Tell me about Fort Collins... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-26-2007, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Fort Collins-area families I need your help! Please tell me why (or why not) my family wants to move to your area!

Here’s the scoop: my husband is a graduate student: who will finish in May 2008 with his Ph.D. in English. That means he is on the job market right now for positions to begin fall 2008, and he has four interviews this Friday and Saturday (12/28 &12/29) for tenure-track assistant professor positions at Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Villanova University (outside Philadelphia), Whitworth University (Spokane, WA), and Mercer University (Macon, GA). From these interviews he could be invited for an on-campus interview at any of those universities and possibly (hopefully! offered the position. If he’s offered the position we have two weeks to decide whether to decline or accept. It’s very rare to be offered two positions, but, just in case, I’m trying to learn more about each area to help us make the best decision possible.

FYI—none of these options is near family, so we will be at least 8 hours from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

Here are my concerns/interests and I would love to hear about them in your area. Please don’t feel that you have to address every one, but whatever thoughts/comments you have are greatly appreciated!

HOUSING: We currently live in an area where you can get a decent home for under $200,000. We’d love to get 4 bedroom, 2 bath home (preferring space over modern décor, i.e. we don’t mind painting 70s mustard color walls!). Is that affordable on a professor’s salary (hopefully somewhere between $40-50,000—we’re hoping that I can be a SAHM, though I should be able to find a part-time job as a nurse if needed)? Are there particular neighborhoods we should favor/avoid?

EDUCATION: My son has an August birthday and will be 5 in 2008, so we plan to homeschool for at least a year and then evaluate whether we want to continue homeschooling (my hope) or try kindergarten. What is homeschooling like in your area (e.g. regulations, groups)? What school districts should we favor/avoid?

FOOD: We try to eat organically/locally as much as we can afford (though we have lots of room for improvement!). Are there Farmer’s Markets/CSAs available? Natural foods stores and/or natural food sections at grocery stores?

BIRTHING/HEALTH: We hope to have another child after we move. I’d like to use a midwife and/or birthing center if they are available/legal. What are the birthing options and legalities? What about hospital(s) experiences? Other recommendations? (I might consider a home birth, but I’m a nurse and as “crunchy” as I’ve become, the things I’ve seen still make it hard for me to wrap my brain completely around that option.). What about pro-breastfeeding, delayed/selective vaccination-friendly healthcare providers?

PARENTING: We do breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, etc. Are there play groups, babywearing groups, LLL groups, etc. in the area?

OUT-AND-ABOUT: What are the fun things to do in your area? How often do you go to Denver/Cheyenne? What are the best kids museums/zoos, etc.?

If you have any particular comments/thoughts on the universities themselves (or anything else!), those are appreciated too! We’ll be gone for a few days at the conference where my husband’s interviews will take place, but please feel free to post here, PM me, or e-mail me and I’ll respond after we get back.

Thank you all so much for your help!
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#2 of 8 Old 12-26-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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If you move to Fort Collins you will love it. It reminds me of Berkely, CA but with a more fresh mountain appeal. There is much to do outdoor wise and the people do have a crunchy flare to them. I am not really sure on any of the specific questions you asked however yes they do have farmer type markets and fresh organic foods. Housing in general in Colorado has gone up so its not cheap but managable. Fort Collins is a known college party town as well so you will find a younger crowd...which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it...GO RAMS!! Good luck to you and your family on whatever avenue you end up on!

: DD 8/29/08 and twin boys 11/3/09
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#3 of 8 Old 12-28-2007, 08:42 PM
 
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I saw your thread over in the WA/OR area as we have been off and on considering moving out that way ourselves. We've been in Ft. Collins for nearly 10 years now -- originally from the SF Bay area. The thing we have the hardest time with out here is the weather (snow and cold) and a somewhat depressed economy. Housing prices aren't dropping like many areas where they went up a lot, but they are pretty stagnant and it is a buyer's market at the moment.

Housing: The type of house you describe would probably go for $250K in FTC depending on what part of town you're looking at. If you want to be close to campus, it would be more (somewhere from $350K or up).

Schools: There are a number of homeschoolers around here and I'm sure that you'd find people to network with in that regard. I believe that one of the secular ones is called something like Northern Colorado Homeschoolers Assn. I'd check with an AP group called the Mothers Circle and someone there could get you in touch with homeschoolers. The cut-off for starting school (if you went that route) varies from district to district as CO is a "local education authority" state. The local district cut-offs vary from "5 by" some time in June (Windsor) to Sept. 15 (Poudre -- FTC) to Oct. 1 (Thompson -- Loveland).

Food: We're vegan, so I'm well acquainted with the HFS, etc. in town. There are a large # of CSAs locally as well as a farmer's market that has 2 locations in town and runs on Weds and Sundays from May-Oct. We also have a Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Market (somewhat of a HFS) and a Whole Foods.

Birthing: If you are going with a CNM, I'd try Woman Care. It is a CNM practice with an affiliation with OBs through the Women's Clinic. They are pretty non-invasive. We also have two homebirth midwives in town with whom I am familiar. The only hospital in FTC proper is Poudre Valley Hospital (PVH). I work there and both of my dds were born there. My experience was that your birth experience really depended upon your midwife, not the hospital so much. My second dd was a natural childbirth with use of the jacuzzi. In Loveland, there are two hospitals: Medical Center of the Rockies (MCR) -- which is part of the same Poudre Valley Health System that runs PVH -- and McKee Medical Center -- which is part of Banner Health.

Parenting: I'd try that Mothers Circle group that I mentioned earlier.

Fun things: Discovery Center Science Museum (very small, but fun), Environmental Learning Center which houses some unreleasable birds of prey that have been rehabilitated by the Rocky Mountain Raptor program (very cool program on the north end of FTC), yearly open house at the Vet Hospital at CSU where kids can see animals and practice being a "vet" for the day, yearly Little Shop of Physics hosted by CSU's Physics dept, the farm at Lee Martinez park (working farm where kids can feed animals and ride ponies), libraries, parks, indoor play areas like "Bounce" in Loveland, and Fit for Fun in FTC.
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#4 of 8 Old 12-28-2007, 09:09 PM
 
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You got some good information already but here's my two cents . I've lived her 18 years on Wednesday so I'm practically a native.

Housing is still pretty expensive here, the median house for what your looking for would be $250,000 easily. Around campus possibly more.

Right on the back of the yellow vax card is a place for exemptions; I've known quite a few people who have used it. You can be as involved in a home school group as you want to be. I'm not sure of them specifically but it's not at all unusual to see kiddos out and about during the day. Poudre school district allows school choice which means so long as there is room in the school your child can go anywhere; you're not stuck in the neighborhood school if it doesn't work for your child.

There are lots of parks including one that is fully accessable. There are two sheets of ice and two public (indoor) pools and one outdoor. A lot of bike trails and an okish public bus system.Lory State Park and Horsetooth Mountain Park are both close and good trail Hikes. Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park is about an hour away.

We go to Denver to the Zoo and Museum of Nature and Science but we try and combine it with other things like a kid who plays competetive hockey and lacrosse. We rarely go to Cheyenne unless we are going to the Sierra Trading Post outlet store or the junkyard.

I've had two of my kids at PVH and one in Greeley. It was a while ago and things have changed since so I'll leave that to others.

If you're a nurse you wouldn't have any trouble picking up a shift here or there. Not only are there the three hospitals mentioned but there are a ton of assisted living, nursing homes and rehab facilities in town and the surrounding area.
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#5 of 8 Old 12-28-2007, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for the information and the time/effort you put into them! My DH's interview is tomorrow so we'll see how it goes!
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#6 of 8 Old 12-29-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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Oh, and if you're here right now -- the weather sucks! It's freezing and this is the time of year when we seriously consider moving -- lol! The weather is highly erratic in Colorado, though. It can be like this (in the 20s or low 30s for a high) one day and then 50 for a high a few days later. I wouldn't expect the snow to stick around for too long unless we have an atypical and crummy winter like we did last winter. It does get very windy here in the spring, though.
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#7 of 8 Old 01-07-2008, 02:38 AM
 
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How did it go?

I have a few things I could add but if you're headed elsewhere I guess it wouldn't make much sense to respond...

I hope your DH finds a great job!
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#8 of 8 Old 01-08-2008, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for the wonderful and helpful information.

Unfortunately we've found out that my DH is not one of the final candidates for the position. :

I hope this information will be helpful for others who are lucky enough to move to Ft. Collins!
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