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Old 11-30-2013, 05:52 PM
 
22 posts, read 54,576 times
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Our family of 3 are thinking about moving to De Pere since there is a new career opportunity for husband dearest. He will be managing one of the company branches located in Green Bay.

Thus, We would appreciate some concrete information on the area. We are a mixed family (I am from South Africa, not Black and not White... not asian either), my husband has hispanic roots (not from Mexico), however he has lived in California for most of his life.

We currently reside in Charlotte Nc and I really enjoy it here, Hubby does not like the South, and Little guy (2years) doesn't really care. We previously lived in South Korea, South Africa, California, Lousiana, and now of course North Carolina. Hubby has been deployed all over, including Seattle and likes the cold.

I am a stay at home mom, and concerned about meeting friends in the area, especially ones who has kids the same age as my son. I prefer living in "newly built" apartments vs "renovated" older ones. We plan to get an apartments and scout out for a house as time progresses.

I am especially concerned about:

1) The weather (does it really make people depressed?)
2) The condition of the city e.g. is it clean, is it beautiful?
3) Being accepted as a mixed family

Also, if you can suggest clean, new apartments in the area, it will be greatly appreciated!

Ps: not trying to be mean or anything, but I would appreciated comments from people who has lived out of WI, or those who have just moved to WI, more than those who have lived there for 30 years.

Respectfully,
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Old 11-30-2013, 10:31 PM
 
Location: wi
52 posts, read 104,743 times
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I wish you and your family a smooth transition if you move. What did you like about the areas where you've lived? We can let you know if those opportunities are in the DePere area as well.
Just a few brief statements about the area. I don't know what your lifestyle is like, but it's important to note that DePere, Green Bay or any of the surrounding areas aren't what a lot of people would consider a "city" in the traditional sense. If you like a lot of restaurants, events, culture, diversity, educational opportunities, fashion and high end shopping, you won't find much of it in NE Wisconsin. It's very small where the culture focuses on doing family things (kids soccer games), fixing up the house, "going up north" (camping, fishing, hunting in the woods) or staying home for a BBQ or rent a movie. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's different than a lot of bigger cities where there's more going on. It's not a metropolitan area. There are small cities here, no skyscrapers or Nordstroms. There's shopping and theaters and restaurants and things, just on a more basic scale.
As far as the climate, well, you can get used to it. But if you're used to people riding their bikes in November, you won't see that. The snow can get tiring and since there's even less to do in the winter than the summer, it can get a bit boring. I lived there for over 30 yrs and it was just my way of life. Now I live on the west coast and things are different. As far as being clean, I think DePere is clean. The downtown is small and quaint. It's clean with nice shops and restaurants. It's probably the most walkable city in the area next to Appleton. Just a note, depending on your definition of clean, there are paper mills in the area so you'll see the smoke stacks. Also, the Fox River is undergoing a major cleanup. The locals take it in stride and realize it's a major component of the economy there. The mills might bother some people, so I thought I would mention it.
As far as being a mixed family, I don't think you'll have an issue with being accepted. It is a conservative area, but if you're friendly, others will be friendly back. Best of luck in your move. You've lived in a lot of areas, so it just depends on what you like to do and what your lifestyle is.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:37 AM
 
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Thank You for your response! It is much appreciated! We currently live in the countryside, and really don't mind a "small" town feel. In-fact we really enjoy it here.

We travel about an hour to get into town, and we usually just go downtown for shopping (health stores), catching sales etc, However we can do most of our shopping online.

We lived in Louisiana for about 2 years and hated it. There was nothing to do for families, not many parks, no bike trails, children's museums, the mall did not even have a play area for kids etc. We are not into hunting at all. My husband would have a go at fishing though.

So family activities are important to us!

Thanks for advising on the paper mills...Does that mean that De Pere "smells" as a result?

Thanks again!
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Old 12-01-2013, 06:36 PM
 
Location: wi
52 posts, read 104,743 times
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I'm happy you found the info helpful. Having moved recently myself, I understand wanting to know about an area before committing. The area is very small town, but offers what you need. There are parks and some bike trails for families to enjoy. I recommend the N.E.W. zoo in Suamico. It's about 15 miles out of town, but it's very nice for families. Free parking, very clean, petting zoo, small train ride and picnic areas. For the area, that's my favorite attraction. Bay Beach is ok, but it's dated and I don't find it to be very clean.
As for hunting, my family doesn't hunt either, but it is very - very big in the area. Traffic during the opening days of the season are the busiest on the highways. The area (Green Bay, DePere, Ashwaubenon, Howard) then has entertainment for the "hunting widows," which include a lot of craft shows.
As for the smell, no, I don't think it smells directly in DePere, but further south is a town called Kaukauna which has a mill that sticks up the area when the wind blows northward. There are advisories against eating a lot of fish caught in some areas due to PCB contamination, just an FYI in case your husband wants to try fishing. They are cleaning it up, however, and I think it should be completed within a few years. You can research the Fox River cleanup if you want more information. If you head north, however, you will find some very clean and enjoyable lakes in the "northwoods."
You should google green bay and see what images you get and look for a local news program online to see what goes on in the area for a hint into the culture. From the areas you described, I'm only familiar with California and Seattle and I can say with confidence, that NE Wisconsin is nothing like San Diego or Seattle. But the small town feel is nice for family time and the schools, in my experience, are good in the suburbs of Green Bay.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:27 PM
 
3 posts, read 11,534 times
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Hi Candice,

I grew up in De Pere, or, West De Pere.. many years ago. But I will say that the Green Bay area is a nice area for families. De Pere does not smell. It is small town / suburban town and the entire Green Bay area has grown and become more modern since I left many years ago. It is easy to get around, there is not a lot to do… Bay Beach is a unique feature, rides for little kids and a nice roller coaster and bumper cars for $0.25 (some rides are $0.50.). There is more performing arts now at UW-Green Bay, and there is also a nice arts community about 1/2 hour to the south in Appleton. There are many basic places to shop, many basic restaurants, and it's a nice small town / very small city.

You may want to to go Door county and check out that area in the summer. It is touristy with a beautiful park and some nice beaches, good camping.

I don't know how it will go as a mixed family. Some people are jerks. Most people are nice. I doubt you will have major problems and it's just a matter of meeting nice people -- you will! The area is not very diverse… so you may come across as unique / different… or not… it's hard to say.

For meeting moms, look for MOMs groups or playgroups or pre-school groups, or join the YMCA or a gym or something. You will make great mom friends, it's just a matter of reaching out and looking for them.

Enjoy! Sorry this isn't a lot to go on but I believe you will do great in the area.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:22 PM
 
Location: WI
3,961 posts, read 11,021,594 times
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as one who lived 46 yrs in WI before migrating south 5 yrs ago, i'd say much of what the OP is looking for can be had in the Green Bay/De Pere area (or with a little travel heading down 41 between Appleton to Oshkosh to Fond du Lac). We always enjoyed Bay Beach and the nearby wild life area, i may be dating myself as it seems it was only a dime for a ride when we went lol.
To give some comparisons for shopping, since the OP is in the Charlotte area: if one enjoys the Concord mills mall, it's "sister" is just over the WI/IL border in Gurnee. For high end shops, likely Chicago would be the destination. But overall there should be plenty staying close to home.
The biggest change of course will be the weather. WI winter is colder and has more snow then Seattle or any other locations mentioned. In fact winter in the Charlotte area is closer to fall in WI. Summers the opposite, one can get hot days in WI, but normally not weeks. That said, if the family can enjoy outdoor activities year round, then that part of WI (and north) is beautiful. If one likes the wooded areas of the Carolinas, similar features are in WI (minus the mountains).
As with any relocate, i'd suggest spending a good few days up there, and make sure you visit a couple spots that you would go to if you lived there. Get a feel for the "vibe", and good luck!
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:47 PM
 
22 posts, read 54,576 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HCChica View Post
Hi Candice,

I grew up in De Pere, or, West De Pere.. many years ago. But I will say that the Green Bay area is a nice area for families. De Pere does not smell. It is small town / suburban town and the entire Green Bay area has grown and become more modern since I left many years ago. It is easy to get around, there is not a lot to do… Bay Beach is a unique feature, rides for little kids and a nice roller coaster and bumper cars for $0.25 (some rides are $0.50.). There is more performing arts now at UW-Green Bay, and there is also a nice arts community about 1/2 hour to the south in Appleton. There are many basic places to shop, many basic restaurants, and it's a nice small town / very small city.

You may want to to go Door county and check out that area in the summer. It is touristy with a beautiful park and some nice beaches, good camping.

I don't know how it will go as a mixed family. Some people are jerks. Most people are nice. I doubt you will have major problems and it's just a matter of meeting nice people -- you will! The area is not very diverse… so you may come across as unique / different… or not… it's hard to say.

For meeting moms, look for MOMs groups or playgroups or pre-school groups, or join the YMCA or a gym or something. You will make great mom friends, it's just a matter of reaching out and looking for them.

Enjoy! Sorry this isn't a lot to go on but I believe you will do great in the area.

Thank You...I appreciate your input!!!
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:51 PM
 
22 posts, read 54,576 times
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Thank You! Yes we do enjoy the wooded areas! We actually live in a wooded neighborhood, on about 2 acres of land! So we do not mind a "country" setting at all! I guess the winters are a concern for me, as well as "fitting in".
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Old 12-29-2013, 07:42 AM
 
5 posts, read 28,756 times
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Hi Candice. Have you made the decision to move? We moved to De Pere on December 10th from Atlanta. My husband and I were born and raised in the Midwest (Illinois and Michigan) but have lived in other parts of the country as adults, most recently in the Atlanta suburbs.

We really like De Pere, so far. Wisconsin winter will take some getting used to, but as long as you're prepared with a good winter coat, hat, gloves, boots, etc., you can enjoy the outdoors even when it's 10 degrees. I recommend finding an apartment with a garage. There are some good options for newer apartments. Check out Toonen Properties. We have found they provide great customer service and respond quickly to concerns. There are some newer options in Ledgeview, which is just east of De Pere. We live in a newer community in West De Pere, but it is a little industrial on this side, and despite what another poster said about De Pere not smelling, we DO often smell that paper mill stench. It's mostly on windy days. There is still an operational mill in West De Pere called Nicolet Mill. It's right in the town area and I think that's where the smell is coming from, though I can't say for certain.

Outside of that, De Pere is just wonderful! The people in Wisconsin are VERY friendly. They do love their Packers, which I find to be an endearing quality. I'm a Lions fan since I grew up in Michigan, but I definitely understand and respect the love and faithful following of the home team. It's definitely Packers town here!

Downtown De Pere has great little shops and restaurants. It's very "Main Street USA", and the Fox River makes the landscape of the town very beautiful. It's easy to appreciate the old homes that are filled with charm and character.

The schools in De Pere are excellent. There are a lot of Christians here. Many Catholics. And a great Catholic school network. But if you live in De Pere, the schools are so great that you don't need private school. If you did go that route, however, the private schools are far more economical than in other parts of the country. We have found several really great areas that we are considering to buy our home. We want a turn of the century home with loads of character, so we are looking in historic East De Pere, parts of Allouez, and Astor Park. If you want newer construction, check out Ledgeview.

Downtown Green Bay is a short drive, and there are many great restaurants to enjoy. It's definitely not a big city, nothing like Atlanta or Chicago, but there is everything you need within a 30-minute drive.

The most difficult thing for me to get used to has been no Whole Foods store. But, you can get fresh milk in glass containers from Lamers Dairy, any kind of fresh cheese you ever desired, and my husband even gets a dozen farm fresh unpasteurized eggs every week from a lady at work! Festival Foods is one of the local grocery chains and they have an impressive selection of organic foods and products.

One thing that has taken some getting used to for me has been the traffic circles/round-a-bouts! Seems there are few traffic lights here and traffic circles instead. That's something I'm not used to but I'm getting the hang of it. It's been difficult in the snow being unable to see the lanes on the road to know which lane I should be in, but I've been careful and cautious and I'm learning the ropes.

I work from home 15 hours per week and stay home with our two toddlers. They used to be able to play outside every day in Atlanta, but going out here in the winter is a bit of a production. So I would recommend that any stay at home mom plan ways to get out of the house with the kids as much as possible, even if just to the indoor playground at the mall. Coming from a warmer climate has been a change for our kids, but they do love the snow and seem to be getting used to it here.

If you do Facebook, I recommend friending Definitely De Pere and The Green Bay Press Gazette. I'm getting great info about town happenings from both groups.

What I love about the north, in general, is the European old world influence in the foods and traditions. We are both of Italian and German heritage (second and/or third generation) so we're used to European customs, traditions, foods, etc. There's not really much of that in Atlanta, but here in Wisconsin, and pretty much anywhere in the Midwest or northeast, you can get authentic polish sausage, real German brats, traditional pastries and desserts, and good Italian food. For us, that's important. More so than being able to shop at Nordstrom!

If you want a great place to raise kids and live an honest, good life, I definitely recommend De Pere. I think you will fit in and not even need to worry about the "blended" family. People are just nice here. So if you're nice, you'll do just fine.

I know you were looking for an outsider's point of view, so I hope this helps! If you have any questions or would like other info, please feel free to respond or message me. Good luck to you and your family!!
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Caverns measureless to man...
7,588 posts, read 6,627,628 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandiceAlvarez View Post

We lived in Louisiana for about 2 years and hated it. There was nothing to do for families, not many parks, no bike trails, children's museums, the mall did not even have a play area for kids etc.
You just described the Green Bay area perfectly. That is exactly what you would be moving back to.
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