having watched the MKE area news all my life and then Fox Valley news there are times when I was just shocked at some of the crimes that occurred in GB watching FV local news and there was certainly more of it than I would've expected.

my favorite is Appleton by far. GB is older, more dirty, more industrial and everything in APL is just newer, fresher. Neenah is nice as well, Menasha is more blue-collar, working class and dirtier so to speak.

Menasha is more to GB what Neenah is to Appleton.

Oshkosh is o.k., but not really impressive IMO. I would have reservations being a college town with all the drunks etc. There can be nice amenities to go with the University but being within a commute is better than living there IMO.

The traffic in the valley, and this will be somewhat controversial to many on here, is worse, more aggressive and stressful than in MKE overall. I don't drive rush hour MKE traffic (usu. b/t 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.) but overall I actually find it less stressful in MKE than the Fox Valley. Lots of road rage, tailgating, super fast drivers and serious accidents that never change the way people drive up there. I used to commute APL to OSH and I found that very stressful and again I grew up driving in MKE.

college ave is busy but Wisconsin and Northland are better.

Sounds like Neenah or perhaps Menasha might be more your style.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
328 posts, read 601,895 times
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what about Little Chute !! Just the name makes you want to move there doesnt it ? I know, I know...it does for me too
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Neenah, WI
23 posts, read 42,535 times
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I would give you a vote for working in Appleton, and living in Neenah. If you want family-friendly-let-your-kids-ride-their-bikes kind of neighborhood, I'd actually recommend looking into the Town-of-Menasha west of 41. It's actually a Neenah mailing address, has some of the lowest property taxes in the Fox Cities (Appleton has some of the highest) and it's very low-key. 10 minutes to downtown Neenah, 10 Minutes to the Fox River Mall, 10 minutes to the high school, etc.

Neenah has very good schools, and buses within the district are free. Or you can always drive your kiddos to whatever school you like.

I agree with your feelings on Green Bay. Always felt a bit old, dirty, and busy to me. You're right about downtown Appleton too. They have a huge Farmer's Market on Saturdays in the summer though. They shut down half of downtown for it. And yeah, Oshkosh is definitely a college town and not much else. Also might want to check out Greenville, starts to get a bit rural though.

I've lived in this area for 15 years or so and we're also a young family. Let me know if you have any other questions. I'll try to help. Good luck.

Last edited by FreshAirKids; 11-09-2012 at 10:17 PM..
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