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Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Sleepy » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:18 pm

A friend of mine with a wife and two young children just got a job here. He'll be flying in from out-of-state next week to house-hunt. Which neighborhoods should he investigate, and which should he avoid--especially because of crime? I was born here and have my own opinions, but I want yours to pass along to him.

Thanks!

:)
Last edited by Sleepy on Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:30 pm

There are a lot of good places to raise a family around town. I think it really depends on their personality. Some people would go nuts living out in the southwest part of the city, others would love the suburbia feel to it.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby barney » Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:05 pm

Best recommendation: rent for a year or two, so *they*can figure out what *they* like. It's really a matter of what you want, and who you are - and what your budget is. This argument has been hashed and rehashed over the years.

I have friends who started out on the west-ish side when they first moved here, and have been slowly moving further east through the years. (those are my smart friends :wink: )

Otoh, I have other friends who just love Verona/Fitchburg. There's no accounting for taste, apparently. But, they preferred more square footage than what their budget would allow in other areas, so that's what they did. They also wanted newer construction. I would rather live in a 100 year old dump on the east side than one of those beige monstrosities, to each their own....
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby city2countrygal » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:17 pm

If they don't have to live in Madison, the smaller cities outside of the big city have a lot to offer: more house for the dollar, lower property taxes, less crime (generally). I live outside of Stoughton and love it, and I also really like the small towns west of Madison too. Plus, the commute into Madison is usually about the same as going from one side of Madison to the other, about a half hour. Something to consider!
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby gargantua » Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:26 pm

I second that renting for a year or two idea. That takes a lot of the element of risk away.

Personally I like the near west side, particularly the Monroe St. and Vilas areas. It's near practically everything. Nakoma and Westmorland are nice too.

On the east side, I like the near east, meaning west of the Yahara for the most part. I wouldn't care to live on the northeast side, because I don't care for airport noise. Also....they should be aware of environmental factors, like proximity to Kipp, and proximity to train whistles.

I'd like to live in a big house on the lake in Shorewood Village, with a boat dock, but there is this little thing called "money" that I seem to not have enough of.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Nick Berigan » Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:48 pm

We're starting to see more folks with young kids in the Glen Oaks and Crestwood area. It's very pleasant here with great access to parks and in easy busing distance of downtown. Schools are good to as they have had a high level of parent involvement over decades. m Crestwood has a lively neighborhood association and Glen Oaks' is resurrecting at this time.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:12 pm

Suggest they factor in their commuting distance and the convenience with which they can get to work, a grocery store, and of course school. The nicest place in town becomes a pain (and an unnecessary expense, and a time-waster) when it's hard to get where you need to go.

The police department posts and updates a crime map (a google thing) that covers the whole city so comparing crime instances by neighborhood is easy to do in an objective manner.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:53 pm

+1 to renting. It should be a renter's market right now, including houses for rent.

As for "suburbia," if your friends are moving in from real suburbia, such as the western suburbs of Chicago, then they have probably not experienced things like getting around on a bike, or having a short commute. I know in my own experience moving up from a suburb in Texas, that those things weren't even on my wish list, but now I consider them to be vital to my lifestyle.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Igor » Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:30 pm

- Pay attention to the personalities of your kids. If as they grow older, they are the more shy, introspective type, they may get a bit more lost in a larger Madison or suburban school. If they are more outgoing and interactive on the other hand, a larger district may be okay for them.

- There are also possiblilites like Cross Plains, where there is a small community that is part of a larger school district.

- If they stay in Madison, pay attention to nearby high-traffic roads. ( Not just obvious ones like the Beltline and Stoughton Road, but less busy ones like Whitney Way or Buckeye as well) They tend to serve as de-facto neighborhood borders, and being 2 blocks from that awesome park will not matter as much when your kids can't cross the street to get there when they are older.

- Think twice about living on a main road if you want a large population of potential playmates in the area. We were concerned about safety when we bought a house on a medium artery, but the bigger issue was that everyone with kids would move out after a couple years to a less busy street.

- Avoid cross-town commutes if at all possible. I would much rather commute from Columbus to Amfam than from the southwest side to Amfam.

- Given the current housing market - take your time. When we bought our house, we had just come off a situation where we had made a full price offer on a house they day after an open house, and lost it anyway. As a result, we may have been less patient than we should have been.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Ned Flanders » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:16 am

There are nice pockets on the north side. More affordable than the west side and fewer crazies than you'll find on the near east or near west sides.

Good lake and park access and you're only 15 minutes from downtown.
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Re: Where is the best place in Madison to raise a family?

Postby Detritus » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:48 pm

Ned Flanders wrote:There are nice pockets on the north side. More affordable than the west side and fewer crazies than you'll find on the near east or near west sides.

One crazy fewer anyway, since Ned's admitted to living downtown....
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