Monday, March 09, 2009

The Great Debate

A few weeks ago we (finally) nailed down the neighborhood we would be moving into. (Guess what? It's OKAY to end a sentence with a preposition! Sort of) (Now I'm off to find evidence that there's no such thing as too many parentheticals)
So now, of course, I've changed my mind and we've started the neighborhood hunt all over again. We are looking for a balance of safety, diversity and good schools. But then sometimes we go around about the good schools because if we move back into the main district we'll have access to some really great schools. If we do that, we can put each kid into the school that suits them best. But maybe that's not the kind of family we are? Maybe we are the kind of family that has all three of our kids going to and graduating from the same school? The kind of family that has that school sticker on the car and closets full of clothes in the school colors?
And where can we really go for "diversity" that is still safe? It seems that Jt and I have different standards of safety. For instance, he does not think we are as safe as we should be where we live right now. While I think that living the entire sixish years we have here without a single incident makes this plenty safe. He wants our kids to be able to ride their bikes 2 miles away from home like we did as kids. But he doesn't want to commute the 60 mintutes from Centerville so whatever.
We go back and forth and side to side and always end up right where we started. Wanting to move to San Diego. But we are here and we really are staying here. And that's good. We are close to family. Mine anyway.

Our options as they appear to us:
  • move to Blue Ash, Loveland, Madeira or West Chester with nice, safe neighborhoods and great public schools, give up on diversity
  • move onto a safer street in College Hill or Northside with cheaper houses, more diversity (ethnic, racial and socio-ecomnomic) questionable safety and access to the best public schools
  • stay here or maybe Finneytown where we'll have decent schools and diversity while remaining relatively safe

What do you consider when looking for a home? Were these things an issue in your decision (or will they be)? Is diversity as important as I think it is? Or does it not matter as long as your kids grow up learning that we respect everyone?

9 comments:

  1. I think safety is an issue and the schools. For us, I feel 100% comfortable letting the kids outside and play with the neighborhood kids. Granted they have to stay within view of the windows of our house, but that's an age thing. When they are older, I'd totally let them ride their bikes to the park (as long as it's in numbers). Schools are pretty good, not the best in cincy, but good. So those are my 1 and 2. Willing to live in a not so big house, because I feel completely safe and our area is very homey (is that how you spell it?)

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  2. yeah, I must say that we probably don't think nearly as hard as you do about all the issues. I suppose we are vain. We'd be more apt to choose a cute house, with plenty of room, that felt really good, seemed to have nice neighbors, good market value, close to church and work. I do agree with your last statement. I'd just pick the place that feels right, and continue to raise your girls to love and respect others. So much of that issue is what is taught/demonstrated at home - and you already do a great job with that. Enjoy the house hunt!

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  3. I LOVE Mt. Healthy! Of course, you have to pick where exactly you live. The schools aren't that great, but are better than NCH and right there with Finneytown. The house are NOT cookie cutter houses. The library, police station, pool, dairy bar ROCK! The park is pretty nice and relatively clean. Housing is relatively cheap. And WE live in Mt. Healthy!

    Did I sell you to the idea yet?

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  4. PLUS taxes are WAY cheaper than Finneytown....

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  5. My vote goes for good eductation and safety! Remember growing up we did not live downtown but mom always tooks us downtown to shop, go to the library, farmers market, ect. which exposed us to families and people different from our own. I wouldn't worry about diveristy in a neighborhood because your lifestyle teaches and exposes the girls more than who they live next door to or sit next to in school. I would vote for Blue Ash, Maderia (very good schools), or West Chester/Liberty Township. However I think Maderia or Blue Ash would be more likely to have the type of homes you all like. Fairfield isn't bad either.

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  6. We debate these same issues, along the lines of your first two choices (I feel like Finneytown isn't a step up enough school-wise to justify the huge tax rate... though there is a house on Galbraith that I love). In some ways I feel like education doesn't matter too much because kids love of learning is instilled mostly at home. However, the social structure at school (how organized things are, who the kids are making friends with, and how much the teacher is able to control the classroom) and extra curricular stuff are big selling points in a school. The number of full-time police on premises and number of arrests on a regular basis are good indicators of this, I think. What about the Northwest district? It's pretty diverse. Some schools are better than others, for sure.. I'm not sure if they have open enrollment or not. I like the College Hill/Northside idea, personally.. that's probably what I would choose for us (that or Clifton) if I had my ideal.

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  7. I don't have kids, so I might be barred from this conversation, but of all the neighborhoods mentioned, my favorite is by far Clifton. Really, any place that keeps me, my wife & my dog out of your car as much as possible is ideal for me -- that being a bigger safety (not to mention psychological, economic, etc.) concern than criminal activity.

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  8. Wow, seems we have a 3-way tie here. The problem is that I agree with every comment here!
    We love Clifton and I haven't found another neighborhood as geared to walking (Madeira is the closest) which is a big seller for us as well. So far we've had a hell of a time finding houses there. Honestly I think if we could find a home in Clifton Jedd would go there even though he leans very heavily toward the "safer" northern parts.
    Caress, I had that same conversation (about academics) with Elliet's teacher last week. Parent involvement is the best predictor of academic success. (I always bring up the Dikeman boys here, perfect SAT score while attending NCH)
    Another point someone brought up to me was that there is very little room for average talent in the bigger, better schools. Putting them in somewhere like Lakota could mean little chance to participate in extra-curricular activities because only the very best make the team. Whereas putting them in somewhere like Finneytown would give them more opportunities to try different things.

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  9. We chose where we bought our house based on the schools and safety. I think you can provide diversity in other ways. I did realize last spring that we really do not live in a very diverse area. We took a train ride from Indiana to Missouri and we saw people of every color, size, etc....in Kansas City my children were very taken aback by (I'm using my kid's words. No offense meant) Brown skinned people. This gave us the opportunity to point out that we are all God's children and he made us in a rainbow of colors and in all shapes an sizes. So, though I rambled we shot for safety and schools! Good Luck!

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