17 answers

Moving to Grand Rapids Area

My husband was offered a job yesterday that would move us to the Grand Rapids area this summer. What can you ladies tell me about your community? My husband wants to look at Holland and Grand Haven, and I'm leaning more towards Grand Rapids, but I know nothing about the area. Is the kindergarten cut off really in December? What can you tell me about the school system? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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you've gotten some good advice. I say meet halfway (between holland and gr)and go for Jenison, Hudsonville, Byron Center on the outskirts south of Grand Rapids or coopersville, allendale and walker area.

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Hi J.,

Good luck on the move and congrats on the promotion/offer. We moved here about two years ago for our jobs as well. Grand Haven and Holland are both nice, but with gas prices I would recommend you look closer to GR. I don't know about the school deadlines because I have a 3 month old.

We live in Caledonia (just south of GR), which has nice neighborhoods and a great school district. There is Ada and Lowell, which are east, that are good. All within 15 minutes of GR. Grandville is nice too - they have a 2 story mall :). Jenison and Hudsonville are quaint and they are closer than Holland and Grand Haven.

I hope this helps you.

Welcome! Take a look at Rockford! It has highly rated schools, strong parent involvement and a great community. The town is very charming with the square and the dam, there is much to offer with many community festivals, farmers market, white pine trail and shopping. It is close to downtown GR. There are many opportunities for families and kids programs.
We moved from Illinois many years ago and finally settled in Rockford. We love it as do our children.
Good Luck in your move!

I strongly agree with the other gals. Stay out of Grand Rapids Public. There are a lot of great schools in the surrounding areas of Grand Rapids. I don't know anything about Holland or Grand Haven schools, but if your husband is going to be working in Grand Rapids, he is going to have a very long commute, especially during the winter. The roads can be horrendous with the lake effect snow.

sounds like you have heard it all already. We live in Cascade which is in Forest Hills schools and have been very happy with our location. Everyone is right on about being close to everything with the feel of privacy in a wooded area too. I just wanted to be sure to let you know about the young 5's option if you feel your little one isn't ready for kindergarten but still technically meets the Dec. cut off - it is a great program. In addition, for preschoolers Grand Rapids has Bright Beginnings which is such a wonderful program with playgroups throughout the grand rapids and KISD school area. Hope your move goes well and good luck househunting!

Hi J.... I used to live in Grand Haven and can tell you that while it does have that nice "small town" feel to it, I too recently relocated to Ada and absolutely love it. The only thing that I really miss from my old area is how much quicker I was able to get to the beach! Grand Rapids is a fun spot and there there is always something to occupy your time with. The Childrens Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens are great locations for an afternoon of fun with the kids, and there are plenty of spas and gyms for you to enjoy your free time!! It is all within a decent driving time, and depending on where you decide to buy/rent... the bike paths are GREAT! We are either running or biking almost everyday over here on Ada Rd, Cascade and Thornapple River Dr! I do recommend that you enroll your children in East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Rockford, or Lowell Public Schools. We are currently in the Forest Hills school district and they are outstanding with the kids. Well, hopefully this will entice your husband enough! Good luck!

you've gotten some good advice. I say meet halfway (between holland and gr)and go for Jenison, Hudsonville, Byron Center on the outskirts south of Grand Rapids or coopersville, allendale and walker area.

I live in the city of Grand Rapids and have a daughter entering Kindergarten in the Fall. Yes, the age cut off is 5 by December 1, and they do NOT have a young 5's program. If your son turns 5 after December 1 they do have a Pre-School program through the Michigan School Readiness Program - but you have to meet 2 of 25 qualifing criteria to get in. Most of them are geared towards low income, but not all. My oldest is in the program this year and will be moving to Kindergarten in the Fall. However, we opted to put her in a Charter School, as Grand Rapids Public Schools is not one of the best in the area. There are other local communities around the GR area that have better school systems - East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills (Ada), Byron Center, Jenison, Grandville, Hudsonville are just a few. However, there are also a lot of good Charter and Private schools in the area so that's always an option as well.

Hello J.!!

Let me first offer an early "WELCOME" to the mitten state! Some of my favorite things about West Michigan are the beautiful seasons, the amazing lakes and all of the destinations that are an easy afternoon carride away (Chicago, Mackinac Island, Detroit, etc., etc.). The Grand Rapids area also offers a friendly, wonderful community of neighbors. It's a very nice place to be!

As far as schools, I think you are smart to do your research. Fortunately, the Grand Rapids surrounding area has a lot to offer and several districts offer award winning schools, including Grandville, Rockford, Forest Hills, and East Grand Rapids.

In deciding where to look for housing, I would consider looking at the southern end of Grand Rapids. A few years ago the south beltline (M-6) was completed and it is a wonderful highway, offering easy access to Lake Michigan, the aiport, downtown GR, other highways (including I-96 or US-131) and a quick travel route to the east (Lansing, Detroit, etc.). Also, there is a great deal of growth and development along the new highway, including new, state-of-the-art hospitals, universities and lots of shopping, dining and entertainment.

Michigan has seen a significant increase in the number of foreclosures (as have many mid-western states), but as a buyer it an amazing time to be shopping! You can get a lot more house for a lot less money.

My husband and I are both REALTORS and are very happy to be living and working in West Michigan. Please feel free to send an email or contact us if we can help you with any part of your relocation. My email is ____@____.com

On a more personal note, we lived in Rockford for three years and now live in the Grandville/Wyoming area (Grandville School District). Both are wonderful cities with a lot to offer. Rockford is more rural, but truly an amazing community. Grandville is a great location. I am literally moments from a gallon of milk or a new pair of designer shoes - it's all right here! Also, if we want to enjoy a picnic on the beach or go watch the sunset, the lakeshore is less than a 20 minute drive. Where ever you decide to settle down, I'm sure you will enjoy a wonderful sense of community. Keep us posted and let us know if we can help show you around some of our favorite family friendly spots once you're in town. Good luck!!

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