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Old September 30th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #1
The Urban Politician
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Racine vs. Kenosha, Wisconsin?

Hi guys, this is another one of my "what do you think about this town since I am considering a job there?" threads.

Please help me out, if any of you are in the know. I am considering a pretty damn good job in Racine, WI. I want to be in the vicinity of Chicago, but I also don't want to have a long commute--thus I'll probably live closer to my potential job in Racine.

How is Racine? Also, I've considered commuting to my job from Kenosha as well. Any comments about these two cities? I'm thinking about affordability, good housing, entertainment, schools, etc.

If it were up to you, which of these 2 cities would you choose to live in? Thanks for helping
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Old September 30th, 2008, 05:30 PM   #2
araman0
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My first question would be why not live in Milwaukee and commute to Racine? IMO, Chicago is probably far enough from both Milwaukee and Kenosha that you may ultimately end up visiting the same number of times regardless of which of the two cities you choose to live in.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #3
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since you're such a fan of urban living and because you're in a profession where i think you do pretty well for yourself (some kind of medical doctor stuff, if i recall), why don't you get a sweet urban loft in milwaukee's 3rd ward and reverse-commute down to your job in racine? downtown milwaukee to downtown racine is only ~22 miles as the crow flies. and if southeast wisconsin ever gets its ass in gear for the KRM commuter rail line, then you might even be able to reverse commute on a train in several years. besides, if you live in downtown milwaukee you'll be an easy amtrak ride away from downtown chicago whenever you need a windy city fix.

plus, milwuakee is just an all around great city. no, it's not new york. no, it's not chicago either, but i know that for me and the kind of urban life i crave, i'd MUCH rather be living in milwaukee than either racine or kenosha. not that racine and kenosha are horrible places or anything, but milwaukee is definitely many times more alive with a great deal more urban/neighborhood/cultural depth.

just my two urban-loving cents.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 05:44 PM   #4
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As you know Kenosha is Chicago's northern most burb and Racine is a Milw satelitte. If the choice is between Racine & Kenosha then I would take Racine. It has a better developed downtown, more shops and resteraunts and great public beach. Kenosha has nice museums but not enough to keep you interested every weekend. Kenosha is home to a small lakefront private college (Carthage) on the northern edge of town.

Both towns have good access to Univ of Wisc-Parkside campus.

Both cities have affordable lakefront condos and affordable nieghborhoods, nice harbors and some downtown density. Both have some gritty hoods and iffy schools. Both have good private schools and even some good public schools but you will have to investigate.

Kenosha has Metra to the Loop, but that is a milk-run (cheap but lots of stops) Racine has Amtrak (Sturtevant) to Chi & Milw downtowns.

Racine is 20 min to Mitchell Airport and 25 min to dt Milw and Milwaukee is F.U.N.
Both

You could also consider Northern/Central Lake County,IL many towns have Metra and there are some nice historic-restored town centers that have taverns, resteraunts and shops. Libertyville, Deerfield, Grayslake come to mind. Also Lake Villa & Antioch are on the new Central Lake county Metra line and are getting some activity in their old downtowns.

Lake County is a more expensive than SE Wisc. Mainly due to property taxes and the access to Metra lines brings up home values. Wiconsin does have higher income taxes than Illinois but lower property taxes.

Both Wisconsin and Illlinois have State Parks in the area: Chain of Lakes, Glacial Park , Moraine Hills, Volo Bog and Illinois Beach State Park and Lake County Forest Preserves are in Illlinois. In Wisc the Bong State Rec area, Kettle Morrain Forest and Lake Geneva and Devils Lake are all easy day trips. Of course we can and do visits the parks in both states adding to the overall quality of life in the greater region.

Good luck and welcome
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Old September 30th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #5
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I know many people who live in downtown Milwaukee or the east side of Milwaukee that commute to Racine. I agree that it probably makes the most sense to live in the Milwaukee area and commute to Racine, because then you can also easily jump on the Amtrak to Chicago. There are plenty of great places on the south side of Milwaukee starting at the Third Ward, down through Bay View and into Cudahy/St. Francis that would get you pretty close to Racine.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 07:12 PM   #6
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Milwaukee and Chicago are terrific cities, but if I recall correctly, doesn't just about everyone here complain about sprawl and commuting and cars? Why not live in Racine if commuting is an issue? I lnow, I know, you could conceivably argue that living in one existing city and commuting to another doesn't "really" qualify as contributing to sprawl. But it does contribute to your carbon footprint, increases traffic snarls, counters the growth of urbanity in a city like Racine and could actually weaken the case for a growing MKE-CHI megapolitan region.

And you don't get to complain about high gas prices if you choose to live 25 miles from your job.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 07:22 PM   #7
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^ he could always get a bike. i live in downtown chicago, but work up in suburban evanston, and i bike commute to work 15 miles each way, everyday. milwaukee to kenosha would only be a little bit farther than that, especially if urb lived on the southside/south burbs of milwaukee instead of downtown. for instance, st. francis to racine is about 16.5 miles as the crow flies, which might be doable for an aggressive cyclist like myself if there are good bike routes in the area.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 07:42 PM   #8
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And Amtrak goes from Milwaukee to Racine too, correct?
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Old September 30th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by araman0 View Post
And Amtrak goes from Milwaukee to Racine too, correct?
Amtrak doesn't quite make it to Racine proper.

However, there is an Amtrak station in the small town/suburb of Sturtevant, which is about 7 or so miles west of Downtown Racine, and used quite a bit by local commuters to/from Milwaukee or Chicago.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ he could always get a bike.
Yes, that's probably the best solution, because even though I made mention of sprawl I'd much rather live in Milwaukee too rather than Racine.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 03:40 AM   #11
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Thanks for the input, guys. I am seriously considering this job, since jobs closer to Chicago pay JACK SHIT.

Having said that, I have a question:

Somebody said that property taxes were lower in Wisconsin and that income taxes were lower in Illinois. How can I find out more about this? I say this because at my interview I was told the opposite, namely that property taxes are actually much higher in Wisconsin.

Oh, and wanna talk about people desperate to live in Chicago but still wanting the higher salary (in my field) of a small town? They told me that one doc who works in this Racine hospital lives...get this...in downtown Chicago and commutes by Amtrak every day to just outside of Racine. He keeps his car at the Amtrak stop and drives it from there to the hospital--he does this commute EVERY DAY!
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Old October 1st, 2008, 06:03 PM   #12
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TUP. The Illinois State income tax is a flat 3%. In Wisc if you earn between 25K and 190K your rate is $1391+ 6.5% of the amount over 25K. http://www.dor.state.wi.us/faqs/pcs/taxrates.html So the WI income tax is effectively double the IL income tax.

As for property taxes I can only say that Lake County Ill has some of the highest property taxes in the country. And if Kenosha or Racine counties were higher then they would have absolutely no housing development.
Here are some links for you to explore.

Mailnly though Lake County housing cost are higher than Wisconsin.

http://www.co.lake.il.us/boardofreview/deadline.asp

http://www.co.kenosha.wi.us/treasure...nts/MR2007.pdf
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Old October 1st, 2008, 07:49 PM   #13
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Wisconsin, the Milwaukee metro area in particular, has some of the highest property taxes in the country.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 08:11 PM   #14
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I am surprised to hear that. The developers in No. ILL are always touting lower property tax in WI.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 02:34 AM   #15
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Edit: mispost
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 04:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i_am_hydrogen View Post
Wisconsin, the Milwaukee metro area in particular, has some of the highest property taxes in the country.
Let's see your numbers.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 04:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
TUP. The Illinois State income tax is a flat 3%. In Wisc if you earn between 25K and 190K your rate is $1391+ 6.5% of the amount over 25K. http://www.dor.state.wi.us/faqs/pcs/taxrates.html So the WI income tax is effectively double the IL income tax.

As for property taxes I can only say that Lake County Ill has some of the highest property taxes in the country. And if Kenosha or Racine counties were higher then they would have absolutely no housing development.
Here are some links for you to explore.

Mailnly though Lake County housing cost are higher than Wisconsin.

http://www.co.lake.il.us/boardofreview/deadline.asp

http://www.co.kenosha.wi.us/treasure...nts/MR2007.pdf
^ Wow. Income taxes are pretty bad in Wisconsin.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 09:09 AM   #18
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um.think

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:57 AM   #19
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I've driven by these cities a bazillion times but very rarely ventured into them. I do remember going into downtown Racine and being both surprised and dismayed. I'd like to see both Racine and Kenosha retain their own identity rather than just being sucked up into the Chicago-Milwaukee metroplex or whatever. I think I could find enough good about Racine to make it worth living there but again, I don't know 'cuz I never tried it.

People shit on Green Bay a lot but then I moved here and found it to be far better than what most people said it was...so, I like to base my opinion on personal experience....Spend some time in Racine and make up your own mind I guess....
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 06:46 PM   #20
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sales tax in wisconsin is much lower compared to illonois. i believe chicago's is at 10.??% and milwaukee's is at 5.6%.

with property taxes, you also have to take into account various fees.

it becomes really hard to compare taxes between two places due to all of the variables: fees, tolls, sales tax, property tax, income tax, housing costs (even if the rate is lower somewhere, if the same house is assessed much higher somewhere else, the taxes could be the same) etc.
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