move to Atlanta?

Old Oct 2nd, 2000, 10:13 AM
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move to Atlanta?

My husband is considering a job in Atlanta, and we're looking some information on the city's livability. We're in Minneapolis right now, which is an extremely livable city. How would Atlanta compare as far as quality of schools, recreation (we like running, hiking, cycling and racquet sports), green space, etc? Are there good neighborhoods in the city (we are die-hard city people)? Arts, entertainment, etc? Any info would be most helpful. I have read a lot in the tourist guides but would like to get the real dirt on what it's like to live there (we've heard both good and bad).

Thanks a bunch!
Old Oct 2nd, 2000, 11:48 AM
Brian in Atlanta
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There are good intown neighborhoods, but unless you're willing to live in a gentrifying fringe area, you're looking at $400K for a 3bd/2bth house. Established in-town neighborhoods to consider: Ansley Park, Midtown, Virginia Highlands, Morningside, Candler Park. The neighborhoods of Buckhead (Garden Hills, Brookwood) are a bit off center, but are still considered intown. Greenspace is limited and often inundated with homeless close-in.

City government is a joke. Atlanta is a racially and economically polerized city with the poorer southside having the larger voting block. But things are on the upswing - after finally realizing that commuting to the suburbs was ruining their lives (Atlanta has the longest average daily driving commute in the world) the middle and upper classes are moving back into the city (sharply raising property values).

There is petty crime in the city, a very weak police force (about 400 officers shy of budget), problems with litter and homelessness, and a city government which is pretty much unresponsive. And for all this, taxes are high.

Due to all the suburbanites driving solo for 2 hours each day in their SUVs, we have serious pollution problems in the summer.

The weather is usually pretty good. The summer's heat is probably exagerated (plus everything's airconditioned) but we're in the second year of a fairly serious drought.

Intown neighborhoods are undergoing an incredible building boom (especially Midtown) with new condos/office buildings/restaurants/etc sprouting up everywhere. There does seem to be hope.

We don't have kids, but Atlanta city schools don't win any awards.

The restaurant scene gets better all the time, and there are a few good neighborhood theaters.

Atlanta's geographic location is pretty good - a couple of hours from the foothills of the mountains and about 4-5 hours to the beach. And of course you can get a non-stop flight to just about anywhere.

Oh, and if you're not a religious person, prepare to keep it to yourself.

Sorry to ramble.
Old Oct 2nd, 2000, 01:12 PM
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I agree with virtually everything Brian said.
Old Oct 2nd, 2000, 05:50 PM
Bob Brown
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Hi Chrissy. Brian is very accurate in his description. I live near Atlanta, but I am frequently in the area. My son lives north of the city in central Cobb County. Traffic is as bad as Brian says. The subway is ok, but limited to a north - south line that forks a new miles north of the down town area and runs to a suburb called Doraville and one called Sandy Springs, and an east - west line. The planning was so poor that there is no subway line to Turner Field where the Braves play.
As a retired University of Georgia professor I can tell you that some very good students come out of private schools like Pace and Westminster. The good public high schools seem to be in Cobb County, but my sampling is not complete. I know I have taught well prepared students from Lassiter and Wheeler high schools. But as I said my sampling is limited. A lot of the traffic problem you might have is a function of where your jobs are. My son for example works for an insurance company and commutes north to a suburb on the north side called Alpharetta.
So he is going against the main flow of traffic.
Commuting time to an office inside the beltway or along the belt way can be long and anger provoking. There are many nice houses in the area, but as Brian so accurately said, houses located in the city are gaining in price almost hourly.
Although my income for years was paid for by the tax payers of the state,
I still would recommend that you consider carefully before you move.
If it is such that you could live in East Cobb County and not commute deep into the area within the beltway, then I think you could find good housing, fairly easy driving except at rush hour, and adequate to good schools. I know Shriner Academy (private) is tough academically. Even 4th graders have considerable homework and even change classes to get specialty teachers.
(My step grandson goes there; that is how I know. His homework load is high in my opinion for a 4th grader. His mom is a whiz at math (honors calculus at UGA) and she frequently has to help him.
Old Oct 3rd, 2000, 05:53 AM
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Chrissy: Brian, Steve, and Bob always seem to give good travel advice, and their comments on Atlanta's livability are also astute. I'll add a few thoughts. "Atlanta" (really, metropolitan Atlanta area) is a poster child for urban sprawl. I work with many people (my office is in downtown Atlanta) who live 20-35 miles from work in all directions and rarely use public transportation. Where is your husband's potential employer physically located? That would definitely influence your choice of a neighborhood.

The Atlanta area added 800,000+ people in the 1990s, and I think half drive an SUV (at extremely high speeds). Ozone levels are too high for too many days in the summer, and the recent drought has exacerbated this. But people still gripe because they can't water their big suburban lawns every day in the summer. Go figure. And Georgia state government is not nearly as enlightened as Minnesota's from what I've seen. Environmental and consumer protection laws are either weak or poorly enforced.

Brian's neighborhood summary is excellent, but he omitted the city of Decatur. It is 6-7 miles from downtown Atlanta (east), has its own city government and public school system (and high taxes), and is generally regarded as move livable than the city of Atlanta proper. Great restaurants, jogging, walking, trees, close to MARTA. Housing prices have risen, although that generally means in the $280-400k range. Those on the $200k+ end tend to be post WWII era, 2BR, 1 bath homes. E-mail me if you need more info on Decatur. The city has a web site, too.

Private schools in Atlanta are very popular; my kids are and have attended city of Decatur public schools, and we've been generally pleased. Bob is correct; most of the public schools with higher average standardized test scores are in Cobb and Gwinnett counties (where most of the new SUVs, big lawns, and longer commutes are). Life, it seems, is a series of trade-offs. -- Steve2

Old Oct 3rd, 2000, 06:31 AM
Bob Brown
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I forgot, also, to mention Decatur as a good area in which to live. And it does have its own government as indicated.
In fact that whole area around Decatur and Emory Hospital has some nice residential areas. But you need to be careful in looking because if you travel two blocks, you can go through a transistion zone. Stone Mountain even farther to the east and Lilburn have upscale housing areas too, but the commute starts to get long and tedious. When you stop and think just how far it is from Stone Mountain around the north side of Atlanta over to Marietta on the northeastern side, you realize just how sprawled out the metro Atlanta area has become.
On the other hand, let us not forgot that many skilled, well-trained, and competent people live and work in Atlanta.
Culturally, Atlanta has a wide variety of offerings. The classical music scene in the area is picking up. In addition to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, there are at least 2 growing community style orchestras. Spivey Hall (Clayton State U.) is a renowned concert facility because of its acoustics, and many internationally known performers come there each year. The Alliance Theater and other theaters put on first class drama productions. The High Museum of Art is trying hard to bring quality exhibitions into the city.
There are several quality institutions of higher learning: Ga. State, Ga. Tech,
Kennesaw State University, Clayton State, Emory University, Agnes Scott College, Oglethorpe U, a branch of Mercer (main campus in Macon),
and the cluster of traditional schools including Morehouse, Atlanta U, Spellman and some others. UGA is also expanding with extension classes into Gwinnett County and a new center for UGA is being developed there now and into the future.
And there is also Southern Technical College and the former DeKalb Community College (cannot think of the new name) as part of the state system, and Life College, which as far as I know is private. I hope I did not leave out anyone and I apologize if I did.
So, yes, there are detriments.
But also realize that metro Atlanta is made up of several different counties including DeKalb, Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and Rockdale among others.
As Yogi Berra is reported to have said in a slight paraphrase: Atlanta is getting so crowded that nobody goes there anymore. Enough have arrived already!!
But there is one essential piece to the puzzle where the Atlanta megapolis is concerned: it abounds in employment opportunities!!
Old Oct 3rd, 2000, 08:28 AM
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Chrissy: I have lived in Atlanta for 40 years and have seen it change for the worse, due to poor planning/rapid growth in the suburbs. The traffic is apalling, even on the weekends, not to mention the ever-increasing pollution. You should get a reliable agent to show you the city neighborhoods and the suburbs, but, if it were me, and my husband was working intown, I'd beg, borrow,and steal to be able to live intown. I do and always have and always will. I reverse commute to the suburbs to work and pity anyone sitting in the traffic on a daily basis..ugh!! Yes, houses intown are increasing in price, but the city is experiencing a nice "turn-around" and very exciting things are happening with regards to re-building a viable "downtown" with housing, shops, etc. Don't get me wrong, I do love this city I've called home since my early teens, but I would advise anyone to thoroughly check it out before moving here, especially from a city as highly regarded as Minneapolis is. If you plan to visit, feel free to e-mail me and I will help you in any way I can. Regards.
Old Oct 3rd, 2000, 05:40 PM
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"I can tell you that some very good students come out of private schools like Pace and Westminster."

For all of those that think travel/relo it's all the same. Talking about the private schools really helped me with my trip to Atlanta.

This is no freaking relo forum, lets get this nonsense stopped.

Old Oct 4th, 2000, 07:01 AM
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Come on Brian. Don't read the post if it bothers you. Since you read a post that you have no interest in you obviously have way too much time on your hands. With a personality like yours that is very suprising.
Old Oct 4th, 2000, 07:16 AM
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I've lived in Atlanta for 20+ years, and everything Brian, Bob, Steve and Sally have hit the bullseye. So, I won't bore you by being repetitive. It is a great city and it has its problems. Please visit as many times as you can before committing. There's a lot to see.
Let me also say that I have been using Fodor's for nearly a year now, and I don't mind a post like this at all.
Old Oct 4th, 2000, 01:29 PM
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If you truly are "die hard city people" you might like Atlanta, but if you like running, hiking, cycling, raquet sports and green space stay where your at.
In other words, if your husbands prospective employer can throw enough money at you to give up what is truly good, come on down here with the rest of us rats.
Old Oct 4th, 2000, 01:45 PM
Fred small
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Just a suggestion: If you should decide to move to Atlanta after all the negatives you're absorbing, get a book and read about Atlanta's history. Obviously the folks responding to your question are trying to assist you, but their scope is very narrow, very shallow. They complain about weak government - they should first learn about Atlanta's past, when in the 50's and 60's so much progress began there. I do not dispute their facts about traffic, real estate and incomes - but it's apparent they have little if any heart for the city. Try listening to someone who does, just to get a bit of balance before you decide. You would be moving into an historic place and you ought to factor that in, just so you see something beyond the limitations of this thread. And yes, perhaps this is not a relocation forum .... so?
Old Oct 4th, 2000, 04:14 PM
Bob Brown
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For those of you who object to discussing the merits of a city, take a look at the European side. There are many discussions of the major cities of Europe, particularly Paris and its Arrondissments.
Also, if a person is considering relocation, why not ask? The people who contribute to this forum often are very well informed and astute observers.
As for not liking the topic, I am reminded of a story involving a Chinese laundry (advertised as such on the window) in Washington D.C. A fastidous office mate of mine was very picky about his shirts, but he was also a cheapskate. He took his dress shirts (we were at the time expected to wear one to work) to the Chinese laundry because the rate was something like 15% less than the other laundries. One day my fastidious acquaintance got his shirts back and did not like the way they were pressed. So he started fussing at the proprietor. The elderly Chinese fellow simply looked at the complainer, shrugged his shoulders, raised both hands, palms up, opposite his shoulders, and said "No like, no bring." Well no like, no read!!

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