Tell me about Jacksonville, FL and the surrounding area - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 02/20/12, 01:16 PM
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Tell me about Jacksonville, FL and the surrounding area

We will be putting our house up for sale in April or May and plan to look further south for something. We are considering Jacksonville and the surrounding area. We'd like to be within 30 miles of the city, preferable on the south side, east or west as long as it's south of the city, but would consider the north or north east section.

Any comments on the area would be appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 02/20/12, 09:08 PM
 
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I lived in Hastings Fl south of Jacksonville for a number of years, high cost of living anywhere in the areas that are decent neighborhoods.

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Old 02/20/12, 09:19 PM
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I hate the bridges and traffic that surround Jacksonville, and quite a bit of it seems to be run down and gone to heck. Not that there aren't some nice parts, but I never spent enough time there to find them. Keep in mind, I have never lived there, just had to go through it, or did a job there.

Try a bit further south.

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  #4  
Old 02/20/12, 09:52 PM
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Hopefully you're not considering living "in" Jacksonville. Although the city limit is the same border as the entire Duval county. I think it still ranks as the largest city geographically, for that reason.
If you're going to live south of there, consider Orange Park, straight down SR 17. From there, you can get to St Augustine pretty quick, which is a nice beach.
The city itself is pretty dirty, rundown and crime ridden, with a bad odor and I-95 constantly being worked on.
Now if ya like that sorta thing...............

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Old 02/20/12, 10:07 PM
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I have never been so scared driving in my life, as I was driving through Jacksonville

The highways are insane

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  #6  
Old 02/21/12, 12:15 AM
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Well, I was hoping someone might have something good to say about the area

We drove down there a few weeks ago and it seems to be one of the cleanest larger size cities that we've been through. We saw very little graffiti and lots of nicely landscaped areas. And very little trash. We came home between 4:30 and 5:15, driving from the coast and through the city and west to I10, and the traffic was really good. We were surprised that there wasn't ANY rush hour traffic. I'm sure there's more in different areas of the city but not where we were. We were pleasantly surprised.

Shygal, what makes you say the roads were "insane"?

Capt Quirk, how much further south?

wingnut64, when you talk about "pretty dirty, rundown and crime ridden, with a bad odor and I-95 constantly being worked on" do you mean Jacksonville or St. Augustine (I know I95 stops in Jacksonville but you could mean driving that to get to ST. A.)? And where is the odor from? And how do those negatives compare to say the DFW area, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, or maybe Raleigh (if you know)?

rockbottomranch, when you say "high cost of living" what are you comparing that too?

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  #7  
Old 02/21/12, 03:45 AM
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My rather blunt and negative opinion was about Jax, not St. Augustine. lol.
St. Augustine is not bad, but there's not much there other than the neat historical stuff, it's kind of isolated.
Now someone with more recent experience might have a different opinion about Jax, I haven't visited there in the last 10 years, but used to go there often to see relatives and a few times on business. I never liked it, but I guess if you avoided all the bad areas, you might find it ok.
The traffic and the way the interstate runs thru it reminds me of Atlanta. Everybody going 90 to nothing. I know the last time I went thru they FINALLY got that big curve on the south end of the I-95 bridge straightened out and finished. That took about 10-15 years.
The smell comes down from the Brunswick pulp mills (and up from Palatka too) and its own big city industry and pollution. I'd encourage anyone who wanted to move to a large city in Florida to visit in July or August. Everyone like to visit florida in January, but that;s not the same as living there year round.
Charlotte is a little nicer, Raleigh's not too bad, considering it's a state capitol, with typical congestion and narrow streets. The suburban areas are always a little calmer.
I would spend some time carefully looking before choosing. There are probably some good jobs to be had there, but depending on your own style and taste, you might want to look for a home a little outside the main metro area. Like I said, about 10 miles south near the mouth of the St John's River, is some pretty country. North of the city is still pretty rural, too. Not much between there and Georgia.
But man, when I-95 backs up and they are working on it, it's no fun. lol.
I always like to check out the newspapers and local tv news too, which is easy to do online. You get a more realistic picture of what goes on day to day that you would from a tourist, realtor or chamber of commerce brochure.

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Old 02/21/12, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherbottoms View Post

Shygal, what makes you say the roads were "insane"?
Everything with concrete barriers blocking half the road, twisty turny highway lanes through it, with people going 85 mph, the road all chopped up and detours and cones and stuff lol
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  #9  
Old 02/21/12, 06:10 AM
 
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MY manager and I were just talking about JAX yesterday for some reason....

Is there a particular reason you are looking at JAX?

JAX is probably the nastiest city I have been through, my friends who moved there lasted 2 years, sold their house at a loss and moved back to NC. THe crime was too high, the traffic was horrible, the city was on average filthy and as he said "scary". Now, if you have to move there, im sure there are nice places, but I have never heard a positive from anyone.

If your moving to Florida, there are some really pretty areas, that is not one of them though.

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  #10  
Old 02/21/12, 07:18 AM
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truly the armpit of FL. and i grew up in miami

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  #11  
Old 02/21/12, 07:49 AM
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What little bit I know... JAX has an up and coming music scene and they are producing a lot of talented singers and songwriters out of that city. You can listen to a variety of music any night of the week. That's a place to check out for their music scene.
But, other than that, I wouldn't choose to live there if you paid me. I've also heard from others about the traffic and the poverty.
I'm a country girl at heart. Born and raised in the center of this Sunshine State, so I'd never choose to live in a city like Jacksonville or Miami - or even Tampa is too big for me and that's a relatively small city. If you are looking for country living within miles from the beach, Florida offers plenty of that further south than JAX.

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  #12  
Old 02/21/12, 08:16 AM
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Yea, I have to agree about the Jax not being a prime location to move to. After traveling Florida and living down there for a few years it would be on the last of the places i would choose. Further south or north with a long commute into city for work would be about all I would be able to handle.

Further south near the Daytona area is ideal or I am even thinking about the west coast of FL around Tallahassee. St. Augustine is nice but too touristy for me.

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  #13  
Old 02/21/12, 08:45 AM
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Featherbottom, I don't think that going as far as St Augustine is necessary, and while it is a cool place, it has the tourist bug to deal with. But, just north of there seems to be ok. How set are you on that area? Florida has much to offer, if you just know where to look. We just left Altamonte Springs, north of Orlando, and it was ok. Currently, we are outside of Sarasota, and it has a bit of charm to it. I guess a lot depends on how financially secure you are too.

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  #14  
Old 02/21/12, 08:54 AM
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My father always wanted to move to Florida. He finally ended up in JAX. Never felt a need for gun in WV. Bought one in JAX. The large number of retirees back then kept the job market flooded with people looking for jobs and depressing the wages.

I went there once for his funeral. I wouldn't go back. They had a nice home and she had a business. She sold out and left the state after he died.

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Old 02/21/12, 09:04 AM
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Keep in mind you are asking people who in general prefer country living about city living.
Been there a couple times visiting - didn't find it that bad but as with all cities there are better and worse parts.

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  #16  
Old 02/21/12, 09:17 AM
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I work in Jacksonville but live west of there in Callahan. Lived in Jacksonville for a few years. My honest opinion of the city is, its horrible. Mandarin is probably the one nice part of jax. Arlington, downtown and even oceanway have become very crime ridden. If I am not mistaken Jacksonville is still the murder Capital of Florida. The city does have a lot of decent nightclubs and a good art center. If you are looking for city living I would look elsewhere. If you are looking for more rural living but still be within a reasonable driving distance of Jacksonville then you can look in Nassau or St. Johns county.

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  #17  
Old 02/21/12, 10:05 AM
 
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There are a lot of better places in Florida.

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Old 02/21/12, 10:30 AM
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I spent a year looking for land in north and central Florida, finally purchasing a couple of hours further southwest for a bit warmer weather and within the borders of the Ocala National Forest. Tell me what you are looking for and maybe I can help.

To live outside of Jax is just fine in my opinion. It offers enough city amenities, like a large airport, when you need those sorts of things and it gets rural fairly quickly as you get beyond the beltway. There are 6 counties that surround Jax. In order of least expense, go west or north, south will be most costly because you are near St Aug and the coast.

There is a lot of pine plantation land if you are not going for large cleared farmland. For good farmland, Putnam County, an hour away to the southwest is prime farm country and as a rough rule of thumb, farmland in Putnam is about the same price as pine timber land in one of the counties adjacent to Duval.

I started my land/future home search by listing everything I wanted as far as acreage; access to adjacent public lands; water needs; proximity to airports, home depots and walmarts (Not that I love those stores, it's just that if you are within 30 minutes of a Walmart, you are within 30 minutes of pretty much everything you'll ever need on a homestead as well as things you might want to do like going to the movies or a nice restaurant); things the land had to have and things I would like the land to have like established fruit trees; my budget for each phase of the project, land, home, barn, fencing, etc; access to utilities; and a few more other things. With that list, I could share it with a Realtor (but not the specific budget numbers) and have them focus more closely on just what I wanted.

Access to electric, unless you are going off grid can be a big deal. One place I almost fell in love with required a $50 - 100K electric run depending on the route I took. the cheap route ran over national park and a neighbors property. that was a fight in money, time, and aggravation I did not want to sign up for. The expensive route ran on what would have been my tortured, twisted right of way. Either option was a deal killer.

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Old 02/21/12, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CesumPec View Post
I spent a year looking for land in north and central Florida, finally purchasing a couple of hours further southwest for a bit warmer weather and within the borders of the Ocala National Forest. Tell me what you are looking for and maybe I can help.

To live outside of Jax is just fine in my opinion. It offers enough city amenities, like a large airport, when you need those sorts of things and it gets rural fairly quickly as you get beyond the beltway. There are 6 counties that surround Jax. In order of least expense, go west or north, south will be most costly because you are near St Aug and the coast. ...

This kind of looks like what we are thinking. We don't want to actually live in the heart of the city (although there ARE times that a furnished efficiency apartment sounds wonderful). We would like to be within a 30 minute drive of Lowes, The Outback, Barnes & Noble and good fibre or craft stores. Access to the airport is also a consideration. Also being able to work would be nice and it's a lot harder to do in the smaller areas of most states. We want the amenities of a big city but without the city .

We want to stay in the Jacksonville area because of family in the Valdosta, Ga area so there's not a terribly long drive back to visit. We are also considering the Tallahassee area but it's a bit further away than we really want. I want to be able to grow more tropical plants and we would like something with 1 to 2 acres - in the county instead of inside any city limits. Having our own well would be nice and I would assume we'd have that in the county. We don't want to do anything more than grow a garden and have outdoor plants - no large scale anything. Mostly we want a bit of privacy and to not be anywhere cold.

A house that's a fixer is fine as long as it has good bones. We're not afraid of tackling a redo at all. We will be looking for something a bit on the larger side, 3 or 4 bedrooms and 2 baths with an outbuilding. I looked in the Jacksonville paper the other day and found almost 600 listings for $50k or less. I'm sure most of these are in the city and what I looked at did look pretty bad, but what that told me was that there are a LOT of properties for sale in Fla. so I'm hoping that when we start to seriously look we won't have too much of a problem finding something we can work with at a reasonable price.

Quote:
mnn2501: Keep in mind you are asking people who in general prefer country living about city living.
Yeah, I know. I think most people here avoid the cities like the plague but there are things you can do in the city that you can't in the small towns and rural areas. We've lived in both and they both have their good and bad points. I'm hoping for some type balance between the two this time around.
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Old 02/21/12, 11:37 AM
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Well one reason I'm not down in FL right now is because of the job market is still tanked down there. Thats the reason behind all the properties selling for cheap.

Not sure what line of work you are in but I would be concerned about access to work. Alot of businesses are/were closing up shop down there. It hopefully will be stabilizing soon but don't just count on one job, make sure there are plenty to choose from since they could be the next to go out of business.

As the saying goes:"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" Also be prepared to work for less pay and have higher taxes. No income tax is nice but higher sales and property taxes are their way of making up for lower income from the hotel tax.

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