Author Topic: Anyone from Iowa?  (Read 5722 times)

Gin1984

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Anyone from Iowa?
« on: June 21, 2017, 09:25:49 AM »
My husband is considering a job in Iowa and we are from the coasts and no very little about the midwest.  Anyone that lives near Waterloo want to clue us in on the good, the bad, the ugly?  :D

Orvell

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2017, 09:36:11 AM »
I have a friend in the area, and have visited. I've lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin my whole life.
My recollection was that the Waterloo area was cute, and that it was LCOL. You might be a little culture-shocked, for many reasons. Note that this is not necessarily bad, but I don't think it should be glossed over.
  • It's very flat there
  • It's going to feel Very Small compared to the coasts-- size, population, and mindset sometimes
  • Depending on what "coasts" means, the climate might be very different-- winters and summers both
Any chance you guys can go visit for a long weekend or something, get a feel for it?

Gin1984

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2017, 09:49:36 AM »
I have a friend in the area, and have visited. I've lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin my whole life.
My recollection was that the Waterloo area was cute, and that it was LCOL. You might be a little culture-shocked, for many reasons. Note that this is not necessarily bad, but I don't think it should be glossed over.
  • It's very flat there
  • It's going to feel Very Small compared to the coasts-- size, population, and mindset sometimes
  • Depending on what "coasts" means, the climate might be very different-- winters and summers both
Any chance you guys can go visit for a long weekend or something, get a feel for it?
DH is there right now, I can't because I am not allowed to fly.  Also what do you mean, small mindset?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 09:59:15 AM by Gin1984 »

Mgmny

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2017, 10:01:52 AM »
My husband is considering a job in Iowa and we are from the coasts and no very little about the midwest.  Anyone that lives near Waterloo want to clue us in on the good, the bad, the ugly?  :D

I went to college in Cedar Rapids which is close to Waterloo (45 minutes-ish?). From what I recall, Waterloo/Cedar Falls area is anchored quite a bit by University of Northern Iowa, and also seemed to have a "blue collar" feel to the area.

I would guess the good: low cost of living, some well-educated community (due to "large" university nearby), there is a cool bike trail that takes you all the way to cedar rapids

The bad/ugly: it always felt industrial and brown/gray to me - like the whole city seemed bleak. I usually was just driving through on 218, so i mostly only got highway views (a couple nights at bars and a waterpark, but those were limited too), but it never struck me as a particularly green/colorful community. That's from a limited perspective, though.

Gin1984

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2017, 10:08:28 AM »
I live in Des Moines.

Waterloo/Cedar Falls have a university, so they are a bit more "cosmopolitan," if you will, than the surrounding countryside. I don't know if you care about politics, but you'll find a mix of conservative and liberal. The eastern half of the state is generally more liberal, as are the cities. We consider Waterloo to be a city :)

Weather-wise, we have hot summers and cold winters, as I'm sure you can figure out. Not a ton of snow. Great soil for gardening.

The northeast, as in if you go an hour or so east of Waterloo, is called the driftless area, so has more dramatic scenery than the rest of Iowa that was recently glaciated.

There are a fair amount of bike trails down by the river that are nice and a bike lanes downtown. I bike commute year round in Des Moines, so it's certainly something that's doable if you're interested in that.
I do care, I just assumed it was all conservative.  Teach me to assume, thank you for that info.  :D

MayDay

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2017, 10:43:27 AM »
Eek.

I'm from Iowa and would only consider living in Ames, Des Moines, or Iowa City. Partially because I'm not a rural life person, partially because of the midst and culture of the rural areas.

I don't know what the population of Waterloo is, but trust me it has a rural feel.

My brother lived there for quite a while (john Deere). He got out because he hated the town.

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2017, 11:21:51 AM »
As others have said - it has one of the three state universities. So, college sports - their basketball and football teams have had good success. Also a triple A baseball team I think, and ice hockey as well..

I was in Dubuque briefly as a kid in the early 70s, and then Bellevue about 20 miles south (now THAT'S a small town). Not great times for the US (inflation) or that area due to reliance on manufacturing.  For a long time, Dubuque was a post-industrial shithole. But, they've done a LOT of revitalization.  I assume the same is true in Waterloo.

 I have lived in Dubuque, Bellevue, Iowa City, and Des Moines.

There will be tons of local events - there will be several things every weekend. More so in the summer, but really all year round. Lots of green space, trails, woods, etc.

If you are interested in politics - having the first in the nation caucus gets us tons of access to presidential candidates (too much sometimes).

What is it you want in a community? What do you NOT want? 


Gin1984

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 11:38:22 AM »
As others have said - it has one of the three state universities. So, college sports - their basketball and football teams have had good success. Also a triple A baseball team I think, and ice hockey as well..

I was in Dubuque briefly as a kid in the early 70s, and then Bellevue about 20 miles south (now THAT'S a small town). Not great times for the US (inflation) or that area due to reliance on manufacturing.  For a long time, Dubuque was a post-industrial shithole. But, they've done a LOT of revitalization.  I assume the same is true in Waterloo.

 I have lived in Dubuque, Bellevue, Iowa City, and Des Moines.

There will be tons of local events - there will be several things every weekend. More so in the summer, but really all year round. Lots of green space, trails, woods, etc.

If you are interested in politics - having the first in the nation caucus gets us tons of access to presidential candidates (too much sometimes).

What is it you want in a community? What do you NOT want?

Honestly, I can deal with almost anything for three years.  I just need to know what I am walking into which is why I need both good and bad.  I had a hard time moving to Buffalo because there were things I did not know were issues.  And we did not know about wegmans, lol.  So I need to find out the good and bad before I go. 
It appears that Waterloo is low cost of rent, I am not sure on food (though it looks like I need to go to Iowa City for trader joe's/costco) and that my commute would be long (only jobs I could find were in Iowa City or Charles City).  I pretty much know nothing else.
We do love hiking so that makes me happy.  So, thank you for adding that. :)

Mgmny

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2017, 12:17:15 PM »
As others have said - it has one of the three state universities. So, college sports - their basketball and football teams have had good success. Also a triple A baseball team I think, and ice hockey as well..

I was in Dubuque briefly as a kid in the early 70s, and then Bellevue about 20 miles south (now THAT'S a small town). Not great times for the US (inflation) or that area due to reliance on manufacturing.  For a long time, Dubuque was a post-industrial shithole. But, they've done a LOT of revitalization.  I assume the same is true in Waterloo.

 I have lived in Dubuque, Bellevue, Iowa City, and Des Moines.

There will be tons of local events - there will be several things every weekend. More so in the summer, but really all year round. Lots of green space, trails, woods, etc.

If you are interested in politics - having the first in the nation caucus gets us tons of access to presidential candidates (too much sometimes).

What is it you want in a community? What do you NOT want?

Honestly, I can deal with almost anything for three years.  I just need to know what I am walking into which is why I need both good and bad.  I had a hard time moving to Buffalo because there were things I did not know were issues.  And we did not know about wegmans, lol.  So I need to find out the good and bad before I go. 
It appears that Waterloo is low cost of rent, I am not sure on food (though it looks like I need to go to Iowa City for trader joe's/costco) and that my commute would be long (only jobs I could find were in Iowa City or Charles City).  I pretty much know nothing else.
We do love hiking so that makes me happy.  So, thank you for adding that. :)

Woah. A commute from Waterloo to Iowa City would be the WORST - over an hour for sure. You COULD live in Cedar Rapids if you worked in IC and he in Waterloo, but then both of your commutes would be not-great. BUT, CR is much bigger than CF/Waterloo.

Gin1984

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2017, 12:27:21 PM »
As others have said - it has one of the three state universities. So, college sports - their basketball and football teams have had good success. Also a triple A baseball team I think, and ice hockey as well..

I was in Dubuque briefly as a kid in the early 70s, and then Bellevue about 20 miles south (now THAT'S a small town). Not great times for the US (inflation) or that area due to reliance on manufacturing.  For a long time, Dubuque was a post-industrial shithole. But, they've done a LOT of revitalization.  I assume the same is true in Waterloo.

 I have lived in Dubuque, Bellevue, Iowa City, and Des Moines.

There will be tons of local events - there will be several things every weekend. More so in the summer, but really all year round. Lots of green space, trails, woods, etc.

If you are interested in politics - having the first in the nation caucus gets us tons of access to presidential candidates (too much sometimes).

What is it you want in a community? What do you NOT want?

Honestly, I can deal with almost anything for three years.  I just need to know what I am walking into which is why I need both good and bad.  I had a hard time moving to Buffalo because there were things I did not know were issues.  And we did not know about wegmans, lol.  So I need to find out the good and bad before I go. 
It appears that Waterloo is low cost of rent, I am not sure on food (though it looks like I need to go to Iowa City for trader joe's/costco) and that my commute would be long (only jobs I could find were in Iowa City or Charles City).  I pretty much know nothing else.
We do love hiking so that makes me happy.  So, thank you for adding that. :)

Woah. A commute from Waterloo to Iowa City would be the WORST - over an hour for sure. You COULD live in Cedar Rapids if you worked in IC and he in Waterloo, but then both of your commutes would be not-great. BUT, CR is much bigger than CF/Waterloo.
Coming from Silicon Valley, an hour does not seem too evil and he has done it for me.  My turn, lol.  And frankly we have a kid and we have another on the way, I don't know when I'll find a job so I don't want him to commute if he does not have to and one of us needs a quick commute so that we can deal with the kids.

Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk


iris lily

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2017, 12:44:00 PM »
There is a lot I could say about this since I'm from Iowa but I will keep it limited.

Iowa public  schools arent very good now.  When DH and I were going to public schools they were the best in the country. Back in the day, everyone sent their kids to public school. My cousin  went to Roosevelt H?S in Des Moines and rubbed shoulders with all the rich kids, it might as well have been a private school. But no longer.

I have lived in Ames, Des Moines, and Iowa City. Waterloo was alwya s on my "do not go there" list, it had a reputation of being rough and blue collar. But that was 30 years ago.

I expect that the OP will pretty much dislike it.

I miss the fabulous, beautiful, amazing fertile soil. I could grow lilies 10' tall there.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 03:54:16 PM by iris lily »

Cadman

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 12:58:25 PM »
Gin1984, PM sent.

Wloo is on the upswing, but CF is where it's at.  http://www.cedarfallstourism.org/

KCM5

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2017, 01:37:38 PM »
You should probably just move to Cedar Falls and buy this house: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1715-Tremont-St-Cedar-Falls-IA-50613/76668198_zpid/?fullpage=true Look at the crazy widow's walk! (Although, the sea's about 1500 miles away, so the widow might have a hard time looking for her husband's ship)

MayDay

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2017, 03:18:27 PM »
CF is definitely much nicer.

Johnez

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 03:28:53 PM »
I've been looking at working in Urbandale, with regards to schools I've read that the western cities are still doing ok and it's mostly rural and eastern Iowa schools that are suffering due to lack of dollars and influx of new residents. Any more to the schools story?
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 03:33:18 PM by Johnez »

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2017, 03:40:40 PM »
I've been looking at working in Urbandale, with regards to schools I've read that the western cities are still doing ok and it's mostly rural and eastern Iowa schools that are suffering due to lack of dollars and influx of new residents.

Not sure about eastern Iowa specifically - is there an influx of residents?  University towns usually have good schools - the parents won't allow anything less. But there is an exception for every rule....

The very small towns suffer as they go through consolidation, limited budget, and often limited teacher pool (see limited budget). The bigger cities suffer because at least some schools are going to be in the poorer area(s) and have to support a larger proportion of kids from lower income families.  It's really the same problem the rural schools have - regarding budgets. It may just manifest a bit differently.

Urbandale schools are fine as far as I hear (several colleagues and friends have gone there and/or their kids have gone there).  Waukee and Ankeny schools are growing fast - I don't know if that is good or bad (can districts end up the equivalent of "house poor" when they start building lots of new schools?).

Johnston was growing fast - with the DuPont Dow merger and lots of layoffs at Pioneer - not sure what will happen there. Pioneer is (was?) the biggest employer in town - but there have been massive layoffs, and I expect there will be some more before the merger is over, then maybe more afterward.  So many of the Pioneer employees live right in Johnston (Green Meadows, and other newer housing divisions, out into Grimes).

Mgmny

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2017, 05:04:27 PM »
In eastern Iowa "influx of new residents" is code for, "black people from Chicago."

Not a joke.

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2017, 05:29:17 PM »
In eastern Iowa "influx of new residents" is code for, "black people from Chicago."

Not a joke.

That is still happening? I thought that was awhile ago (like a decade or two). Some of that happening in Des Moines too. Kind of happens in waves.

MayDay

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2017, 05:39:43 PM »
Definitely still has the black people coming to get better social services benefits reputation.

I don't know if it's still happening be or if the racists are still bitching about people who loved ten years ago.

City/big town schools have good reputations, and I believe CF/Waterloo would be included in that. The rural areas are losing people fast and schools are not high quality for college prep.

UNI is a university and it's a good size but is definitely the worst of the three state universities.

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2017, 05:47:13 PM »
Definitely still has the black people coming to get better social services benefits reputation.

I don't know if it's still happening be or if the racists are still bitching about people who loved ten years ago.

City/big town schools have good reputations, and I believe CF/Waterloo would be included in that. The rural areas are losing people fast and schools are not high quality for college prep.

UNI is a university and it's a good size but is definitely the worst of the three state universities.

Given this year's state budget cuts, social services are likely going to suffer.   

UNI is the smallest of the state universities, not sure why you say it is the worst. I think each has areas of strength. UNI did have some budget issues in the last 5 years. It doesn't have the same level of STEM research and grants as far as I know. It used to have a great reputation as the best for education majors - but I don't know if that is still the case.

Johnez

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2017, 05:47:50 PM »
In eastern Iowa "influx of new residents" is code for, "black people from Chicago."

Not a joke.

Regardless of translation, whether infrastructure and number/quality of teachers is keeping up with the population growth is my concern.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 05:50:45 PM by Johnez »

Cadman

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2017, 05:48:20 PM »
Most of that was on the east-side of Waterloo where Chicago gangs were literally moving in for recruiting and territorial ownership. Locals were getting tired of the weekly shootings and violence (and those innocent caught in the crossfire), but I don't think it's been much of a problem the last couple years. I suppose some of the complaining could have been racially motivated, but it was a legitimate issue at the time.

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2017, 05:49:11 PM »
In eastern Iowa "influx of new residents" is code for, "black people from Chicago."

Not a joke.

Regardless of translation, whether infrastructure is keeping up with the population growth is my concern.

Infrastructure being housing, schools, and roads? Off to Google pop changes.....

ETA: Here's the best info I've found so far - most growth in central (not eastern) Iowa.
http://qctimes.com/news/local/government-and-politics/population-growth-focused-in-central-iowa/article_8986e2ac-246f-56b8-a1bc-e122c66c5ff3.html
« Last Edit: June 21, 2017, 06:24:45 PM by G-dog »

MayDay

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2017, 05:01:40 AM »
Definitely still has the black people coming to get better social services benefits reputation.

I don't know if it's still happening be or if the racists are still bitching about people who loved ten years ago.

City/big town schools have good reputations, and I believe CF/Waterloo would be included in that. The rural areas are losing people fast and schools are not high quality for college prep.

UNI is a university and it's a good size but is definitely the worst of the three state universities.

Given this year's state budget cuts, social services are likely going to suffer.   

UNI is the smallest of the state universities, not sure why you say it is the worst. I think each has areas of strength. UNI did have some budget issues in the last 5 years. It doesn't have the same level of STEM research and grants as far as I know. It used to have a great reputation as the best for education majors - but I don't know if that is still the case.

I went to high school in Mason City. Probably 75% of college bound kids in my school went to ISU, UI, or UNI. Of those groups, UNI got the worst group of students.

Maybe that demographic was because it was closest to Mason. But that reputation has held true from everything I've seen and heard. UNI is a solid regional small University but it's not a big research University and isn't particularly highly ranked. 


UI and ISU average a 25 act for admission and uni averages 22 from a quick Google.

Maybe I'm just biased because I'm an engineer so of course ISU is the best.

G-dog

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Re: Anyone from Iowa?
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2017, 07:33:44 AM »
I went to high school in Bellevue - most of my classmates didn't go to anything past high school.

I didn't fit in - Ha!

I hadn't seen the stats on avg ACT scores.  Interesting.  I need to do more searches just out of curiosity.