John Grinell

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John Grinell

John Grinell Landlord

A Landlord based in Cedar Rapids, IA

 
Bronze Level Expert Local Guide
 

 

Information Provided about John's Coverage Area

 
Recreation

Recreation

John Grinell - Landlord

In the summer when the birds are chirping and the sun is inviting you outside, you’re going to realize how important it is for the town or city you’re renting in to have a lot of recreational amenities and opportunities. In Marion, you won’t be disappointed. With around twenty parks, a number of programs for residents of all ages, and events like the annual Swamp Fox Festival and the local farmer’s market, there are plenty of things to occupy yourself or your kids with in the spring, summer, or fall.

 
Traffic & Commuting

Traffic & Commuting

John Grinell - Landlord

Six miles is how far you’ll have to travel to get to Cedar Rapids from Marion, which is hardly anything. Compared to most American metropolitan suburbs, this is considered right down the road. If you don’t have a car and can’t find a co-worker to carpool with (assuming you work in Cedar Rapids), there is a bus service that provides access to and from the two places. One definite benefit of living in Marion is the convenient location in relation to Cedar Rapids.

 
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

John Grinell - Landlord

Those of you who are familiar with Des Moines will recognize the skywalk walkway system that Cedar Rapids has implemented. Though it isn’t as extensive, it still serves the same purpose of providing an above-street-level walkway for people to use if they want to avoid the weather or traffic. Cedar Rapids Transit provides fourteen bus routes that take residents around the city or to nearby Marion or Hiawatha. Unfortunately, it does not run on Sundays, but for people who use it to commute to work during the week this isn’t a problem.

 
Apartment Costs

Apartment Costs

John Grinell - Landlord

Even for a small city, Cedar Rapids has very low apartment prices. Right now the median rental price is $659 per month, which is hundreds less than the typical U.S. rental price. You can even find specific properties on the My Apartment Map site between $400-500, and not run down places either; a lot of them are nice. Of course there are more upscale places that can come close to a thousand a month, but these properties are outliers. The majority of apartments in Cedar Rapids you can find for $500-800.

 
Schools & Education

Schools & Education

John Grinell - Landlord

The Ankeny Community School District has made the public schools here a great success. They have a 9 out of 10 rating on Great Schools, which can be attributed to above-average test scores and positive feedback from the community. Overall, there are eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Ankeny high school has a 10 out of 10 rating, as does one of the junior highs (Northview).

 
Restaurants

Restaurants

John Grinell - Landlord

The variety of food choices in Ankeny is eclectic to say the least. For example, there’s a Hawaiian Grill, Tokyo Steakhouse, Mediterranean Grill and Vineyard, Mongolian restaurant, and a couple great Mexican places. There are a lot of regions of the world represented in just that group of places. In addition to these there foreign eats there are, of course, American restaurants, and popular chains. In Ankeny you can go out to eat at a number of different places.

 
Recreation

Recreation

John Grinell - Landlord

Urbandale’s recreational scene can be respected by exercise nuts, family picnickers, and nature lovers alike. There are a lot of parks (33 to be price) that are open to the public and maintained by the city. They have a variety of amenities, such as playgrounds, sports fields, and there’s even a skate park. There’s also miles of bike trails for two-wheeled commuters to get around. And, on a sunny day, residents can enjoy the “5 Miles of Beauty,” which is a trail through the prettiest parts of Urbandale that show off the area’s best features.

 
Weather

Weather

John Grinell - Landlord

As hot as the summers in Urbandale are, the winters are just as cold. Temperatures occasionally dip to the 0 degrees fahrenheit mark, and are usually in the teens or 20s. There’s about three feet of snow every year in Urbandale. As for the summers, the temps are often in the 80s and 90s, and can peak at 100 degrees on the hottest days. It’s also very humid here, which can be stifling on warm days. To live in Urbandale you have to be able to weather both the heat and the cold.

 
Crime & Safety

Crime & Safety

John Grinell - Landlord

In West Des Moines, the violent crime is much lower than the average city’s, yet the property crime is higher than normal. For example, the violent crime rate is 70% lower than the US average and 53% less than the Iowa average, yet the property crime in W.D.M. is 37% lower than the state average. However, the property crime has been curbed compared to how it used to be. I’d say overall West Des Moines is much safer than most of the other U.S. cities its size.

 
Traffic & Commuting

Traffic & Commuting

John Grinell - Landlord

West Des Moines is a separate city than Des Moines, but its namesake is indicative of the proximity between the two places. W.D.M. is just five miles away from Des Moines, and the commute is unbelievably easy -- Interstate 235 runs through W.D.M and takes it right to Des Moines. The drive is usually around ten minutes, and even in rush hour it’s not too bad because of how close they are. The average commute for people who live in W.D.M. is a very low 20 minutes.

 
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

John Grinell - Landlord

Des Moines features an intricate Skywalk system in the downtown area, which is a series of elevated walkways (they’re enclosed so aren’t affected by weather) that are above street level. Some people take them to avoid the elements like snow and rain, others use them so they don’t have to deal with the traffic on the street, and some use them as shortcuts. The DART transportation company runs public transit in Des Moines, which consists of a series of bus routes that run throughout the city and the suburbs around it.

 
Renter Friendly

Renter Friendly

John Grinell - Landlord

If the average person were asked to name the five best cities to rent in the Midwest, Des Moines probably wouldn’t crack the list. Maybe not even the top 10. It just can’t match up to familiar names like Chicago, St. Louis, or Kansas City. However, I argue that just because Des Moines isn’t as notable of a name doesn’t mean that it’s not as notable of a place to live. I think that Des Moines has the highest quality of life out of any Midwest, or U.S., city its size. Numerous publications back me up: Kiplinger’s named it the seventh best U.S. city for the next decade and the #9 best city overall. Forbes ranked it #1 out of any U.S. city in its Best Place for Business list in 2010, and the next year named it the #1 city for young professionals. Self Magazine named it America’s “Greenest” city in in 2011. I could go on, but the point is, Des Moines is a fantastic place to rent, and will only become more popular in the coming years.

 
Apartment Costs

Apartment Costs

John Grinell - Landlord

With 30% of residencies renter occupied, Rock Island is a very renter friendly area with affordable apartments. Overall, the average rent in Rock Island is around $700, whereas the state and national averages are both around $800. The overall cost of living in Rock Island is similar to the surrounding area, but is below the national and state averages.

 
Recreation

Recreation

John Grinell - Landlord

Rock Island has 20 parks, a dog park, a sports facility, and a disc golf course. There are also about 18 miles of bike trails throughout the edges of the city that are split between two major paths. The city also has an aquatics center that has four waterslide, a spray center, several pools, and an area for swim lessons. Lastly, a number of youth, teen, and adult sports and activities are available for residents throughout the year.

 
Section 8 & Affordable

Section 8 & Affordable

John Grinell - Landlord

Davenport offers Section 8 Housing vouchers for financial eligible renters with all of the necessary information appearing on the city’s website. The Davenport Public Housing Program also helps very low income families by placing them into one of the 42-city owned housing units.

 
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

John Grinell - Landlord

Davenport’s public bus system, CitiBus, provides transportation to about 30 square miles of the city. CitiBus also gives residents access to surrounding towns by connecting with the Bettendorf Transit and the Illinois Quad Cities transit, MetroLINK. As ridership increases, the number of buses and routes is increasing, allowing CitiBus to cover a larger area of the city and allowing buses to run more frequently.

 
Schools & Education

Schools & Education

John Grinell - Landlord

Bettendorf is served by the Bettendorf School District and the Pleasant Valley School District. According to GreatSchools, the Pleasant Valley School District is superior to the Bettendorf District, although both districts have highly rated schools. The city is also home to Rivermont Collegiate, a nonsectarian college prep school for children PK-12 and Morning Star Academy, a Christian PK-12 school.

 
Crime & Safety

Crime & Safety

John Grinell - Landlord

Bettendorf is an extremely safe city when compared to Iowa and national standards. The property crime rate is 33% less than the state average and 51% less than the national average, whereas the violent crime rate is 69% less than the state average and 76% less than the national average. The crime rating for Bettendorf was a 9 out of 10, compared to the average score of 6 for the surrounding major cities.

 
Traffic & Commuting

Traffic & Commuting

John Grinell - Landlord

Only six miles from Davenport, IA, where the majority of residents work, the average commute is only about 20 minutes. Along with the majority of residents that work outside Moline, about 30% of residents work within the city and 5000 commute into the city of Moline. Due to the influx of people that work within the city, traffic can be heavy during rush hour traffic.

 
Apartment Costs

Apartment Costs

John Grinell - Landlord

With 30% of residencies renter occupied, Moline is a very renter friendly area with affordable apartments. Overall, the average rent in Moline is around $700, whereas the state and national averages are both around $800. The city also has a section 8 housing program that is known as the Small Rental Properties Program, which assists landlords with bringing their housing up to section 8 standards. This program helps to open up new section 8 housing throughout the city, allowing for more section 8 eligible families to live in the city.

 
Recreation

Recreation

John Grinell - Landlord

East Moline has nine parks, a sports complex, four tot lots, and an extensive bike trail system. The tot lots offer a perfect location for younger children to play and interact with other kids and a number of grassy areas for picnics and games. The bike trail in East Moline is over 60 miles and passes through a number of nearby cities, following along the edge of the Mississippi river for the majority of the trail.

 
Schools & Education

Schools & Education

John Grinell - Landlord

East Moline has four elementary schools that feed into one middle school and one high school. United township High School offers courses in all standard areas of study, but is noted for their Area Career Center Programs. Theses programs all students to focus on an area of study in which they feel may lead to a future career. The programs range from woodworking to fire science, to health related fields. Many of the fields also offer internships with banks, fuel companies, and health care facilities.

 

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