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Life in the Quad Cities, IL/IA?

HandgimpHandgimp R+L=JFamily PhotoRegistered User regular
So I've applied for a job with Exelon at their plant in the Quad Cities; I'll be doing a phone interview in a few days. Any PAers from/with experience in that area?

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    wrong_buttonwrong_button Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    I'm actually from there originally, lived there until just a few years ago. You applying at the Cordova plant? Happy to help with any questions you have.

    edit: Feel free to PM me if you'd rather.

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    lessthanpilessthanpi MNRegistered User regular
    edited February 2015
    I lived in Iowa City for 6 years which is about an hour away.

    Quad Cities is a rather rough place. Lots of crime, meth, and pollution. I had a colleague who went to college there who said there were little pockets of nice neighborhoods but if you strayed more than a block or two away you'd get harassed by junkies or mugged. Its a like a crappier version of St. Louis with worse weather. Try not to go anywhere where you can't see the freeways. Businesses and the like a bit safer and cleaner near the exits.

    If you end up working there my only advice would be to make sure you live in the state you are working in or you'll get screwed by the tax reciprocity agreements.

    Bettendorf is the nicest of the four, but that's a lot like being the tallest smurf.

    In summary, no one should move there ever. Iowa City and Ames are the only livable Iowa cities.

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    wrong_buttonwrong_button Registered User regular
    Not too be too much of a homer, but you're kinda exaggerating quite a bit. I lived there for 30+ years, all up and down the Iowa side. It's by and large middle-class suburbia.

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    lessthanpilessthanpi MNRegistered User regular
    I'll say this for Quad Cities, at least it's not Muscatine.

    Having spent a lot of time in Iowa over the last decade, I'd rank as:
    Iowa City > Ames > Dubuque > West Des Moines> Cedar Falls > Des Moines > Council Bluffs > Cedar Rapids > Quad Cities

    Here's an article about how lousy Quad Cities are!

    http://wqad.com/2014/12/12/report-lists-most-dangerous-cities-in-iowa-and-illinois/

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    DarlanDarlan Registered User regular
    I enjoyed my time in Iowa City and West Des Moines, but I've not heard amazing things about the Quad City area. Then again, Des Moines is the butt of many "nowhere" jokes and I kind of prefer it to Denver, so I suppose it's all about what you're looking for.

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    lessthanpilessthanpi MNRegistered User regular
    I actually had a student come ask me about this same sort of situation....rather weird. Maybe QC is the place to be now?

    Did a bit more digging and it does seem like crime numbers are improving and the region is a little nicer than I remembered.

    I was trying to figure out why and I noticed everything started improving in 09 forward. I'm thinking the 2008 floods changed the town dynamic.

    So that brings my last piece of advice: If you move to Iowa, don't live in the flood plain. Having experienced it myself, It's awful.

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    wrong_buttonwrong_button Registered User regular
    I'll agree with the flood issue. Having lived through and cleaned up from a few of the big ones, it's not something you want to mess with. But that's easy enough to avoid.

    "Life" is a little broad for what you're looking for, @Handgimp - anything more specific? I can probably give you better info if I know what you're looking for. One thing to note though - if that gig is at the plant in Cordova, you're looking at close to a half-hour to 45 minutes (or better) each way, depending where you live in the QC. Unless you're really into small-town living (not my cup of tea, but for some folks) and want to live in one of the little towns up the way. But that's very much not for everyone.

    Following spoilered for OMG(relatively)HUEG WALL O TEXT:
    So the commute might suck, but the good news is in the QC you're pretty much 20 minutes from everything in town. Traffic is annoying, but not horrible - anywhere except the bridges crossing the river during the commute. Bridge traffic is a thing that you eventually learn to work around or suffer through at 5. You're about two hours from Chicago, which is pretty all right too. That's good to note because frankly, the QC isn't the most exciting place. Decent place to raise a kid, but "high energy nightlife" ain't really a thing.

    There's a couple decent music venues if that's your gig and also the home of Daytrotter - so surprise shows pop up alot. There's a big events center for your stadium concerts/big touring whatevers. Iowa City (which exists pretty much because of the University of Iowa) is about 40 minutes away, which if you like bands, isn't a bad thing. Or if you like hospitals they have a pretty good one, but that's weird. UI also has the (soon to be renovated) Hancher Auditorium which, once they reopen post flood-recovery, will draw decent theater performances (or at least historically has).

    They have the Astros single-A team in Davenport if baseball is your thing and a minor league hockey team as well. One thing I've always enjoyed is that the QC has a pretty active arts community. A couple different organizations serving a lot of artists of lots of different stripes.

    There's a river, which you may have noticed. It's a big one, no less. Things tend to be organized around/by/next to it, like music festivals, races, etc. There's a large bike path that I frankly don't even know how far it runs up and down the Illinois side and connects to the Iowa side. But it's big. There's a lot of folks that own boats - anything from little runabouts, to fishing boats, to comp-level raceboats. Lots of fishing and hunting if you're the outdoorsy type. Not a ton of people live next to the river, most of the downtowns are there and the suburbs are further out. There's also a bunch of golf courses, ranging from a TPC course (where they play the PGA's John Deer Classic) all the way down to a bunch of little $10/9-holes if that's your bag.

    Cost of living is pretty cheap, overall, but that's really most of Iowa until you get into whatever hip suburb is hippest at the moment. Like I mentioned before, it's all very blue collar. The QC was and has been based on manufacturing forever. Aluminum mills, steel foundries, processing plants, machine shops, factories and the like. Also the Arsenal in Rock Island carries a lot of civilian jobs. I can't speak to life too much on the Illinois side, since I've only lived on the IA side. Crossing the river isn't a big deal (I've lived in IA/worked in IL, meh). The cities are delineated, but you'd never know it. I lived there forever and would still have to ask someone whether a place was technically in one city or the other. They're all abutting each other.

    You have your standard-issue suburb crap. Your malls and restaurants and coffee shops and bars and what have you. Basically, what I'm saying here is it isn't farm country. Farm country is driveable if that's what you wanna do. Like 10 minutes out of town, and bam. If you wanna see some beans or corn or cows or whatever. But the cities aren't farm country.

    There's a handful of colleges here, but they're pretty self-contained to their own campuses. Varied curriculum though, in case you or anyone in your family is looking at education.

    Like most places your internet options are gonna be pretty limited. A couple DSL companies, but Mediacom tends to carry most. I'll be honest, there's not a huge tech scene. There's tech folks and tech jobs, but it's not really an industry with much focus.

    Um. Don't know where you're moving from, but weather is... Iowa. You can see 110 and grossly humid in the summer and -10 in the winter. Pack your Speedo next to your parka.

    Running out of steam here, but if there's something specific you want to know, definitely ask. If I don't know, I can find out for you - I'm headed back there (from central Iowa) sometime this weekend.

    Oh, also, there's a truck-eating bridge. Someone will mention it, trust me.

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    HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    Yeah the job is at the Cordova plant. Any serious questions will probably come after I fly out for the interview in a few weeks. Looking to probably go for a place downtown somewhere, maybe by the baseball stadium in Davenport. I imagine off-street parking would come at a premium.

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    wrong_buttonwrong_button Registered User regular
    edited February 2015
    Not many people live downtown Davenport - just not a ton of places down there, though they're hopping on the "let's make this old space into a loft" bandwagon. You'll see when you get there what I'm talking about. Not many living spaces down near the park though, because this happens relatively often. A few more options across the river in Rock Island, but honestly, there's not a huge advantage to living downtown.

    edit: and good luck with the interview!

    wrong_button on
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    DelzhandDelzhand Hard to miss. Registered User regular
    I grew up in Davenport, family in Moline and East Moline. Never had any trouble with crime, I lived out north of 53rd and west of Brady (2 of the major traffic arteries).

    My biggest complaint is that the QC is a group of mid-sized cities desperately trying to be metropolitan, but failing to realize that terraforming the farmland at the edge of town for housing complexes and cramming strip malls of national chains into every inch of square space isn't going to cut it.

    It's all just very... common. It's ANYTOWN, USA, but quartered and with a river down the middle.

    As for Cordova, it's one of the dozens of tiny places I can never locate on a map. I was trying to figure out how far it was from the house I grew up in, and I realized it's way (relatively) north and east of the entire QC. I really can't recommend downtown. If there's any truth to what lessthanpi is saying about crime and drug use, it's going to be downtown. And it's going to take you longer to go from downtown to anywhere that's not downtown than if you live literally anywhere else and just hit the highway. 74 and 80 are a fast way to get to just about anywhere. You never want to cut through town.

    Honestly, your best bet is probably someplace on the north side of Davenport or Bettendorf. Going to Cordova you're going to want to take the quickest route to 80 anyway.

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    kainakanokainakano Registered User regular
    I grew up in Bettendorf. It's a good town to have a family, and probably the best for stability out of the quad cities. Rock Island/downtown Davenport area can be a bit gray and industrial IMO.

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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    Not related to that area, but I've done work with/for Exelon and they were pretty solid to work with. Compared to some of the 'how the hell does anyone in this city/county/state have power with you idiots running it' I've dealt with in other utilities. Seem liked it'd be a decent place to work for. Good luck with your interview process.

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