Anyone live in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area?
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  1. #1

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    Default Anyone live in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area?

    Hubby just had a job interview in Cedar Rapids -- looks promising. If he gets the job we will have to move very quickly. We may know as early as next week and he would have to start work in about a month.

    I have lots of questions about best area to live, grocery shopping, etc. if someone from that area doesn't mind...

  2. #2

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    Sure do - I'm from Coralville and would be happy to answer any questions you have about the area! One of my co-workers just moved here from Texas so I've been helping her all week too! Good luck to your husband on his interview.

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    Registered User jkelstaten's Avatar
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    I grew up there and my mom is still living there. I really like it.

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    Thanks so much. Coralville is on our list of possibles -- also North Liberty, Robins, Hiawatha, Marion (not sure about Marion). We're more suburban types so not really looking in the city, but DH would be working in downtown Cedar Rapids when he's there -- would be on the road some. Our biggest concern moving to a new area is that we locate in an area that is safe. We also need an apt. that will accept cats. Right now we pay $500 for a one BR in a newer complex in a nice suburban area. 2 BR's are $600 in our complex. We're looking for something in that neighborhood rent wise. Is that realistic in your area?

    Looks like Hy-Vee is the major grocery store -- we're used to more variety. We did stop at New Pioneer? (did I get the name right?) the health food co-op. Prices were a bit higher than we are used to at Whole Foods here. Overall cost of living looked a little higher.

    He would be getting a substantial pay increase from his last job -- just want to make sure cost of living doesn't eat it up.

    I'm an artist -- it looked like it might be a good area for me to be in art wise.

    The people we spoke to all seemed very friendly and open. We really miss that where we are now.

    I just want your opinon based on your experience. Any information or opinions you have that could help make this smoother would be appreciated. We made a very quick trip -- 2 days didn't have a lot of time to look around.

    I know we're jumping the gun a little -- he doesn't have the job yet. But we will have to move so fast if he does we feel we need to at least do a little preliminary looking now. I've stayed behind while he started new jobs before, but I'm not doing it again. I don't get any sleep when hubby is gone -- the cat wails hysterically all night long.

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    Well, Iowa City has the University (as I'm sure you know) so it's more of a melting-pot whereas Cedar Rapids has more of a blue-collar, bigger city atmosphere. Iowa City has it's share of problems with the college kids and homeless but Cedar Rapids seems to have more crime overall. Both are relatively safe; I don't ever lock my car doors around here and wouldn't hesitate to walk around alone after dark (although both have their "bad" areas). Everyone is friendly. The Iowa City area is a little more expensive than CR for housing and apartments but you should be able to find something nice for what you are paying now. Either way the commute is not bad. As an artist you'd probably prefer Iowa City.

    I get a lot of my groceries at HyVee but there's also several Fareway stores around that are a little cheaper with good quality meat as well. I shop at New Pi too and it is a little high, but if you become a member for $60 you get a 5% discount, plus you can put in volunteer hours there to receive additional monthly discounts - your membership can be sold back to them should you ever move out of the area. I also go to Aldi for basics because they are cheaper, and Walmart on occasion. Cedar Rapids also has a Target that sells groceries.

    If it were me I would look into North Liberty or Coralville area first, especially if you don't care much for the city, that way you've got options in both places to shop and work. There's also Swisher, Shueyville or Ely but they are very small communities and I don't know what they have for rentals at any given time. Then I'd look to the further sides of CR.

    Let me know if you think of anything else!

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    Thank you so much for the information -- it was very helpful.

    The University of Iowa is HUGE! We drove by it and by it and by it. And it looks like everyone walks -- we were there around 10 am on Friday. It was a bit of a shock for us. DH went to a moderate sized state university in Missouri and I went to a small Catholic college in Kansas, so we were quite surprised.

    But there are things in Iowa city that are attractive to us largely because it is a university town. Your area is definitely a possibility, but so is the area just north of Cedar Rapids.

    I think I probably have enough right now to be able to get moving if we get the phone call. I was getting confused on housing costs because rents I found online were higher than local apt. guide and newpaper. The few people we talked to in Cedar Rapids about apartments were pretty negative about it.

    My husband grew up in Kansas City which is much larger so he can "size up" and learn a city very quickly. We enojy having the city close by -- we just don't like living there. We think the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area would be a good fit for us.

    I'll post again after we learn the final decision. I might have more questions if I find out we really are making the move.

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    Registered User HisDaisy's Avatar
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    I lived in the Iowa City area up until 1 year ago.
    You may find that the Cedar Rapids area is a little cheaper to live in.
    That said I love Iowa City/Coralville. I lived in Coralville 4 of the 8 years I lived in the area.
    As for grocery stores, besides HyVee and Fareway, there is Aldi. There is also an Amish grocery south of Iowa City in the Kalona area. You can get great deals there are bulk foods and they have a lot of health foods (ie alternative flours, natural peanut butter, organic foods). They are cheaper than New Pioneer.

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    Thank you so much for the information.

    Right now I think we've kind of narrowed it down to two general areas -- Coralville/North Liberty or Robbins/Hiawatha (just north of Cedar Rapids).

    I picked up some information on Kalona and noticed the Amish store. Thanks for the info. on that. We've been looking for a good bulk source of alternative flours and grains and haven't even really found that where we live now.

    The big new shiny Hy-Vee stores make me physically ill -- don't know if it's the lights or what. Fareway usually has good meat but I'll still have to figure out the fresh stuff which is mostly what we eat. I don't shop at Aldi or Superwalmart.

    We did notice a fairly large and very busy outlet mall a little west of Iowa City. We pulled off the interstate and just drove through the parking lot. Looked like mostly clothing, but some very good brands. We like to save up some clothing money and hit an outlet mall a couple of times a year for end of season sales. The outlet mall in our area is all but dead -- we forgot what a thriving one looks like.

    We want this too bad, I know that. Just hope we don't crash too much if it doesn't come through.

    But he is having the most positive responses to applications he's making in Iowa in general so sooner or later we will probably be moving somewhere in Iowa. That's fine with me.

  10. #9

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    If the store in Kalona is Foods Naturally (not sure that it's Amish) it is closing.
    http://www.press-citizen.com/apps/pb...EWS01/80310005

    That's too bad.

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    Yes, that's the one. I don't shop there (too far out of the way for me) but I have a few friends who live in Kalona who were pretty dismayed about that at the time. The Cheese Factory there though is still going strong and is definitely worth the drive for!

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    Smile

    One other thing I forgot to mention about bulk grains etc. I just purchased 40pounds of wheat bran last week from New Pioneer - they special ordered it for me, and it came to about $.79 a pound which was cheaper than I'd been able to find online or at any of the feed stores around here, so if you buy in really large quantities from them their prices are very competitive.

  13. #12

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    They were supposed to notify first part of this week and haven't heard a word yet -- so we're assuming the answer is no. Employers rarely bother to send rejection letters these days so this is probably all we'll ever know. DH is pretty upset -- he wanted this one. But he still has another app out for a job he wants just as much so now he concentrates on it.

    Thanks for all the information anyway.

  14. #13

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    Well...I wouldn't be discouraged just yet, after all this is still in the earlier part of the week, or something may have come up (which happens in my company a lot) to mess up their timeline.

    I'll send some good vibes your way!

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