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SC_Sailor

Looking to Move to Grand Rapids

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I am looking to relocate my family to someplace around Grand Rapids and want to know what are the best areas to live. About a year ago we moved from Sullivan’s Island SC to Canton, but like what the Grand Rapids area has to offer.

We would like to be within a 15 to 20 minutes of the downtown area. I would like to find a 3,000+ square foot house with a good size yard since have 4 kids all under the age of 12 and want to make sure they have a safe and clean place to play. If possible, having a few parks and restaurants within a short walk or bike ride would be preferable.

I spoke with a few realtors but I found this site and wanted to get real opinions from real people. I would be thankful for any advice you can give me.

Thanks,

Dan

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That sounds like Byron Center or Ada, depending on your price point.

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I should specify, I gathered by your 'within a 15 to 20 minutes of the downtown area' comment you weren't into living in the city limits. For the right price you can get a big yard and square footage in East Grand Rapids too..

http://www.grar.com/property/mls/11021328

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I am looking to relocate my family to someplace around Grand Rapids and want to know what are the best areas to live. About a year ago we moved from Sullivan’s Island SC to Canton, but like what the Grand Rapids area has to offer.

We would like to be within a 15 to 20 minutes of the downtown area. I would like to find a 3,000+ square foot house with a good size yard since have 4 kids all under the age of 12 and want to make sure they have a safe and clean place to play. If possible, having a few parks and restaurants within a short walk or bike ride would be preferable.

I spoke with a few realtors but I found this site and wanted to get real opinions from real people. I would be thankful for any advice you can give me.

Thanks,

Dan

Try the site City-Data, it has a Grand Rapids section where a lot of people ask/have asked similar questions:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/grand-rapids-metro-area/

A lot of Urban Planet people are urbanites.

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If you want to be in the GR city limits, you might find a few houses in the Alger Heights / Garfield Park area that fit your criteria - though to reach 3000 sqft you'd likely need to include the basement. Something like this could fit the bill: http://www.grar.com/property/mls/11036634

Walkability in this neighborhood is excellent - restaurants, coffee shop, ice cream, grocery, and hardware are all at Eastern Ave & Alger St.

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We would not be opposed to living in the City and if we could walk to events in downtown that would be great. But we don’t want to live in an area that we would be worried about crime and violence or homeless people asking for money. We have only been to Grand Rapids about 6 times and it has always been in downtown. We stayed at the Marriott or the Amway and have not really ventured out into the neighborhoods.

What is East Grand Rapids? How long does it take to get to the museums in downtown from there? We will be heading over for a few day trips over the next few weeks to check things out so any suggestions that will save us time would be terrific.

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Here's a pertinent question, where will you work?  Do you know?  I'd use that for starting point.  Life is a lot easier if the commute is short and easy, especially in the winter.  And you'll spend less time away from the family, save significant money on gas and wear and tear on the car, pollute less, and reduce your stress levels.  If you plan it out right, maybe you can walk, bike or take transit to work.  I'm speaking from first hand experience.  My commute is 5 minutes driving, 10 minutes walking and I live in the 'burbs of big city (outside of Michigan).

Otherwise, if I were looking for what you want and your work location wasn't a big factor, I'd check out the neighborhoods off of Thornapple River Drive, near Cascade Road (going north to Ada).  There is a wonderful multiuse path along the road, safe for bicyclists and walkers.  Depending how far away from the intersection of Cascade and Thornapple one lives, you can walk or bike easily to Cascade "village".  There's a few restaurants and a great ice cream place in the Village of Cascade, not to mention a grocery store (although I'm not sure how much longer that might be there) and a few other businesses that are walkable.  You can also access a park on the other side of Cascade Rd. that's right on the Thornapple River.  Your home would also be in the Forest Hills School District, considered one of the best in West Michigan if not the entire state.

Actually, Cascade Township has an extensive path system throughout (and maybe other townships do, too).  You could have access to other commercial areas from a variety of residential areas via the paths if you look around carefully.  However, if your job is on the far side of the GR metro area in any direction, I'd seek other options.

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Here's a pertinent question, where will you work? Do you know? I'd use that for starting point. Life is a lot easier if the commute is short and easy, especially in the winter. And you'll spend less time away from the family, save significant money on gas and wear and tear on the car, pollute less, and reduce your stress levels. If you plan it out right, maybe you can walk, bike or take transit to work. I'm speaking from first hand experience. My commute is 5 minutes driving, 10 minutes walking and I live in the 'burbs of big city (outside of Michigan).

Otherwise, if I were looking for what you want and your work location wasn't a big factor, I'd check out the neighborhoods off of Thornapple River Drive, near Cascade Road (going north to Ada). There is a wonderful multiuse path along the road, safe for bicyclists and walkers. Depending how far away from the intersection of Cascade and Thornapple one lives, you can walk or bike easily to Cascade "village". There's a few restaurants and a great ice cream place in the Village of Cascade, not to mention a grocery store (although I'm not sure how much longer that might be there) and a few other businesses that are walkable. You can also access a park on the other side of Cascade Rd. that's right on the Thornapple River. Your home would also be in the Forest Hills School District, considered one of the best in West Michigan if not the entire state.

Actually, Cascade Township has an extensive path system throughout (and maybe other townships do, too). You could have access to other commercial areas from a variety of residential areas via the paths if you look around carefully. However, if your job is on the far side of the GR metro area in any direction, I'd seek other options.

The downside of that area is that it's so far from downtown GR. It doesn't feel any closer than Rockford or Byron Center, after you travel all the way down Cascade Rd or 28th St.

But the multi-use paths are nice.

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Might want to check out the Westside as well. Areas you might be interested in would probably start near Leonard and Oakleigh and anywhere north or west of there. It's a quick shot into downtown whether you're in GR proper or just into Walker. Some new developments along Collindale, Maynard or O'Brien are nice as well. Those would be more suburban/country-feel homes only minutes away from the city. Welcome to GR!

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When I'm visiting my family in Cascade, and I drive to downtown via Cascade Rd. to I-96/196, it's 20 minutes (at least when I go non-rush hour).  I also sometimes take the slower but pleasant drive down Cascade to Fulton and visit my old neighborhood at Diamond and Lake Dr or I take Robinson Rd and end up there (at East Hills).  Not a long trip either and I can continue easily all the way downtown.

Another advantage to Cascade - very easy access to the airport, especially taking the back route along the Thornapple River and eventually connecting up to Patterson via 32nd without traveling on 28th Street.

But aside from all of that, I always recommend that someone consider what is the most frequent destination you must get to most days of the week.  If it's a job, then consider where you live in relation to that.  Not to say you have to live within walking distance, but common sense says you understand what the commute is like day in and day out and be prepared for the cost in terms of time and money.  Sometimes a more expensive house is worth it if you save on time and transportation.

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Another option might be the Cheshire neighborhood north of Knapp Street. There are some very beautiful streets running west from Plainfield (Cheshire, Marywood) and on down to the river. Also, some nice housing on the streets running north and south of Sligh west of Plainfield and down to the river. It is an easy 15 minute drive down Plainfield/Division or Coit/Monroe into downtown. The prices will be much lower than in the burbs, but the public schools could be an issue. City High might be pretty close to EGR or one of the Forest Hills high schools in quality, though I defer to folks with school age kids.

Most of the housing stock in Cheshire dates from the 1930s to the 1960s, with the bulk probably from the 1950s.

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Forget the city. Your requirements definitely favor the burbs. Better schools too.

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We would not be opposed to living in the City and if we could walk to events in downtown that would be great. But we don’t want to live in an area that we would be worried about crime and violence or homeless people asking for money. We have only been to Grand Rapids about 6 times and it has always been in downtown. We stayed at the Marriott or the Amway and have not really ventured out into the neighborhoods.

What is East Grand Rapids? How long does it take to get to the museums in downtown from there? We will be heading over for a few day trips over the next few weeks to check things out so any suggestions that will save us time would be terrific.

From East Grand Rapids to downtown is a pretty easy drive, or decent bike ride. Too far to walk. EGR is very walkable and has Gaslight Village, which has a lot of shops and restaurants and parks nearby. Heritage Hill is closer to downtown and a very nice neighborhood, but yards are small and the homes are older (some over 100 years old).

Another area you might want to check out is Forest Hills Eastern area. Close to shopping, Celebration Village (although it's designed poorly, it has a lot of amenities), Meijer store, Frederik Meijer Gardens, a lot of multi-use paths, several parks, and excellent schools (particularly Knapp Forest Elementary). And it's about 12 minutes from there to downtown.

But as Explorer55 mentioned, a lot depends on where you'll be working. If you're working on the South Side of Kent County or by the airport, then that changes the dynamics. If you're downtown, different story.

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I own a leadership development company that mostly operates online and I will just have a home office, but I do a lot of traveling. So my commute depends on the size of the house. My wife is a stay at home mom but does a lot of volunteer work. The school issue is not much of a problem right now. We home school our kids, but will be giving them the option to attend a Catholic or Christian school. My wife suggested that she wants something that has a traditional feel of community and a high concentration of families and kids.

Gigalopolis mentioned something about Rockford. From what I see on line, that seems to be a nice place. Is there anyone on here who lives there that can tell me what it is like?

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My wife suggested that she wants something that has a traditional feel of community and a high concentration of families and kids.

Again, East Grand Rapids. Close to Catholic and Protestant parochial schools. But if you're looking for a big house and a big yard you'll need the budget to match your desires. Map from Canton: http://g.co/maps/h5y4

Business District: http://www.egrgaslightvillage.com

City Website: http://www.eastgr.org/

Gigalopolis mentioned something about Rockford. From what I see on line, that seems to be a nice place. Is there anyone on here who lives there that can tell me what it is like?

I don't live in Rockford but it is a nice area. It's a hike from downtown Grand Rapids though. Unless you live in the downtown area it's not really walkable and in the downtown area I don't think you're going to get the square footage or yard you're looking for.

Location is like religion, everyone is partial to their own. Since public schools aren't a problem, there are some locations just outside of East Grand Rapids that can provide you big houses and yards, at somewhat of a reduction in price because they are in Grand Rapids Public Schools district. Check out these neighborhoods: http://g.co/maps/v6tz or http://g.co/maps/gqec

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