The pros and cons of Milwaukee

Star Rating 7/8/2010
I moved to Milwaukee after graduating high school and lived in various areas of Milwaukee for 20 years. I most recently lived in Shorewood, an 8,600 per square mile village three miles north of downtown and situated along Lake Michigan. Whether you rent or purchase, housing and property taxes are extremely high for what you get. When I started visiting my friends from high school who had all relocated, one by one, to Georgia, and saw the high quality of living at a much lower cost, well, my eyes were opened. It was taking all of my wages just to 'get by' in Milwaukee, and I got a real awakening to see what my friends' lives were like elsewhere. Milwaukee is an extremely segregated city, and once you venture into the expansive African American areas, it is highly dangerous and dumpy. I was the victim of having my car window smashed in broad daylight and having some property removed. The police were called, and even though there were security cameras outside, the police could have cared less, as this is just a drop in the bucket to their daily call of duty. Strolling into the ghetto cost me over $1,500 that day, and it was the final straw in a string of horrible events that I suffered through from the moment I moved into Milwaukee county. Six months prior to that, as I was driving to work on the northwest area of Milwaukee on a dark 5:30 am morning, I hit a huge pothole and damaged my tire. A few hours later, my tire was nearly flat, so I took it to a nearby car repair business, which shouldn't be a big mistake, but beware, doing ANYTHING on Milwaukee's north and northwest sides is, and asked to have two new front tires put on my car. When the incompetent mechanic(s) drove my car onto the hydraulic lift, my car slipped off the lift, falling and causing $3,000 damage. This is typical of what you should expect when and if you venture into the huge ghetto of Milwaukee (and if you're anywhere other than directly downtown or on the north shore, it's a ghetto). The roads are indescribably horrific and will tear your nice car to shreds, so be prepared if you live or move here to spend A LOT of money each year or so on costly steering and suspension repairs. The car repair businesses will tell you that they stay in business due to the Beirut type road conditions in the entire Milwaukee metro area. It is infuriating since Wisconsin, but particularly the five county metro Milwaukee area, will cripple you with property taxes, and you just have to wonder where the money is being spent. If you don't mind forking over a lot of money, as I have had to, to live in a village of Milwaukee with its own great schools, your child(ren) can have excellent education, but trust me, it will cost you big time. I can simply no longer justify what I am spending in monthly rent (I am single and could NEVER afford the exorbitant housing prices) to send my daughter to an excellent school, and I am now looking for an alternative. Most housing is very old; I guess they call them character homes, and they're nice and charming on the outside, but walk inside and be prepared to step back in time to 1910, but pay 2010 prices. What I love most about Milwaukee is that I know where each and every neat neighborhood/village is, and so those are the places I inhabit most. But, I think to a newcomer, they would be difficult to find. Downtown Milwaukee is absolutely fabulous, in my opinion. Fun, safe, clean, lots of water everywhere, canals, drawbridges, delicious restaurants, music, festivals, easy parking, acceptable traffic. But, to me, it seems mainly comprised of either 20-25 year old UWM students, or the elderly, and very few of the 30-somethings. I am attractive, intelligent, 40, and single, trying to find a significant other, and have had zero luck whatsoever for all the years I've lived here. Who I thought was my true love left me because I was white (so was he), and even though he was positive we'd live a beautiful and peaceful life together, he left me to find a black intellectual -- which leads me into the next issue with Milwaukee -- and that is the counter-culture society that is growing here. There is a huge culture here that pushes the boundaries of normal, but call it 'community building'. Yeah, right. I am vegetarian, love sustainability, rooftop gardens, green housing, you name it, but I am one of the VERY LONELY FEW who have maintained my femininity and girlie-girl qualities. I am utterly outnumbered by the mass of individuals who also embrace these interests, but who push gender identity to the max -- where the females are all bisexual and androgynous and the men dress like women (yeah, and I mean in dresses). And they have no problem hooking up and living happily ever after. But be warned if you decide to move or live here that there is a huge clan of believers of this 'free' lifestyle, and my former boyfriend decided to jump on board. As an intellectual, but girlie-girl, I feel COMPLETELY UNAPPRECIATED here. This is not the place for feminine women, as you will have a very difficult time finding a male who you can a) identify with, and b) appreciate you. Good luck. The lake is gorgeous, the downtown and Third Ward fabulous, but it comes at a cost -- financially and emotionally -- at least in my case, and that's all I can account for. Wish it were different. Am in the process of looking at other alternative places to call home, find a boyfriend, and afford housing. Sorry, Milwaukee, I wish things were different. I feel I have not been served well by you. You take more than you give.



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