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Re: Mills College neighborhoods - yay or nay?
We live in Maxwell Park, moved here a couple years ago so we could have a house with a yard for our kids that was affordable. I love it. The neighborhood is very active, we love most of them (can't have it all), and the weather is great (warmer, which I think is great). On the other side, I drive a lot more, and there is more of a crime element. According to the stats, it is no more than where we used to live (by the lake), but somehow we hear about it way more, and maybe it feels different now that we are home owners. I think it depends on how much the walk ability factor bugs you. We have three kids now so I am forced to drive already, and while I do miss the easy walking, it isn't so bad. Feel free to email me with more questions!
Our family (husband, me, and 19 mo old daughter) is looking to buy our first home. We're interested in Maxwell Park, but it seems the BPN postings on it are a bit outdated. We'd love to hear from people living there now. Is anything really walkable? Crime? Is BART an option, or really a little bit too far? Thanks! curious
My husband and 2 1/2 year old daughter and I moved to Maxwell Park 2 years ago. We've not had any problems and have really enjoyed living in a neighborhood that I feel has a real sense of community.
Walkability is a bit of an issue -- depending on where you're looking, there's not a ton that's in walking distance but there's a project underway (LAMMPS) that is going to redo the full walk/bikability of the Max Park to Laurel path on the Mills College side from Seminary to High St to improve the safety and beauty for walkers/bikers along the route.
I joined the elected neighborhood council (MPNC) earlier this year and have enjoyed getting to know more active members of the neighborhood as well as beat officers and OPD to call on if ever needed. We haven't had any problems here with crime (personally), though the neighborhood isn't exempt from burglaries, car theft, and other crime. We're adjacent to some rougher areas and we occasionally see overflow into our neck of the woods, but again, I've not witnessed anything or been a victim of any crime since moving here (whereas, we had our car vandalized when we lived in more upscale Grand Lake previously).
The neighborhood council is great. Meets monthly and there's a listserve used by more than 800 neighbors to communicate regularly. In addition, there's a MaxParkFamilies sub-group list that meets for regular playgroups each Monday afternoon and shares advice about child care and whatnot. There's an Annual Day in the Park event that takes place in Maxwell Park (Sept. 11 this year), block parties for Nat'l Night Out, community garage sale in May, plant swaps, adopt-a-block cleanups monthly, a group that meets to bicycle the area together, and a great mosaic project in the park.
Overall, I'm happy to be raising our daughter in the community and plan to be here for many more years to come. Hope you'll join us. Feel free to ask the moderator for my email if you'd like to meet to discuss more. Becky on Walnut in Max Park
Re: East Bay neighborhoods like DC Metro
We live in Maxwell Park and really like it but we aren't as close to BART. But, it does have a very neighborhoody feel to it with mostly all single-family homes that have been here since the 1920s.
Working downtown in Oakland would be a quick BART ride away or like a 10 minute drive from most of the neighborhoods I've mentioned.
Depending upon the age of your kids and whether you plan to go public or private for schooling may influence your decision as well. We only have a baby so I can't speak to the quality of the schools from experience. I'm sure others can chime in on that.
Best of luck with your move! I'm sure your family will love your move to the Bay. :) Happy to be out of DC
Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
Maxwell Park in Oakland, near Mills College. My family and I have lived here for four years and love it. We know all our neighbors and have made great friends. There is a great sense of community with community run, volunteered, and attended community events. We have wonderful block parties in the area and there are neighborhood yahoo groups for a variety of groups: families, school improvement, community improvement, gay and lesbian group and even one that is working on improving the neighborhood playground. The prices (like everywhere) have dropped significantly and you can now buy a great home in the 400's and 500's. Good luck! Maxwell Park Neighbor
We're currently renters and are hoping to take advantage of this market to finally get our own home. We've been exploring neighborhoods in our price range, and thought both Maxwell Park and King Estate seemed quite nice. But what is it really like to live in these neighborhoods? The most recent postings for Maxwell Park are 2 years old (is there still loud cars and drug dealing?) and there is nothing on Kings Estates. Thanks in advance for any input! Hope to be homeowners
A few other comments:
-There is a very active and committed neighborhood group, which meets relatively regularly and has various committees for neighborhood improvement (including sprucing up the actual Maxwell Park, cleaning up the area near the freeway, etc.). You can join the Yahoo Group to read up on neighborhood topics and/or join to ask further questions.
--If you have children, or are planning to have children, and want to send them to public school, the neighborhood elementary school is currently not a strong option and very few neighborhood families send their children there. But, the school is currently undergoing an ''incubation'' into a new school, with a lot of community effort, and hopefully this will bear fruit over the next few years.
--There are a few good shopping and food options on MacArthur in Laurel, but in general, you may find yourself driving a ways for this type of service.
In a nutshell, I would recommend Maxwell Park. It certainly isn't perfect, but we have been happy here. Good luck! Happy Maxwell Parker
I'm interested in any comments or general information regarding the Maxwell Park neighborhood of Oakland. My husband, young child and I are looking to buy our first home, and so far like what we see in the neighborhood. It seems to be in our price range and it has a very nice homey feel to it. We're kind of new to the bay area, so I'd be interested to hear any comments about the area from families that live there. Some questions I have: How is Maxwell Park Elementary - I know test scores do not tell all, but they are pretty low. If you live there, are you planning or do you send your child there, and if not, where do they go? How is crime in the area? Do you feel owning a home there is a good investment financially? Is there a shopping district/street close by that you enjoy?
Sorry if these questions seem pretty basic, we have
just ''discovered'' this area for ourselves and have little
prior knowledge of it. However I get a great vibe from it and
it looks like a nice place to call home. Thanks for any advice.
first time homebuyer
Pros of Maxwell Park: Houses are mostly kept up, streets are tree-lined and pretty, and aside from the usual break- in/burglary type crimes that can happen anywhere, it seems quite safe. People come from diverse backgrounds and age groups, and most neighbors are friendly. In Maxwell Park you are also in relatively easy walking distance to the Laurel District shopping area on/around Macarthur Blvd, which includes Farmer Joe's (a nice ''healthy type'' grocery store), an Ace hardware, 1-2 banks, a post office, and a pharmacy. There aren't a lot of great restaurants that deliver, but alas, that seems to be the norm around Oakland.
It's a great place for my friends, who have no kids. But the
deal breaker for me, the mom of a toddler, is that the test
scores for the public schools in Maxwell Park are very low.
That's why I'm in Redwood Heights, where house values are
slightly higher, but the elementary school has quite a good
reputation and very high test scores by comparison. So, if a
good public school is a priority, you might consider looking up
the hill in Redwood Heights.
Erin in Oakland
We would like to buy a home in the Maxwell Park area of Oakland and are searching for some information such as- safety issues, parents groups (and play groups), schools (do your children go to neighborhood schools/private schools?), doing errands (where do you do grocery shopping- specifically good produce, meat, fish), any other useful information about the neighborhood. Thank you. Hope to join the neighborhood!
There was a fair amount of drug dealing nearby, with gangs fighting over the turf. While i generally felt comfortable inside the house, and going to my car, it was uncomfortable to be out after dark.
so if i were thinking of moving to MP, i'd check it out very carefully before hand to see if these or other problems are in the community, or surround the community -- and if so how closely. anon
We usually do our shopping in Redwood Heights, or Montclair, just because the grocery stores are a little nicer. There is a great place on 35th/MacArthur called ''Joe's Market'' which is a nice little organic store.
We don't belong to any play groups, but would be happy to join in on one, if I knew it existed.
If you want to talk further, I'd be happy to, just shoot me an email.
Good Luck! And hope to see you in the neighborhood.... Denise
You can get great produce (including organic), fish and meat at Farmer Joe's market, just 5 minutes away at 35th Ave and MacArthur. It's very popular (but not too busy), and the owner and workers are very friendly and get to know you. Also, a certified Farmers Market just started near Mills College/MacArthur Blvd- fresh regular and organic produce- I hear it's very popular.
Finally, it's wonderful to be near Mills College. It's a beautiful campus to ride your bikes, and you can swim in their fabulous pool at specific times for a pretty reasonable cost. Mills also has free and low cost student, faculty and guest concerts (mostly classical) and plays. It was great not to have to travel far to attend a good concert/play. Diane
On weekends people are outside taking care of their front yards, washing cars, etc. One thing I like is how most homes do not have fences built around them and that gives a open and welcoming feel to the houses and streets, and makes walking around more enjoyable.
The most surprising part of moving here was realizing how close Maxewell Park is to everything; 5 min. from Lincoln Square (Safeway, Citibank, Chevron), 10 min. from Piedmont/Montclair, 15 min. from Berkeley, and 5 min. from the Oakland Zoo, as well as easy access to 580 and 13. There is a Farmer's Market that is open every Saturday within walking distance.
The neighborhood is established with families that have lived here for 20-50 years, but new families with young children are moving in too. Our children won't be ready for kindergarten for a while, but for now we are planning on putting them in private schools. If you are friendly family and enjoy friendly neighbors, Maxwell Park might be the place for you.
a happy home owner
We love it here. I walk the hills 3-4 times a week with a friend in the spring/summer, often after 8 p.m. and have never felt like I was in danger. It's been a fun way to meet the people who live here. I haven't experienced excessive loudness (other than on July 4), gangs, or anything that resembles it. Actually, for the first few months after we moved in I kept commenting to my husband how quiet it was at night. Of course, the best way to learn about a neighborhood is to walk around and ask the people who live here. angela
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