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Boulder versus Castle Rock vs Colorado Springs

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Apr 15th, 2010, 07:06 PM
  #1
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Boulder versus Castle Rock vs Colorado Springs

Hi. I actually saw a post on this blog site from 2004 about this same topic...so I thought I'd get updated opinions. My husband and I, and our 3 little girls (ages 4 and under), are looking to move to Colorado - just having a time trying to figure out the best place to settle down. If we went with boulder, it would actually be the Longmont area due to housing prices. I'm in the health field and should be able to get a job any of those places. Primary concerns are good school district, within 1 - 1 1/2 hours of skiing, and outdoor/rec activities. Would appreciate any feedback on these areas...trying to gather as much info as possible - thanks!
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Apr 15th, 2010, 07:53 PM
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Longmont and Co Springs would be significantly longer than 1.5 hours to skiing (espec. Co Sprgs). Castle Rock would be about right. Even closer within the Denver metro area are Lakewood and Golden. Someone else will have to comment on schools as we moved here when the kids were already in college.
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Apr 15th, 2010, 08:13 PM
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Thanks, BarryK. I saw that Douglas County ISD (Castle Rock)is ranked somewhere around 12th in the state, which is one of the reasons we were looking at CR. I think we'd be able to get a pretty view from our house, too. Of course, there is concern about I-25 to the south side of Denver - esp for this TX girl driving in CO weather.

Would love Golden (too expensive)...and Lakewood's not out of the running...
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Apr 15th, 2010, 08:13 PM
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From Longmont to Eldora to ski is about 40 minutes; to Copper Mountain/Vail is 2 hours - the drive home on a long weekend or snowy day can take a loong time....

Lngmnt to Estes Park to horse back ride, hike, shop, stay at the YMCA cabins is about 40-45 minutes; another 10-15 minutes to get into the park (Rocky Mtn National)

Lots of housing opportunities in Lngmnt, but know that schools near the new areas are creeping up in attendance capacities. Out east, near Frederick and Firestone have loads of newer housing too, and are close to I-25 to get to Denver and Fort Collins for jobs.

Boulder has a community hospital on a newer campus; Longmont has Longmont United Hosp and a Kaiser Permanente.
Lafayette has Exempla Good Samaritan Medical campus, about 20 mins away.
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Apr 15th, 2010, 08:28 PM
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I disagree with BarryK.. Most skiing is about 2 hrs away.. That it is sinificantly longer .. I dont think so..Try driving I 70 on any saturday or sunday to the skiing from either Denver or Castle Rock..
Home prices have pretty much been lower everywhere, but I think the Springs is pretty competitive. There are 4 Hospitals in the Metro area... Good luck!
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Apr 15th, 2010, 09:33 PM
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I really don't know much about the schools in this area as our kids are college age now. Golden and Lakewood are in Jefferson County and seem to have reasonably good schools.
There is a hospital being built in Lakewood. The St Anthony's hospital is moving there, but it will take another 2-3 years to complete.

I don't ski, so I don't know about drive times to the slopes. Winter really isn't too bad in the SW Denver suburbs. There are plenty of cycling/walking trails in the area and hiking in the mountains. There are also a few public swimming pools around. You do have to be careful of the altitude when you first come here. It does take a few days to adjust and to remember and drink plenty water.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 05:51 AM
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I have children living in Lakewood and in south Denver (cherry Creek).
I would find it hard to relocate to a place and not have a pretty good idea of exactly where I would be working. A commute takes a good chunk of time from your time with your children.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 06:26 AM
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Thanks for all the input and advice. And yes, Gretchen, it is nerve-racking not knowing much about the area. We're planning on scoping it out when I go to interview to get a better idea.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 04:05 PM
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Unfortunately it is not an equal comparison. All three are almost unique. Boulder is a college town with all the advantages and disadvantages that comes with a university dominating a relatively small town. It is our most liberal area in Colorado. Housing in and around Boulder is very expensive. The opposite in many ways is Colorado Spring. Dominated by over 50 religious group headquartered there with the largest, Focus on the Family. Heavily populated with retire military, Air Force Academy, etc. Probably the most conservative spot in Colorado. Castle Rock may be somewhat in the middle at least geographically. A small rural town that has been over run by urban sprawl from Denver. Most of it is pretty new and has been reported as highest average housing income in the US. You will find a wider price range for housing and school. Some of the schools are on year around calender -- which some hate and some love. The best school districts are Cherry Creek and Arapahoe County 6 (commonly called Littleton Public Schools but extending far beyond the town of Littleton.) Cherry Creek school district should not be confused with the Cherry Creek resident areas and shopping center. Miles apart. The Denver schools are struggling as are some of the smaller surrounding county school systems. Jeffco (Jefferson County) to the west is decent, have some good individual schools, and is the largest school in the country stretching well into the mountains.

Denver metro area has over 500 miles of bike/hiking trails in the area. Most have a hard surface and separated from traffic. You really need to spend some time on the ground before deciding anything.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 05:07 PM
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In regard to schools, Bromwell in Cherry Creek North and Steele just east of C.C.N. are both excellent elementary schools. Peak to Peak, a charter school in Layfayette near Louisville and Boulder but less expensive housing wise, was recently recognized as a Gold Medal School and one of the top 100 schools in the U.S.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 07:23 AM
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Thanks for all the food for thought. I think we're leaning pretty heavily towards Highlands Ranch area now...closer to Denver (for jobs), closer to skiing, and still in the Douglas County ISD. Housing prices are still higher than we'd like, but not as high as Boulder or Golden. BUT, sadly enough, I'm not real thrilled about the fact that it is so close to Columbine - I have 3 small girls, and unfortuantely worse case scenarios run through my head...even though I know they are irrational.

So if anyone has any input on HR area, please share...
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Apr 20th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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Do you want a suburban area? Because that's Highlands Ranch. The homes are relatively similar, the stores and restaurants are chains for the most part. National Geographic did a very unflattering picture essay on HR and urban sprawl, when HR was originally developed: roof after roof of look-alike homes. One good thing about it, you get more square feet for your dollar. (Being close to Columbine is a non-issue.)

Denver has lots of little neighborhoods which are loaded with charm. I suggest you rent a home for the first year, to make your final purchase decision. Your kids are young enough that changing schools wouldn't be a big problem.

I'd be more concerned about the schools than the closeness to the mountains, honestly. We live in central Denver, in an historic neighborhood. We can be in Winter Park in 1.5 hours or so.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Thanks, PeaceOut. Yeah, we'll be renting until we sell our home down here in TX - not telling how long that will take. Our big complaint about the homes we've owned down here are that they are so "cookie-cutter"...and not a very attractive cookie. At least HR has good-looking cookies...ha ha.

Never thought moving would be so stressful (before it even starts), but when you've got kids you have to take so many other things into consideration.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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I think there might be a lot of places available more charming than HR, but it's probably easy to buy there. Our children live not far from there. the U of Colorado medical center has just moved to _______ (someone supply the suburb)--the old air force base site. It is off of I225. I have gotten to Silverthorne from almost any neighborhood in Denver in the 1.5 hours mentioned above. Winter Park also, just a little different direction.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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It is Aurora. Charming neighborhood are often in the eyes of the beholders. We have been looking at a number of "charming neighborhoods" to downsize to but the problems is that the houses are much older, limited storage, potential maintenance nightmares, limited parking, overvalued by current owners, and sometimes limited services. Unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money modernizing one of these charming house, I don't think it is a good solution. There has been a major migration by young couples with children from the Denver neighborhoods to the Stapleton redevelopment area. You can rip on the cookie-cutter aspect but Highlands Ranch is pretty diverse. And you kids can ride their bikes on the streets and have lots of friends their age. And the services are all there. We have to make trade-offs with nearly every decision we make and HR is not a bad trade-off.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Couple of additional thoughts. HR and Littleton/Centennial area have huge park and rec facilities providing a lot of opportunity for many activities. And the youth sports programs cover a wide range.

What is your price range for housing? Cost/per square foot? How big a house? Compared to many parts of the country the Denver market has generally been more modest so a little surprised when you thought it was higher than you anticipated. Columbine is many miles from HR so am not sure what that concern is. Also the south side of Denver was the first area to be serviced by light rail which is very convenient for downtown Denver travel.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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Not really ripping HR. And we visited friends in the Stapleton area a couple of weeks ago and were amazed, since we used to "Land" there!! Your take on safety for kids is excellent, and there would be no shortage of playmates. Great neighborhood.
Your need for downsizing may be different from a growing family moving to a first home in the Denver area, and then moving. Just a thought.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 03:30 PM
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I think the Stapleton redevelopment is a great area but it is not cheap. Our son and DL are considering that area as it gives them nearly the same feeling that they had in their neighborhood in Chicago -- except it is all brand new and nearly maintenance free.
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 09:34 PM
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fmpden - I felt like the housing prices in Golden and Boulder were high...I think you can get a nice home for our price range in the Denver/Lakemont/Aurora/HR areas. Actually got a call from a potential employer today - 2 job openings (home health) - 1 in Denver, 1 in Lafayette (by Longmont). We kinda like Longmont, too. 80K people, nice open space, etc. Man, the decisions just get harder and harder! I so appreciate hearing from people actually living there - thank you, guys...and gals ! Hoping to go for an interview in the next week or so and check out both areas (Longmont and HR).
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Apr 22nd, 2010, 09:36 PM
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Oh, and have been watching House Hunters...actually saw a HR episode...too funny! Seen one on Westminster and one on Aurora, too. And several "My First Sale" episodes are based in Boulder or Denver...just fyi...
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