Reviews & Comments
Port Charlotte, FLBig City Trafic/Small Town Boredom
Port Charlotte used to be a nice sleepy retirement community back in the 80s and early 90s. Its population has steadily increased at a blitzkrieg pace though. You also have a huge number of seasonal residents that come down in the winter as well as vacationers who want to soak up sun. The result is you have a six lane highway with bumper to bumper traffic. Small side roads are full of endless streams of cars. And you aren't even in a city.
Despite what is reported about cost of living, the cost of living is high. Its low compared to New York or California, but compared to anywhere else its high. If you buy a house, its cheap. If you rent, the price is ridiculous. Groceries are very over priced. The restaurants are mediocre at best, but have lines all the way out of the door. And then in the summer everything is dead.
Unless you are a Doctor or a Nurse there isn't any work to speak of. This place is only good if you are retired, but even here I just don't like the steady increase of traffic. There's no public transportation here. Almost every time you buy something it seems to have an over inflated "tourist trap" price tag associated with it and the quality is lacking. Other than that its a beautiful town.
Cincinnati, OHPros and Cons
Climate: Not the worst, but not great. Very cold winters; (usually) hot summers.
Pros: Cost of living is low. Cheap housing is abundant. Groceries and household items very cheap. However taxes are a little above average. There are a lot of neighborhoods that are pedestrian, due to the old age of the city and the small historical neighborhoods. Therefore you can find a lot of locations where you can walk to a local store, or walk to a bar or whatever. Some decent cultural life and entertainmnt in regards to zoo, aquarium, kings island etc. Probably the number one American city for Germanic and Gothic architecture but most of these buildings are crumbling now and not maintained. Spectacular view of the city when you drive in from the south, much more aesthetic than a lot of cities from that limited angle. Not a lot of traffic for a big city, although they seemed to have been working on some of the highways since the 70s and never finish.
Also many major corporations are based here. Proctor and Gamble, Chiquita etc. Almost all the major manufacturers at least have a division here. However, this does not translate into a vibrant economy. It is possible to find a decent paying factory job and enjoy extremely low cost of living. This may be a good city to save money in if you don't mind slumming it in the ghetto while working at a factory. But most of these companies move their labor intensive operations to Mexico or some similar place. Most of what goes on in Cinci are research and development, managerial duties etc. You need an advanced degree or connections to get a job at these places. What little grunt work exists is usually given to minorities in order to meet diversity quotas.
Most of the high schools are highly rated and this may surprise some people. Especially if you are coming from the south, you have very good schools here, even a lot of the poor neighborhoods have decent schools, with the exception of the really bad ghettos.
Lots of nice parks nearby for hiking and such.
WEBN fireworks is one of the best firework shows in the nation.
Cons: The city is extremely racist. You might be a white guy and say "great. I'm tired of affirmative action anyway" but hold on. The most racist people are typically black people that live here. Some of them are self hating blacks who view whites as superior. Others are just racist black people that discriminate against non-blacks. The white people are also racist, but not as overtly perhaps. If you want to get any kind of welfare or find work and you aren't black, you may run into some problems. If you report anything to the police you will run into mostly hillbilly police officers who expect people to take care of their own problems in some wild west manner or else people exhausted with third world crime levels. Sexism and all the other isms are rampant, but again, more often you find people who discriminate against males, against whites etc. simply because this form of racism seems more acceptable to society. One of the only cities to have race riots in modern times. The cities population is majority black, although there is a sizeable white population and sizeable Jewish community. Most of the city is also ghetto, although there are a handful of wealthy enclaves and some of the richest neighborhoods in the country exist here. So you have mostly dirt poor people and a wealthy upper crust with a hallowed out almost non-existent middle class.
The colleges aren't worth going to unless you have a scholarship. Some of the highest tuition in the nation, yet places like UC are situated in the middle of what has now become ghetto. You pay top dollar and get an average education. Most of their money is spent constantly building new stadiums or doing R & D for major corporations (however you might be able to take the right major and land a science job). UK and nearby schools are similarly over priced.
Almost everything is surrounded by ghetto. And by this I don't mean a neighborhood that has a few black people in it and scares away middle aged white suburban house wives. I mean Cincinnati's poverty rate is close to 25% and violent crime and drugs are rampant. So when you go to the zoo or college towns you are surrounded by crumbling buildings and thugs selling drugs on the street corner. There are some neighborhoods here and there that are exceptions to this and nice. But unfortunately most of the older neighborhoods (where the colleges, zoo, downtown etc. are located) have gone to heck. So you may have your stereo stolen or something here. If you are a drug user you might like it because the drugs are cheap and marijuana is decriminalized (its a ticket in most places). However attitudes are conservative.
Most of the nicer neighborhoods are located across the bridge in Kentucky. And by nicer I mean an "ok" neighborhood. Although you do get a lot of small town friendly feel in many neighborhoods while still living in an urban environment. The bus system tends to be corrupt and based on affirmative action hiring. Many of the employees are bad ones and you can expect the bus not to run on time or pass you up or some other such thing. If you complain about it, do not expect the bus driver to be fired or disciplined. If you live downtown though it is easy to catch a bus since they run every few minutes or so down there.
Don't ever do business with 5/3 bank even if your life depends on it. You will be ripped off.
Property taxes are obscene within city limits considering you are probably living in the ghetto. This is one major reason for the decay of the neighborhoods as most people have simply moved outside of city limits. If you drive out of the city you can actually see a magic line where the city ends. Suddenly you get nice suburban homes on one side of the line and ghetto on the other side. Cincinnati (and Ohio) used to be a major hub of Industry. A lot of that has moved over seas, but also because the city got so used to taxing everyone (remind you of Detroit?)most new industry simply relocates to Kentucky or Indiana or some other lower tax district. A few industries persist simply because of the infrastructure in place and workforce trained to do basic factory work (like operate a forklift etc.). Cincinnati is mostly a hub for your people getting disability checks, your career criminals etc. while much of Cincinnatis middle class have moved to the Kentucky side of the river or maybe to rural spots outside the city like Harrison.
Expect to see decay all around as malls close, buildings get abandoned and so forth. You may say to yourself "this must have been a really nice city at one time" Yeah back in the 1950s Cincinnati was the place to be.
There are a lot of bars to go to, but they tend to be depressing, low lit areas. One is reminded of a second world country. One man I knew from Mexico who lives in Cincinnati described it as "Mexico but with paved streets".
So in summary: if you are looking to work and save money and you are one of the few residents that can afford a car, you might do well in Cincinnati because you can enjoy a low cost of living and still find an industrial or professional job, although its not exactly a hub of prosperity. If you really like old cities, black neighborhoods (I'm not saying that sarcastically. There are actually some nice suburban black neighborhoods outside of Cinci and most of the areas are predominately black), or you like to be near Appalachia and hillbilly culture or in a historically German city (similar to St. Louis and some other Midwest areas) then Cinci is a good place.
Overall I wouldn't recommend it though, although it is not without its pros. If you are relocating here for work or something it is not so bad. I would say its a decent place to go to College if it wasn't for the high tuition (if you have a scholarship, who cares, right?).
It's not really that bad of a place if you have a decent job you can find a nice neighborhood somewhere, send your kids to a decent school, enjoy some nice parks and places to visit, but you will also spend a lot of time trying to avoid most of the neighborhoods in this city. You might enjoy looking at the remnants of one of America's older cities (its the oldest American city that is not on the East coast). A lot of old buildings and such.
If you are like the majority of people you will probably find yourself living in Northern Kentucky and simply commuting to Cinci if you work there or visiting the place occasionally if you have some business down town.