Twelve months ago I am not sure I could have written a post for this blog spot—my family was ready for a move and a little more square footage, but not sure to where. Would we stay or would we go? So far, we had loved raising our daughter in the city, but that was not a planned decision, our family simply evolved in the house I bought years ago as a single twenty something. Now it felt like we had a lot more riding on the question of where to live. We knew where our hearts were, but we had a kid now, it was time to listen to our heads.
Where will she go to school? Would she be the only child over age five in the area? Where will we put all of our stuff? Will we be happy without grass? Everyone has their own unique questions and possible answers, but these were weighing on our minds. We decided to keep all of our options open and looked everywhere, downtown, further north in the city and in suburbs all around the beltway.
Ultimately, we decided to buy downtown again and will be staying awhile. In addition to listening to our hearts (all the usual reasons folks love downtown: playgrounds, restaurants, museums, shops and the harbor), here are a few other reasons we decided to stay:
Short commuting time. My husband works downtown and since he is away from home for work the most, having a short commute home for him was important to both of us. Nothing beats his 15 minute commute and now, the fact that either one of us can walk our daughter to or from her daycare is an amazing perk and greatly improves our quality of life.
School choices. Yes, you read that right- the school choices. Often people cite schools as one of the big reasons they are leaving. I understand that- there are obviously some really top notch schools in the surrounding suburbs. But the fact is that downtown has some really outstanding schools as well, and I appreciate City Schools’ policy of giving me a lot of choice over which one my daughter can attend. Being involved with DBFA has allowed us to meet other downtown parents who have already tested the local public schools with positive results. There is also a growing list of private school options, for both preschool and elementary schools we have become aware of over the last couple of years. I do not know anything for sure, but my understanding of what schools are out there, as well as my experience attending a downtown public charter school myself, makes me feel good about our options. A list of great downtown schools can be found here.
An alley instead of a yard. At our old house, whenever we had a blizzard or even just a good snowstorm, we had a great time hanging out with our alley neighbors, sharing food, drinks and snow shovels. The kids would play for hours and the fun extended throughout the year into hurricane season as well. Our new ‘hood has an alley with tons of kids and we are looking forward to having alley neighbors again. Although my husband initially wanted a yard, the low level of maintenance required of a townhouse eventually won him over because of our busy lifestyle. If we want grass we walk around the corner and play for awhile, leaving the mowing to someone else!
Deciding to stay can be a tough decision. If you are considering it and would like to talk with other parents in the area, let us know—email firstname.lastname@example.org. DBFA and its network of veteran downtown parents would love to answer any questions you may have.
Erin Karpewicz lives in Locust Point with her husband and four year old daughter. They recently moved from Canton where they lived for over ten years. Erin has served on the DBFA Board of Directors since the organization’s inception in 2008.