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Thread: Favorite Under-Rated Cities

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    The Highlands has a great music store (CDs)!

    When I think of Columbus, I think "Phoenix of the Midwest" with all that entails (good and (mostly) bad). Although, there are some very lovely older neighborhoods.
    If you don't mind expanding on this "Phoenix of the Midwest" theory, I'm curious. Columbus' syline seems much more pleasing to the eye than Phoenix's. Maybe its just the surroundings that make Columbus' look better. The downtown Phoenix I've seen is quite filthy, ugly, and run down. Columbus has a clean, albeit boring downtown from my experience. My time in Columbus is limited though, I've mainly only spent time in the Brewery District. I might have to go check it out again.

  2. #102
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    Kansas City!

    Chicago is under-rated too in the west, but maybe not nationally. No one in San Diego knows why I want to move there.

  3. #103
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    Columbus is not even close to the Phoenix of the Midwest, but Columbus is a mixed bag half new half old. In Phoenix you have Best Buy a mile from downtown where in Columbus you have brick streets and street car neighborhoods. You need to really get out and explore to see the city, even Columbus' downtown is large and spread out. Columbus skyline is way larger than most other cities of the same, smaller, or larger population (Downtown doesn't have the population density needed to really feel out all of the space, but has been very sucsefull at building downtown housing since 2003)

    In the 1930's Columbus was in the top 30 largest cities in the US. Columbus' size at this time is more similar to a city like Dallas. A city like Pheonix wasn’t even close to including all of the 1900, 1920, or earlier neighborhoods and street car suburbs. This leaves Columbus left with an original 40 square miles of inner city that was developed in a dense and beautiful way. Some of Columbus central city neighborhoods are the most gentrified and unique ones in the Midwest. It are these neighborhoods that set the city apart from its other "newer" counterparts. The streetcar neighborhoods north of downtown are the most impressive. These would be the Short North (www.shortnorth.org) arts district/neighborhood and then the university district belonging to the Ohio State University. German Village/Brewery District south downtown is also very gentrified and interesting. However, Columbus also has massive new urbanism development in its areas developed in the "new city" limits. These areas do have a sunbelt or LA Phoenix feel to them. (easton towne center is one of the large over the top new urbanism town center developments on the cities NE side' developed by Les Wexner owner of Victoria's Secret, Limited, etc))

  4. #104

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    Quote Originally posted by Jess502
    If you don't mind expanding on this "Phoenix of the Midwest" theory, I'm curious. Columbus' syline seems much more pleasing to the eye than Phoenix's. Maybe its just the surroundings that make Columbus' look better. The downtown Phoenix I've seen is quite filthy, ugly, and run down. Columbus has a clean, albeit boring downtown from my experience. My time in Columbus is limited though, I've mainly only spent time in the Brewery District. I might have to go check it out again.
    Maybe Phoenix, a hopeless city imo, is a bad example. Columbus is not THAT bad. Heck, I would nominate Phoenix and its economy of sprawlbuilding and reactionary politics as a definite "eyesore," South Mountain park aside.

    Maybe I should say Houston of the Midwest? Atlanta of the Midwest? I'll never deny the lovely pockets of urbanism in Columbus. It's just the place struck me as an absolutely gigantic sprawlsville.

  5. #105

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    Under-rated? Portland as compared to Seattle and San Francisco. El Paso as compared to Phoenix. Tucson, and Albuquerque. Salt Lake and Spokane as compared to Boise and Colorado Springs maybe?

    Over-rated are New Orleans and Austin, as compared to Kansas City and Cincinatti say.... Nashville is under-rated. Zacatecas, too. Monterrey-Saltillo as compared to Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Also over-rated? Caribbean cruises that never make it to Cartagena.

  6. #106
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    I will add Athens, GA. Great college town. Wonderful downtown. Only an hours drive from Atlanta, but has much more Southern charm.

    Taipei:
    I think it is one of the most underrated Asian Cities.
    The restaurants are incredible! And are still a bargain compared to Hong Kong and Tokyo.
    The devt around 101 is exciting.
    The city has a good abundance of nightlife.
    Surprisingly large and open gay community.
    Much cleaner than cities in the PRC.
    The city is a fusion of Chinese and Japanese culture.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop
    Everybody's favorite eminent domain abusers . . . New London, CT.

    Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME - although most people who have been there don't under-appreciate them.
    Definitely Portland. Cool town with a lot of nicely restored historic structures. I'll be going back there sometime

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    Lord forgive me, but Breed I'll go go farther and nominate Greenville. Because even as conservative, and oftentimes "backward," as the local politics can be, the City has done an incredible job on their downtown. And, frankly, there have been too many articles in Southern Living to quantify Charleston as under-rated.

    Even though I love that city...
    Greenville will remain nice as long as leftwing tax nazis like you stay away.

  9. #109
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    It would be possible to extend the BNSF line to Rockford for not much cost (the rail line goes through there already anyway) and I believe that it has, indeed, been proposed (but I can't remember by whom, now. ). It already takes over an hour to get to Chicago from Aurora on a local train though, so nearly doubling the length of the run would make commuting impractical. You'd end up having a train like the South Shore, that goes way the hell all the way out to South Bend but no regular, daily commuters take it past Dune Beach or so.

    Also I believe the extension (along with most Metra extensions) was opposed by Metropolis 2020 on the grounds that it would promote sprawl west of Aurora.
    Not to get technical, but...I think everytime you said "Aurora" should be replaced with "Elgin" and everytime you said "BNSF" should be replaced with "Milwaukee District West/C&NW." The BNSF goes out to Sugar Grove, whereas the MDW/C&NW is the line that actually goes out to Rockford.

    There are very long-term tentative plans, I believe, after seeing CATSMPO plans and such, of an extension of Metra along the Milwaukee District Line from the current terminus at Elgin/Big Timber to Huntley, then Marengo, and then possibly Belvidere and Rockford. There was also talk about a 2nd branch out to Hampshire.

    Metra service from the BNSF in Aurora, I think should also be extended...having one branch go to Sugar Grove, Hinckley, and Waterman, and another branch go to Montgomery, Oswego, Yorkville, Plano, and Sandwich. The branch out to Sugar Grove is just a crazy dream of mine, the one out to Kendall County, I think, is in the long term plans.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  10. #110
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Clemson Grad
    Greenville will remain nice as long as leftwing tax nazis like you stay away.
    Wow, Are you always so pleasant or is this some kind of act you put on to make friends? Because, if so, you may want to consider getting yourself some new material.

    Honestly, If you're going make ad homonym attacks and refuse to add anything to the discourse by making blanket generalization, then at least be consistent about it.

    In one thread you claim that no one wants to live in downtowns because they're overpriced ghetto's created by tax loving elitist liberals. Then in another thread you post two paragraphs about how wonderful Greenville, SC is because of it's downtown. Well guess what? That downtown is the result of hard working planners and (gasp!) progressive thinking politicians deciding twenty years ago that they wanted their city to be better than what they saw it being surrounded by.

    In another post you decry spending on regional rail as a waste of taxpayers money but then defend the idea of using the same funding source (your tax dollars) to chase after big box developments that have relocated because of the traffic problems that inhibited them at the last location.

    Then again in another thread you call me an anti-Southern left-wing partisan, and claim that I have poor reading comprehension skills. Now considering that I'm a product of the South Carolina public school system it's logically impossible for both of these to be true.

    Consider that your welcome to Cyburbia.

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    Wow, Are you always so pleasant or is this some kind of act you put on to make friends? Because, if so, you may want to consider getting yourself some new material.

    Honestly, If you're going make ad homonym attacks and refuse to add anything to the discourse by making blanket generalization, then at least be consistent about it.

    In one thread you claim that no one wants to live in downtowns because they're overpriced ghetto's created by tax loving elitist liberals. Then in another thread you post two paragraphs about how wonderful Greenville, SC is because of it's downtown. Well guess what? That downtown is the result of hard working planners and (gasp!) progressive thinking politicians deciding twenty years ago that they wanted their city to be better than what they saw it being surrounded by.

    In another post you decry spending on regional rail as a waste of taxpayers money but then defend the idea of using the same funding source (your tax dollars) to chase after big box developments that have relocated because of the traffic problems that inhibited them at the last location.

    Then again in another thread you call me an anti-Southern left-wing partisan, and claim that I have poor reading comprehension skills. Now considering that I'm a product of the South Carolina public school system it's logically impossible for both of these to be true. Consider that your welcome to Cyburbia.

    You attacked conservatives in Greenville...you called them backward...most people in Greenville are conservative. You are the one insulting people in here. You don't think anybody has the right to challenge you...you seem to think that you can just insult anybody you like and nobody has the right to respond to your stupid statements. Greenville's downtown was improved with corporations donating money, not by increasing taxes. I said Greenville has a nice mainstreet area in downtown....that doesn't mean there is no ghetto area of downtown greenville. Every downtown has a ghetto, no matter how nice some part of it is. Traffic problems didn't inhibit businesses on laurens road....greenville is growing on the eastside, and woodruff road is much more convenient for retail's customer base. You seem appalled that a business might want to relocate to a place closer to their customer base...how dare they! Retail stores MUST be on laurens road, a socialist control freak has decided that is best for us and the businesses! We are paying x amount of taxes for roads every year already, so taxes shouuld not increase if some more lanes need to be added to woodruff road, which I doubt will be necessary as woodruff road is not an artery that most commuters use to get to and from work. However, a tax hike would be necessary for your coveted rail system, and most people would not use that, and we would be paying for our own transportations costs (gas, car maintenance) in addition to funding your transportion costs (train ticket) when you could afford to pay for your own transportation costs. I understand that socialists don't care about taxation levels, but most people do...we don't have unlimited supplies of money to fund your pet projects.

  12. #112
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Clemson Grad
    You attacked conservatives in Greenville...you called them backward...most people in Greenville are conservative. You are the one insulting people in here. You don't think anybody has the right to challenge you...you seem to think that you can just insult anybody you like and nobody has the right to respond to your stupid statements. Greenville's downtown was improved with corporations donating money, not by increasing taxes. I said Greenville has a nice mainstreet area in downtown....that doesn't mean there is no ghetto area of downtown greenville. Every downtown has a ghetto, no matter how nice some part of it is. Traffic problems didn't inhibit businesses on laurens road....greenville is growing on the eastside, and woodruff road is much more convenient for retail's customer base. You seem appalled that a business might want to relocate to a place closer to their customer base...how dare they! Retail stores MUST be on laurens road, a socialist control freak has decided that is best for us and the businesses! We are paying x amount of taxes for roads every year already, so taxes shouuld not increase if some more lanes need to be added to woodruff road, which I doubt will be necessary as woodruff road is not an artery that most commuters use to get to and from work. However, a tax hike would be necessary for your coveted rail system, and most people would not use that, and we would be paying for our own transportations costs (gas, car maintenance) in addition to funding your transportion costs (train ticket) when you could afford to pay for your own transportation costs. I understand that socialists don't care about taxation levels, but most people do...we don't have unlimited supplies of money to fund your pet projects.
    Moderator note:





    Clemson, that's four threads gone to hell. You're suspended until I can get this sorted out.




  13. #113
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Moderator note:
    Thread opened. Clemson Grad has been banned. Please try to continue the discussion in a civil manner.

  14. #114
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    My apologies to Cyburbia for Clemsongrad who has been on the tirade train all over the forum. Thankfully most people in SC are not like him and there are more than a few liberals here. Additionally, progressive doesn't always equal liberal just as regressive doesn't always equal conservative.

    I live in Greenville, SC. I'm not a native having relocated from Portland, Oregon four years ago. It has been amazing to see the transformation over the past four years of the greater Greenville area. Greenville's downtown has undergone extensive renovation and there are many nearby things to see and do so I would put it on the list as underrated.

    Also on my list of underrated cities:

    Nashville, TN
    Asheville, NC
    Greenwood, SC
    Athens, GA
    Pleasanton, CA

    Cheers!
    Kim
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  15. #115
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    I'd like to second the votes for Duluth and Milwaukee... the latter has a lot of really nice neighborhoods. It's unfortunate that most get their first impression of the city from the Menominee River valley/Port of Milwaukee areas.

    Also, Göteborg Sweden is definitely under-rated outside of Sweden (within Sweden it enjoys a bit higher status.) Norrköping is also a city that has taken a lot of former industrial space on Motala Ström (the river that flows through Norrköping) and rehabbed it to commercial and cultural space.

    One metro that I don't think gets much credit for its cultural scene is Minneapolis/St. Paul. People recognize it as a business and residential center, but there is an amazing arts and entertainment industry there as well. Furthermore, both cities have lots of green space. The Minneapolis parks system is unbelievable. And global warming will certainly make the weather more favorable over the coming centuries.

    I disagree with those who say Portland is under-rated. I think that it's right about where it should be. I hear from so many people who say they want to move there, and it constantly receives high rankings in livability surveys. In addition, there was still a lot of vacant land north of downtown last time I was there (it has been a while... about 5 years.)

    Other areas that haven't been mentioned include (theses are all for outsiders) Copenhagen (Denmark) and Freiburg i.B (Germany.) Both really nice cities that I have either visited often or that I have been to and know people who have lived there for extended periods of time.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

  16. #116
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    Baltimore!

    This place has gone through amazing transformations in the past few years. It has some really neat housing stock, great walkable neighborhoods, and the most interesting, quirky traditions/people around. It is also very unpretentious, depsite having the cultural amenities of other great cities.

    On the downside, there is a lack of really good public transit besides the one subway line that no one takes (although they are re-routing the bus lines). Also, the vast majority of residents don't seem to use the cultural amentities - but it's getting better.

    I think the Mount Vernon neighborhood is ready to explode with life again, as is the new construction (Harbor East) where developers actually implemented some good design! (bravo!) Some warehouses have been converted into fashionable restaurants, and it's only a matter of time before the bakery's vacant land will be developed. I just hope the new development doesn't infringe on Fell's Point. That neighborhood is truly special - one of the best on the East Coast, I think.

  17. #117
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    Huh, I'm suprised to see Toronto being listed as

    a) underrated _or_
    b) as a dull place

    One thing Toronto isn't is dull... It's the construction capital at the moment, and the excitment in the air is palpable. There is a large amount of visitors every year at this time... it does quite well in terms of tourism, which is why I'm suprised that there's even a stereotype that nobody goes there... It also has a large, large amount of unique neighbourhoods and very solid nightlife. I'm guessing many people are picking out the stereotypes from the 1970s.

  18. #118
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    Yeah, I'm surprised to see Toronto listed as "underrated", I assumed that pretty much everyone who has been there has walked away pretty impressed.

    While I'm here, I thought I'd comment on the post about Columbus as the "Phoenix of the Midwest". I'm not sure where that comes from, Phoenix is becoming the epitome of sprawl, and while Columbus certainly is facing sprawl of its own on the north and west ends, there are many vibrant, growing sections and neighborhoods downtown. If you're ever in town, I'd suggest checking out the Short North, German Village, and Clintonville areas, and Grandview Heights while you're at it, some interesting communities with plenty of things to do. I saw Louisville on this post awhile back as well, have to agree with underrated status. Aninteresting city with some very beautiful sections of town. Should be known for more than baseball bats and horseraces.

  19. #119

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    Quote Originally posted by Sohioan View post
    Yeah, I'm surprised to see Toronto listed as "underrated", I assumed that pretty much everyone who has been there has walked away pretty impressed.

    While I'm here, I thought I'd comment on the post about Columbus as the "Phoenix of the Midwest". .
    The City is a vast sea of lower density almost 100% single family neighborhoods. It feels immense in extent. I would not deny that there are pockets of urbanity, but as long as there's more farmland on the fringe to subdivide, the "American Dream" will continue to demand spread. Hence-Phoenix.

  20. #120
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    "Under-rated" would mean that people were impressed when they saw it. Toronto was under rated in my eyes.

    "Over-rated" means that the town has been so hyped up that it doesn't live up to its representation. Know what I mean, BKM?

    I wouldn't think anything would want to be the Phoenix of anything. Unless you're talking a bird.
    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
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  21. #121

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb View post
    "Under-rated" would mean that people were impressed when they saw it. Toronto was under rated in my eyes.

    "Over-rated" means that the town has been so hyped up that it doesn't live up to its representation. Know what I mean, BKM?

    I wouldn't think anything would want to be the Phoenix of anything. Unless you're talking a bird.
    Alas, jordanb, I do not know what you mean. From past descriptions of your trip, it sounds like you spent most of your time in the SF equivalent of S. Cicero and 75th. Or Skokie. So...forgive me if I don't find the pans...complete.

    Hype does not mean that the city in question lacks the qualities that make a fine City. Boston, for example, is very hyped. And, it has expensive housing, serious class conflict, horrible traffic, seriously decayed older suburbs, and dirty politics. So...is it "overhyped"? Perhaps. But that doesn't mean its not a fine, historic, beautiful city. For those who can't deal with the pressures of expense and population density and climate....there is always Phoenix...or Dallas....or Las Vegas-all with plenty of cheap, cheap cheap single family homes and big parking lots and plenty of American dream.

  22. #122
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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  23. #123
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    I'm a little perplexed at how much people here seem to like Rockford, IL.
    I only saw one person who liked Rockford, and I too don't understand it. I use to live in Rockford, now live just north of it, and my husband actually works for the City of Rockford, public works.

    The city has a lot of potential, some beautiful older homes near the Rock River, tons of golf courses (if that matters to people) and lots of institutions of higher education, nice parks and bike trails. But all the bad things about Rockford win out; over-abundance of new strip malls that all look alike, super high property taxes, high crime, lots of vacant older commercial properties, sprawling residential development with homes that have no character, and virtually no downtown nightlife. The downtown is a scary place to be past 7:00 at night. The city seems more bent on growing outward than improving what is already here.

  24. #124
    Cyburbian permaplanjuneau's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by streetcreed View post
    I really do not hear enough about
    Seattle
    Portland
    sometimes not enough about SanFran
    It seems the NW coast gets kind of ignored by the domination of NY (east coast) , Chicago, and LA to the South.
    I'll vote for most of the cities along the NW coast: Vancouver (BC), Victoria (BC), Bellingham (WA), Seattle (WA), and Portland (OR). Notably absent from this list: Tacoma (WA), Vancouver (WA), many of the other suburban "cities" around Seattle.

    For newer cities (compared to Atlantic coast cities), these places have all managed to develop great downtowns, good to great transit systems, and funky cultural aspects all their own. Plus, they are all blessed by being in the Pacific NW, which is an incredible place if you can stand the rain.

    Even Salmon Arm (BC) is worth a second look--somebody else mentioned Kelowna (BC) as well, and I'll agree with them on that too.

    I'd add my own home town, Juneau, AK, but it hardly qualifies as a city (30,000 pop), even though it's the biggest town in a 900 mile radius (besides Whitehorse, YT, which is also a much cooler town than anyone would expect).

    Finally, I've got to cast a vote for Salt Lake City, UT. Note that this is SLC only, not the various surrounding districts of sprawl. Salt Lake has quite a few distinct neighborhoods with small retail centers and neighborhood services, great transit service that gets better all the time, several universities, amazing access to mountains, deserts, lakes, and every kind of outdoor experience you could ask for. My favorite neighborhoods are the Avenues, Sugarhouse, and the whole northeastern quadrant of town, but Marmalade is my absolute favorite. Most Salt Laker's don't even know where Marmalade is, it's so small and funky. The downtown seems to be redeveloping, although most of the new development the last few times I've been there have been west of downtown, closer to the Gateway development by Boyer than to Main St. Lots of arts, museums, restaurants, urban green space...an undiscovered gem that gets overlooked due to people's conceptions of the social scene (LDS Church) and the surrounding sprawl.

    South Jordan is a notable exception to the dreary expanse of strip malls and anywhere suburbs surrounding Salt Lake City, with its new Daybreak/Sunrise developments by Rio Tinto/Kennecott Land. But it's hardly a city unto itself.

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally posted by permaplanjuneau View post
    Finally, I've got to cast a vote for Salt Lake City, UT. Note that this is SLC only, not the various surrounding districts of sprawl. Salt Lake has quite a few distinct neighborhoods with small retail centers and neighborhood services, great transit service that gets better all the time, several universities, amazing access to mountains, deserts, lakes, and every kind of outdoor experience you could ask for. My favorite neighborhoods are the Avenues, Sugarhouse, and the whole northeastern quadrant of town, but Marmalade is my absolute favorite. Most Salt Laker's don't even know where Marmalade is, it's so small and funky. The downtown seems to be redeveloping, although most of the new development the last few times I've been there have been west of downtown, closer to the Gateway development by Boyer than to Main St. Lots of arts, museums, restaurants, urban green space...an undiscovered gem that gets overlooked due to people's conceptions of the social scene (LDS Church) and the surrounding sprawl.

    South Jordan is a notable exception to the dreary expanse of strip malls and anywhere suburbs surrounding Salt Lake City, with its new Daybreak/Sunrise developments by Rio Tinto/Kennecott Land. But it's hardly a city unto itself.
    I've always considered SLC to be under rated, but I have always felt a little biased. We currently live just east and a little north of Sugarhouse in the 15th & 15th area. We nearly bought a house in Marmalade a few years back. The Marmalade area is a great place within walking distance to downtown. The perception of SLC is certainly wrong.

    the daybreak development is just another sprawl development until the rail line is developed to it and the proposed town center is developed. I say if because until it is built, who knows if it ever will be. Right now, and for at least the next 7-10 years, you can walk around the neighborhood, but outside the neighborhood parks, that is all you can walk to. they need some destinations to make the place worthy of being considered a walkable community.

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