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ChicagoBoy

East Grand Rapids for the Newcomer?

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My wife and I will be moving to East Grand Rapids soon... What can you tell us about it?

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My wife and I will be moving to East Grand Rapids soon... What can you tell us about it?

Where are you moving from?

My impression is that it's the Grosse Pointe to GR's Detroit. You might look it up on the US Census for statistical comparisons.

Also they have pretty stringent standards for zoning and development. You're not likely to find any mobile home parks, fast-food drive thrus a la 28th Street, or adult Cab D uses, let alone something like Meijer or K-Mart. (Was reading about new restaurants going in downtown, and how they will be hampered by the mandatory 11 pm [i think] closing time.)

Reeds Lake is a lovely place and it gets lots of perimeter traffic from runners and cyclists. Lake is a delight to ride on (even with the new construction; less traffic!).

Hope this helps.

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It is the Stepford Wives of cities. I swear it almost too perfect. The place is clean, crime free, litter free, blight free, and it seems, problem free. The people there should be proud of themselves to have the only city adjacent to GR that didn't turn out to be a sprawl heck hole.

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Men in Range Rovers, women in Volvos, perfect children and cute dogs.

Just kidding ;), it's a great little town. Like GR Urbanist said, it's clean and nice and I can't think of anything I don't like about it. Except the 850 square foot ranch for $150k, I don't like that. :P

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There may be some members here who live in "East". I don't, but here are my impressions:

If you have kids, top notch schools (even without kids, it certainly doesn't hurt property values),

High school sports and school pride are pretty big,

It has a growing central business district called Gaslight Village, that is undergoing some "new urbanist" expansion with some mid-rise condominiums and shopping. There's a separate thread here: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...40entry452505

(try Studs Up for Lacrosse and Soccer gear and Jersey Junction for ice cream)

Definitely check out Rose's on Reeds Lake for Summertime dining,

A very walkable community, with tree-lined streets, sidewalks, and very slow speed limits everywhere,

Not far from Easttown and all its eclectic shops,

Old money, some very old, and some of the largest turn-of-the-century estates in GR like the Blodgett and Butterball homes,

I think some of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the area along Plymouth Avenue, similar to suburban Chicago neighborhoods from all the John Hughes movies ("Home Alone", "Uncle Buck", "Planes Trains & Automobiles", etc.)

The movie "American Pie" was written by an East Grand Rapids graduate, and the story is based there (East Great Falls High School in the movie).

Some people think it's pretentious, but it depends on who you talk to.

Somewhat similar to Grosse Pointe or Winnetka, smaller scale.

Hope that helps.

Welcome ChicagoBoy!

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Welcome ChicagoBoy. When are you moving in?

I'll just reiterate a little of what's already been said.

EGR has lots of large, beautiful homes. The Gaslight Village district should be a great addition to the city when it's completed. Reeds Lake is a gem, great for walking/jogging/biking/boating.

"Welcome to [East Grand Rapids], where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

- Garrison Keillor ;)

Just remember, don't speed and always wear your bicycle helmet.

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Somewhat like the Grosse Pointes, but only a few blocks like it. EGR is alot less stuffy than the Grosse Pointes.

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Lots of smaller homes, too, just priced higher than comparable homes

in Grand Rapids. Beautiful lake setting, great for people watching,

lounging, walking, or reading. Will have a fabulous library on the

lake when construction is completed. Good schools, friendly folk.

Most impressions are 'snobby', but that doesn't seem to hold as

true as it did many years ago. Newcomers say "Lake" referring

to one of the main streets thru EGR, but it's "Lake Drive" to us

old timers, just as people now refer to the city as just "East"

instead of "East Grand Rapids." Bugs me.

Not a resident, but part of my old stompin' grounds growing up.

Beautiful, walkable place and near cool neighborhoods in GR.

Welcome to the area!

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ChicagoBoy: Welcome to Urban Planet, East Grand Rapids and metro Grand Rapids!

I grew up in EGR. I attended middle school and high school there. As a kid, I snuck out over to Eastown across the GR-EGR DMZ to sneak into bars =:-) Most of the comments have been spot on. A word of caution about the schools if you have kids: The social and academic pressures on the kids are pretty intense. Lots of peer pressure on how you look, dress, study and party. I've described it as the "EGRHS meatgrinder" a few times. Back in the 80's, It really was like growing up in a John Hughes movie such as Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller's Day Off just as much as it was like American Pie.

I'll have some blurry pix of East on my blog next week.

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Thanks to all of you who gave your comments about East Grand Rapids...and thanks for the welcome.

We can't wait to make our move in early September...

Is there any good source of news on East Grand Rapids? Any updates on the development taking place in Gas Light Village?

And any good tennis clubs around for when the snow begins to fly?

Thanks again to all,

Chicagoboy

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Thanks to all of you who gave your comments about East Grand Rapids...and thanks for the welcome.

We can't wait to make our move in early September...

Is there any good source of news on East Grand Rapids? Any updates on the development taking place in Gas Light Village?

And any good tennis clubs around for when the snow begins to fly?

Thanks again to all,

Chicagoboy

An ol' Pioneer standby for winter tennis can be found at the East Hills Athletic Club and the MAC (Michigan Athletic Club).

PM next time you visit and I can give you some free passes to check them out.

What section in East are you moving to?

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Welcome ChicagoBoy. When are you moving in?

I'll just reiterate a little of what's already been said.

EGR has lots of large, beautiful homes. The Gaslight Village district should be a great addition to the city when it's completed. Reeds Lake is a gem, great for walking/jogging/biking/boating.

"Welcome to [East Grand Rapids], where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

- Garrison Keillor ;)

Just remember, don't speed and always wear your bicycle helmet.

Indeed. The only place in GR where you must drive 25 mph or you will get pulled over. (There's just not anything else for them to do...)

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Indeed. The only place in GR where you must drive 25 mph or you will get pulled over. (There's just not anything else for them to do...)

Sounds a lot like Wayland haha

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An ol' Pioneer standby for winter tennis can be found at the East Hills Athletic Club and the MAC (Michigan Athletic Club).

PM next time you visit and I can give you some free passes to check them out.

What section in East are you moving to?

Thanks, GRGridGirl, for the info on tennis....The East Hills Club looks close to where we will be...on Edgewood.

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Be prepared for the cultural shock. Religious agendas, inbred attitudes. It may be daunting.

H

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Do you have kids? If so, I hope they are very young. It is very, very difficult for a transplant to become assimilated at the high school level.

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Yes, and the teachers shoot laserbeams out of their eyes too. :rolleyes:

What's the old saying "I hate anyone who isn't me". That seems to be seeping into this discussion.

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Be prepared for the cultural shock. Religious agendas, inbred attitudes. It may be daunting.

H

Can you say a little more about what you mean by this?

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Be prepared for the cultural shock. Religious agendas, inbred attitudes. It may be daunting.

H

I would say EGR has much less "religious agenda" or ibred attitude than most of GR's suburbs.

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Yes, and the teachers shoot laserbeams out of their eyes too. :rolleyes:

What's the old saying "I hate anyone who isn't me". That seems to be seeping into this discussion.

Yeah, it is, isn't it? How unfortunate that it tends to be true in this case.

I'm speaking from experience. I was a "transplant" from Milwaukee at age 14. I was two weeks late into the fall semester at EGR and let me tell you, what an absolute nightmare!

Maybe it's that way at other high schools, but I wouldn't know that because I was pretty much ensnared at East.

But they do have a wonderful school system, and I learned a lot about independence. So it wasn't all bad. For those who thrive on being part of a clique, it can be devastating, however. I think the trick is to scope things out for a month or two before making overtures to the clique of your choice. If you pick the wrong one out of the gate, you're sunk.

For more about this phenomenon, check out my new book, "The Psychology of Cliques," due out at bookstores the world over sometime after 2010.

:)

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In praise of East Grand Rapids from my perspective:

1. Beautful streets, with an abundance of walkers, runners, and conciencious pet owners with their dogs.

2. Those houses are real. Not a dry-wall palace among them.

3. A refeshing lack of religious agenda, in my experience. I have always felt secure enough to let my disdain of all things churchly be known among my EGR aquaintances.

4. A healthy mix of Dem/Rep lawn signs around Election season.

5. And there's this:

East Grand Rapidians don't suffer from irrational fear of taxation. When they need a millage, bond issue, or the like, by and large they PASS it. They understand, unlike many of our local yokels, that with taxes, you get services; and services are what make a community livable and desirable.

Lastly, EGR residents don't hesitate to hire dog-walkers! So, horray for them!

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I'm not an "Eastie", but look, it's a beautiful community where you see people

out on the sidewalks all the time, and not only on the brightest, sunniest days.

And while the clique thing holds true at any school, I think that years ago it

was more unusual to get transfer students coming in at any time of year.

Mostly, the kids you went to high school with were the same ones you went

to kindergarden with. Since GR and EGR has grown so much in the past years,

kids seem much more accepting of the fact that new families, new faces, will

be a part of their classrooms, their sports teams, their neighborhoods than

ever before. Don't let it throw you, Chicago, like tends to attract like, so seek

out what interests you and your family and go from there.

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I'm not an "Eastie", but look, it's a beautiful community where you see people

out on the sidewalks all the time, and not only on the brightest, sunniest days.

And while the clique thing holds true at any school, I think that years ago it

was more unusual to get transfer students coming in at any time of year.

Mostly, the kids you went to high school with were the same ones you went

to kindergarden with. Since GR and EGR has grown so much in the past years,

kids seem much more accepting of the fact that new families, new faces, will

be a part of their classrooms, their sports teams, their neighborhoods than

ever before. Don't let it throw you, Chicago, like tends to attract like, so seek

out what interests you and your family and go from there.

I agree that it's a beautiful place to live. Just sharing an experience is all.

Forewarned is forearmed. And it could have been because I was a geek and not cool like the other kids.

I did enjoy riding my bicycle just about anywhere within the EGR limits without being fearful. There's a lot to be said about that.

:)

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Here's my take a newbie...we just moved to EGR last year and had never lived in metro-GR until this move.

We looked at nearly every municipality and school district around and found that there are great choices for schools to fit nearly every lifestyle. EGR was right for us, but it's small and lacks some racial diversity. It's not perfect, but we like it so far.

That said, from one newbie to another, what we heard and what we found in EGR were vastly different in several ways.

Heard: EGR is an isolated small town that detests newcomers

Found: Nearly everyone we've met is incredibly friendly and happy to have us as neighbors. Anecdotally, there appear to be more transplants in EGR than other areas. Perhaps this wasn't always the case?

Heard: EGR is full of kids driving daddy's BMW

Found: Some kids driving BMWs, some kids riding bikes, some kids driving beat up early-90s Ford Escorts

Heard: Snobs, snobs, snobs. Everyone in EGR thinks they're better than everyone else.

Found: You wouldn't have chosen EGR if you wanted a 2 acre lot 45 minutes from downtown in a suburb without sidewalks. Since most Easties seems to have picked EGR to be in a walkable, running/biking/jogging/dog-walking city as opposed to a rural/suburban township lifestyle I think residents are routinely labeled snobs. That's just my take, but it's the closest I've come to figuring out the heavy disdain I heard from people when we told them we were moving to East.

Heard: EGR has great schools.

Found: EGR has great schools.

Heard: EGR has incredibly high taxes.

Found: EGR has higher taxes than most metro-GR municipalities but they're no worse than many other affluent towns across Michigan and a good deal better than some towns near Chicago.

Heard: EGR is a town full of rich people. If you're not rich, you won't fit in.

Found: EGR has rich people. There are also houses that go for less than $125,000. You get less for your dollar in square footage, but there are houses in all price ranges here in EGR.

Heard: EGR is too busy.

Found: EGR is a city, not a township. We wanted to know our neighbors, enjoy block parties several times a year, and be able to walk to anything we needed. To get that you need population density which in turn feels busy to some people. That's another reason some people don't like EGR I suppose.

Heard: EGR is very walkable.

Found: It is, the only thing we don't have within EGR city limits that I routinely need is a gas station (there are 2 just outside EGR but neither is within the city limits). We can walk for most core services and have a couple nice restaurants as well (Olive's and Rose's). As someone else mentioned, the Eastown neighborhood of GR is also walkable if you're in the western half of EGR. Books, tandoori, great breakfasts and a blockbuster are there, so it complements what EGR is lacking quite nicely.

Heard: EGR is bike-friendly.

Found: True. So is much of GR. You can ride from anywhere in EGR to Downtown-GR and never leave a 25mph. speed zone.

Heard: It's hard to get a house in EGR. Cut-throat real estate market.

Found: No such thing in Michigan right now. It's a buyer's market everywhere.

Hope that helps and welcome to town.

We've enjoyed it so far.

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Maybe it's that way at other high schools, but I wouldn't know that because I was pretty much ensnared at East.

Since I've only been out for about 6 years or so, I can remember it was like that at my highschool too. I remember many people transfering in and then transfering back out because it was so bad. I spent my preschool through 12th grade in one system thankfully.

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