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Old 11-17-2006, 12:00 PM
Location: Rochester NY
14 posts, read 68,496 times
Reputation: 14


Hi Everyone! I’m thinking of relocating to Green Bay or Sturgeon Bay this spring from Rochester, NY.
I’ve done a lot of homework but I would like to get a local perspective on the quality of life in these cities.
Specifically, how is the crime; what are the people really like; what do you think of the economy and are there things to do if one loves the outdoors and is not an avid Packer fan? (I do have a cheese head and a Packer sweatshirt though )

I grew up in upstate NY and went to graduate school in Madison, where my family now lives. I have come back to WI every year for the last 10 years and it really feels like home. I have also visited GB and SB 2x in the last 2 years for several days each time. I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen and the people I’ve met.

I am looking for a slower pace of life in a smaller, affordable, friendly city. Being near water and parkland is a very important factor as I grew up and currently live on Lake Ontario and love it. I have just lost my job due to downsizing and, since the economy here sucks, I am thinking this may be the time to make my move.

I love snow and cold and gray cloudy winter days don’t bother me. In fact, winter is my second favorite season. As for high taxes, being from NY, I’m used to it. My 1000 sq.ft. ranch, valued at 78K, costs $2500 year in taxes. In addition, our local sales tax is 8% and my NY State taxes last year were $1,750.
As for the people, I have found them to be friendly, courteous and much more relaxed than here. I am very outgoing and friendly and I had no trouble meeting people while I was there. I love the outdoors and loved that there was the bay and the lake plus there were plenty of parks and wildlife areas to enjoy.

OK – so what’s the problem you may ask?

My concern with crime is that it seems like there has been an increase in gang activity based on what I’ve read in the paper. Is this true? What about other violent crime? Being a single woman, I am a little anxious about this.

As for the economy, it seems to be healthy and steady but it also seems like it has slowed down a bit over the last several months to a year. Any feelings as to how the economy is doing in GB or SB? FYI, my field is computer support.

Lastly, will I really be an outcast if I am not a Packer fan or a drinker? I do come from Bills country so I am very familiar with Football Sundays. I have never been to a football game of any kind, but I find the excitement amusing.

My family in Madison has mixed opinions and I am torn.
My niece, who is in her late 30’s, said that GB is a blue collar, beer drinking, brat eating, Packer crazed, industrial city with no class.
My older brother, who is in his late 50’s, goes to GB once a week on business. He said that the people are fabulous and friendly and that the city is fun and a great place to live. He used to live there many years ago and has nothing but praise for it.

So, who to believe? What’s the truth? Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance for your help! (PS- Sorry for writing a novel.)
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:03 PM
Location: Wisconsin currently
26 posts, read 108,184 times
Reputation: 19
Default Don't know if this help much

I have an uncle that lives in Green Bay. He has been there many years. He is quite happy and I don't think he ever plans to leave. I have only been there for a few concerts, shopping, etc. It seems (to me) like a nice place to live. It sounds like a good move for you... Good luck! Melissa
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:18 PM
75 posts, read 334,170 times
Reputation: 25
Hello, I live in GB and go to SB all the time.

Economy- Personally i am very proud of the way GB is growing, we have some incredible well known companies such as KI which produces office furniture and donates to everything in the community and Schneider national which is i think the worlds largest trucking company. Both are headquartered here and thrive here.Green Bay in 2005 was the #4 best city to do business in.
http://www.apennyfor.com/movable_weblog/000933.html (broken link), check that out.
A ton of GB and SB dollars come in from tourists(GB has many Packer tourists and SB has the resorts and summer tourists). Honestly, most of the Packer hype comes from out of town people, i hardly ever see locals wearing packer gear unless it's friday or sunday.I have plenty of friends who have no interest in the Packers or football at all.Some friends even root for the Vikings and Bears

Crime-Honestly, you read about it in the paper because it is rare, not as rare as it used to be but 95% of the time the lead off of the news is other than violence in the city.I never have heard or even seen violence in SB.I wouldn't let this deter you.

Anyplace in between Green Bay to SB is fairly nice and i tend to agree with your brother, Green Bay has alot to offer and you might really really like it here, i know i have learned to appreciate it.BTW i'm 27 so i believe maybe your sister may have exprienced some not common behavior.

Anywa, gl!!!!!
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Old 11-17-2006, 05:29 PM
Location: Rochester NY
14 posts, read 68,496 times
Reputation: 14
Lem, thanks! I found the site you suggested very encouraging and it supported what I've been reading about the GB economy. Also, thanks for the infor re crime and packers. It was good to hear - I appreciate your input!
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Old 11-18-2006, 06:39 PM
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,434,501 times
Reputation: 29741
So let me see if I have this right... you live in Rochester NY and you're concerned about crime in Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay ??? Take one quick look at the crime data on this website for those three locations. Green Bay's crime index is well below the national average and way, WAY lower than Rochester's; and crime in Sturgeon Bay is practically non-existent.

If you're looking for a slower pace, you've found the right area, though the two places you've selected are rather different. Green bay has over 100,000 people whereas Sturgeon Bay is just 10,000. You'll find a pretty laid-back atmosphere in both places, though obviously with ten times the population, Green Bay is a bit more urbane. Green Bay pretty much has a self-sustaining economy whereas Sturgeon Bay's economy is fairly dependent on tourism and weekenders. Consequently you're more likely to find meaningful employment in Green Bay unless you intend to operate a tourist-oriented boutique type place for a living, in which case Sturgeon Bay is your better bet.

Quality of life in Green Bay is pretty average in that it's very much not a class-conscious city. There is no "right side of the tracks" full of rich people in big mansions and no "wrong side of the tracks" with slums and vacant lots. It's a clean, tidy, solidly middle-class city with no pretensions or aspirations of being urban-chic. It's not terribly surprising that a thirty-something resident of Madison, a town that fancies itself as a miniature cosmopolitan city, would interpret this as a lack of class. It's true that virtually nobody in Green Bay has the slightest interest in apple martinis, contemporary fusion cuisine or fake-loft condos. I personally prefer Madison because I'm also a thirty-something and it halfway delivers on its cosmopolitan self-image, but sometimes the down-to-earth culture of Green Bay is a refreshing change from the hipper-than-thou attitude occasionally found in Madison. Green Bay's attraction grows the more you have outgrown the sort of cosmo trappings that make Madison the more attractive option for folks in their 20s and 30s.

Sturgeon Bay, on the other hand, is a bit more up-market than Green Bay; lots of white-collar professionals from Milwaukee and Chicago spend their weekends and/or own vacation homes in Door County (where Sturgeon Bay is located), driving property values fairly high. There's quite a bit of money floating around Door County. Think of it as the Midwest equivalent of Thousand Islands but not quite as pricey. You're not going to find a lot of IT opportunities in Sturgeon Bay.

Finally, one more city you might consider in the general area is Appleton (pop 70K). All three of these places provide a solid quality of life, low crime, good schools, and ample outdoor recreational opportunities. You just can't go wrong.

Last edited by Drover; 11-18-2006 at 07:07 PM..
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:42 PM
Location: Rochester NY
14 posts, read 68,496 times
Reputation: 14
Drover, I found your impressions of both cities extremely helpful. Thank you very much.
I know, what was I thinking! It does sound silly asking about the crime in GB - we just had 7 murders here in the past week.
I'm also glad to hear about the down to earth, unpretentious atmosphere of GB. It sounds like exactly what I am looking for. I'm a mid-40 something and have gotten all of my cosmopolitan itches scratched.
I also appreciate your input about the job opportunities and economy of both.
Practically speaking, since I am staying in IT, GB sounds like it is a better choice. In addition, it sounds like it would be a more affordable location for buying a house than SB.
Thanks also for your suggestion of Appleton. I did go there last year for a week. Unfortunately, I found it too new, flat and sprawly for my taste although I know that there are a lot of job opportunities there.
GB really attracted me b/c of it's older charm, rolling hills, distinct neighborhoods,the bay and numerous wetlands.
Thanks again for your help - I think I may be packing my bags for GB come Spring!
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Old 11-19-2006, 05:40 PM
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 93,434,501 times
Reputation: 29741
Have you considered returning to Madison? Housing costs in outlying areas such as Sun Prairie, McFarland, Fitchburg and even some of the outer areas of the city itself are much more reasonable than closer in to downtown, plus these areas lean more toward the down-to-earth culture than the wannabe cosmo culture. Outdoor recreational opportunities are abundant there as well, and you're never more than a couple hours away from all the best outdoor adventures Wisconsin has to offer. A 20-minute trip west finds you into some of the most lovely rolling farmland in the midwest, lots of lakes are nearby, et cetera. But most importantly, Madison is probably your best hope in Wisconsin for finding an IT job outside of (or maybe even inclusive of) Milwaukee. The only downside I can see is that it's not close to a Great Lake like GB is. If nothing else you might want to consider it as a backup plan if GB doesn't work out.
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:18 PM
Location: Rochester NY
14 posts, read 68,496 times
Reputation: 14
Drover, thanks again for your suggestion. You have been so helpful and your advice is very sound. I really appreciate it. I have considered Madison and last week had several opportunities to interview for jobs so, I was really motivated. However, after extensive searching to see if I could afford a house eventually, it was nothing but heartbreak. I found that I had to go out as far as Evansville, Milton and Cambridge to find something in my price range, which is about 120K, and not a dump. If you read my initial posting, I just want a tiny ranch. I also looked north up to DeForest and Morrisonville and it was even more expensive than the south. My brother and sister-in-law have also been sending me listings as they have been working with a realtor for me. But, it's looking like I would have to plan on a commute of ~ 25 - 30 + miles.
I really enjoy Madison and the surrounding area but, in the big scheme of things, I want to simplify my life and start having more time to enjoy it. I do know that in GB it will not be as easy as in Madison to get an IT job but, I am hoping that I can find something in GB over the next few months........any thoughts?
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Old 11-21-2006, 03:22 PM
9 posts, read 68,961 times
Reputation: 14
Smile Dan Trelka


I'm the Chief of Police in Sturgeon Bay. You can't beat it. I moved here from Colorado 14 years ago. Crime is non-existent, the people are incredibly friendly, and the commute to Green Bay is quick and easy. Green Bay is a great City, but it is starting to have issues. Feel free to call or email me with questions. (920)746-2461 or chfdjt@charterinternet.com.

Dan Trelka
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Old 11-21-2006, 04:30 PM
Location: Rochester NY
14 posts, read 68,496 times
Reputation: 14
Hi Dan! Thanks for the offer. Please take a peek at Drover's first posting for reference then check your personal email. Sending you a note shortly.
Thanks again for your help. :-)
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