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Old 05-03-2013, 01:24 PM
Winnie Winnie is offline
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Anyone familiar with the Pensacola area? Looking for some insight...

My husband is a government contractor, and the company he contracts for would like to offer him a permanent position. The possibility of them moving us to their headquarters in Pensacola, FL is becoming very strong. We've both lived in the DC area our whole lives, have 2 sons (8 and 2), and while we enjoy what this area has to offer (and the excellent school system), the stress and high cost of living here is taking a toll on us. We've always talked about relocating and would love to live closer to the ocean. It seemed this would be an excellent solution.

However. I have looked up the stats for this part of Florida and they are abysmal. The company is trying to move employees to the Ramsey Beach and Beulah areas, specifically. The crime rates are shocking, the school systems look atrocious (ruling out public schools for us) and there doesn't seem to be a high demographic of families with young children. While I'm all about adventure and a new experience for my kids, sacrificing our safety and their education isn't something I can be relaxed about. The area we live in Loudoun County right now is like Mayberry. We can leave doors unlocked, there are friendly neighbors everywhere, amazing school across the street from our house, and NO crime to speak of

This "Neighborhood Scout" website rates Pensacola proper just above Detroit in crime:http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/pensacola/crime/

Here is the neighborhood info for Ramsey Beach and Beulah specifically:
http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/.../ramsey-beach/
http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/pensacola/beulah/

Is anyone familiar with these areas? Would you raise a family there, and are there opportunities for young families with kids?
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2013, 01:48 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Pensacola is in the Florida panhandle (aka The Redneck Riviera). It also has a large military presence because of the Naval Air Station there. It has some of the most beautiful warm water beaches in the U.S. close by and I would argue that nearby Destin is the prettiest one of all. However, the area has that nickname for a reason and the clientele is not the same people you would see on the French Riviera. It is on the Gulf Coast so it can be shockingly hot during the 6 month summer.

It isn't a bad place overall. I have visited there a bunch of times but I honestly don't think I could live there especially with kids. You are basically dealing with what happens when the worst stereotypes about Florida meet in a perfect storm with the worst traits of the Deep South.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:59 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is online now
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I'm not terribly familiar with Pensacola, but I really think that Neighborhood Scout's data might be presented in a slightly misleading way. Based on what I suspected, I looked up my own city data. (I live in a small southern town of 30,000, with a university of over 20,000 students. It's really like Mayberry, with the addition of nine months of mostly benign college shenanigans.) According to this site, Statesboro is only safer than 8% of US cities...

This site seems not to differentiate between minor property crime (neighborhood kids steal change and phones from unlocked cars - there was a rash of that last year,) and assault or murder. Statesboro's violent crime rate is about half the national average, with a slightly higher rate of robbery and rape and significantly lower rates of assault and murder. Property crime rates are higher than state and national averages, except for auto theft.

This makes sense - large university population, which skews very young. Pensacola would likely suffer from a similar distortion in its crime rates, based on demographics.

tl/dr version: I wouldn't give much credence to this site's Crime Index. It's kind of skewed.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:22 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
My husband is a government contractor, and the company he contracts for would like to offer him a permanent position. The possibility of them moving us to their headquarters in Pensacola, FL is becoming very strong. We've both lived in the DC area our whole lives, have 2 sons (8 and 2), and while we enjoy what this area has to offer (and the excellent school system), the stress and high cost of living here is taking a toll on us. We've always talked about relocating and would love to live closer to the ocean. It seemed this would be an excellent solution.

However. I have looked up the stats for this part of Florida and they are abysmal. The company is trying to move employees to the Ramsey Beach and Beulah areas, specifically. The crime rates are shocking, the school systems look atrocious (ruling out public schools for us) and there doesn't seem to be a high demographic of families with young children. While I'm all about adventure and a new experience for my kids, sacrificing our safety and their education isn't something I can be relaxed about. The area we live in Loudoun County right now is like Mayberry. We can leave doors unlocked, there are friendly neighbors everywhere, amazing school across the street from our house, and NO crime to speak of

This "Neighborhood Scout" website rates Pensacola proper just above Detroit in crime:http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/pensacola/crime/

Here is the neighborhood info for Ramsey Beach and Beulah specifically:
http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/.../ramsey-beach/
http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/fl/pensacola/beulah/

Is anyone familiar with these areas? Would you raise a family there, and are there opportunities for young families with kids?
I spent most of my childhood in Pensacola, although that's 20+ years ago now and I really don't know what it's like now. I know the population has increased quite a bit since I lived there. But my mother specifically chose Pensacola because it seemed like a good place to raise kids as a single mother (military widow). She'd lived there briefly with my dad early in their marriage, before any of us kids were born.

It seemed like a fine place to be a child to me. It was not my impression that there was much crime in the area, our neighborhood seemed safe and kids played outside a lot. There was a good gifted program in the public schools, and Pensacola High School, which has an International Baccalaureate program, was considered a good high school. We moved away while I was in middle school so I never attended PHS, but looking at the Wikipedia entry for the school, I see that in more recent years it's repeatedly made Newsweek's list of the country's top high schools.
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Old 05-03-2013, 07:32 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Missed the edit window, but I wanted to add that while I don't remember that our neighborhood even had a specific name, by comparing Google Maps to Wikipedia's list of districts and neighborhoods for the city I've worked out that it was in the Goulding district. Again though, I have no idea what that area is like today.
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  #6  
Old 05-04-2013, 06:24 AM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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We moved here to Pensacola many years ago. The first thing I noticed while looking for a house was that two or three nice houses could be right next to a rough-looking trailer park etc. So you can't just go by neighborhood, you might have to go by street, and which end. Which is why I'd suggest renting at first so you have a chance to really scope things out.

In the time we've lived here the crime rate has gone way up. Murder is no longer shocking, or even that it happened during the day. Now that's not everywhere, but scattered, like I said above. There are also areas with very little crime where you don't have to lock your doors.

You really might want to go the private school route though I'm sure some of the public schools are better than others. A lot of them have classes in trailers behind the main building.
The library system is...be glad for intra-library loans. And there aren't a lot of branches; they (we) have bookmobiles.

It's beautiful down here. The sand is so white it looks like snow. The water is a clear emerald green. You can choose crowds or solitude. There are bunches of free things to do too, on the beach (Bands on the Beach once a week, over at the Shell on the boardwalk other times) and especially downtown (free music in Seville Square, Gallery Night where they block off the streets and people wander from one art gallery to the next. With maybe a glass of wine in one hand and a chicken leg in the other.) A lot of kid oriented events too and a Farmer's Mrkt. on Saturday mornings.

Being from TN we lucked out and found a place on maybe the only hill in the area, right next to the bay. When you find that sweet spot between work, schools etc. it really is paradise. And if you live in Beulah you'll have the Sausage Festival and bluegrass. PM me if you want.
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2013, 06:58 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Becky2844 View Post
You really might want to go the private school route though I'm sure some of the public schools are better than others. A lot of them have classes in trailers behind the main building.
Is that really a reason to pay for a private school? One of my elementary school classes met in a "portable classroom" behind the main building, and I don't remember it being at all unpleasant. There may be some that are miserable, but this was a good sized room and was clean and tidy inside.

The middle school I attended after we moved to another state was in a city with a highly regarded public school system (one of the top ten in the country, according to Forbes) and a low crime rate. This particular school was also located in a fairly affluent part of town...but was terribly overcrowded. I could go on about this at length, I have some kind of shocking stories about the things that had to be done to deal with the severe lack of space, but I'll just say that I remember my year in the trailer classroom much more fondly than my time at the overstuffed middle school.
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