Monday, November 05, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home
Originally uploaded by eecue
What would you say to someone torn between wanting to buy a home in Lincoln Park and being told by friends and professional associates not to? I recently received an email from someone who happened upon the blog and is facing this dilemma. So I'm wondering what all of you would tell this tentative buyer?

Thanks to Dave Bullock/eecue for today's photo. You can see his other work at



Mark said...

This is what I would say...
The house that we live in is our fourth in Lincoln Park. All four have been a delight to live in. All of them were custom built with fine workmanship. The quality of the homes in Lincoln Park rival and surpass Pasadena.
I know most of my neighbors and all are friendly and we watch out for each others houses. There is a neighborhood watch program that is building up membership and has seen results in a short time.
I also like the diversity of people that live in the area.
I think the city realizes that Lincoln Park is a valuable asset to the city in whole and are doing what they can to keep it a good , safe place to live. My experience is that it is a great place to own a home.
We don't have children so I can't speak to the quality of the schools. I will let some one else give their opinion on the schools.

Linkn Park said...

My wife and I recently moved to Lincoln Park and were amazed at the neighborhood by any and all standards. There is crime everywhere including the high rent districts in Los Angeles; actually especially in the high rent districts in Los Angeles. We are trying to get our friends to move into the neighborhood and I talk about the neighborhood like Los Angelenos talk about L.A. You have to think of Lincoln Park as something akin to Beverly Hills or Hancock Park; great people inside the district, and kind of shadier areas outside the district. The one cool thing about Pomona is that it seems to be in an upswing in regard to civic improvements and revitilization, and thats not something you can necesarily say about some of the run down areas of Los Angeles. As far as kids go, we were always going to send them to private school anyway, so it wasnt an issue for us.

Montebee said...

Here's what I would say:
We are on our second home in Lincoln Park. Five years ago when we moved in we had plenty of friends asking, "Why Pomona? It's not the safest city." I think about that now and how it nearly discouraged our buying our first home. I would be sick to my stomach to this day.

Is there crime, of course, but there is also crime in Santa Monica (think near the Promenade), Pasadena, LA...everywhere! There are good pockets and shady pockets in EVERY city and Pomona is no exception. But think of this: the Westside is crowded beyond belief, the 405 is proof of that. The downtown area is becoming a crowded concrete jungle and areas near downtown, like Los Feliz, have become pornographically expensive for no reason other than its proximity to the downtown maddness of traffic, no parking or green areas.

To the prospective home buyers: Our neighbors are more friends than neighbors. We really care about one another and watch out for each others homes and even pets when we're away. It's a great neighborhood to walk around, esp. in the early evening when everyone is out on their porches or out walking their dogs. You spend your walk stopping and talking to folks and really getting to the neighborhood. The homes are gorgeous and no two are the same. There is an eclectic mix of singles, families and anything in between. The Arts Colony and Antique Row just a mile and half south of Lincoln Park is really becoming a wonderful place to find great art, music and restaurants. It's coming in fits and starts, and we hope that once this big development of new lofts and retail space opens on the west end of 2nd street, that the place will become a place to go for entertainment. We just attended 2nd Saturday Art Walk last month and it was just jumping, great energy, lots of people, beautiful galleries and shops. It's really a gem waiting to be discovered and appreciated and slowly people ARE discovering it. The nice thing too, is that you’re only 30 miles from LA and 25 from Pasadena, if you still like to do things out that way.

We have been, for 2.5 years, restoring a huge 1915 Craftsman home with 5 bedrooms and 3 baths, 3200 sq. ft, basement, huge attic and a gorgeous swimming pool in the huge backyard. I can't tell you how many times we went to open houses in Bungalow Heaven (to steal exterior color ideas!) and found nearly identical square footage and layout for literally twice what we paid. It just blows my mind. We thank our realtor more times than she cares for introducing us to Pomona and Lincoln Park. We are paying for our home, not our zip code!!!! We look forward to spending many, many happy years here in Pomona.

As for schools, tho we don't have children yet, I truly believe schools are only as good as the participation of parents and the community. I know, I know, I might think differently when I am a parent, but if that is the case, then our affordable mortgage allows us to spend on private schools.

So there you have it!

Ed said...

I'll try to be brief.

Regarding schools, we've sampled elementary schools in Riverside, Louisville, Claremont and Pomona. The best teacher was at Lincoln. We were left unimpressed with our children's education at both Chaparral and Condit in CUSD. The difference in API scores is not the teachers, it's the students. I'm not suggesting the students are less capable, but not every child can overcome the effects of poverty, lack of parental education, and English learning. I can't attest to the quality of Lincoln 6 years ago and our daughter is attending the new Math and Science Magnet school rather than Emerson, but most parents motivated to insure their children's academic success will be just as likely to see that success in Pomona as in Claremont or LaVerne or Chino Hills.

Regarding crime, Ontario's murder/rape rate is more than twice as high as Pomona's. Mountclair, Fontana, Rialto, and San Bernardino all have murder/rape rates higher than Pomona's. Claremont's rate of 1.97 per ten thousand residents is only slightly lower than Pomona's 2.32.
You have a greater chance of being a victim of burglary if you live in Upland or Claremont. You have a greater chance of being a victim of larceny if you live in Upland, Ontario, Pasadena, Covina, Arcadia, and Glendora. And whatever you do, don't park your car in Mountclair. The data was from the 2006 FBI crime statistics. You may want to check my math since I didn't go to Lincoln Elementary.

If you consider that the number of reported crimes in Lincoln Park is far less than other areas of Pomona, it's probably safe to conclude that Lincoln Park's crime rate is lower than any of the adjacent cities.

Lastly, we own several residences in Claremont and CHOOSE to live in Lincoln Park, and despite being able to afford private schools, we CHOOSE to send our children to PUSD.

GofP, if you want to forward my email address, feel free. If you no longer have it, just post.

meg said...

I'd say it depends on the person. LP was obviously right for the folks posting here, but it's not right for everyone. If your Someone is uncomfortable with relative diversity (of lifestyle, of skin color, of sexual orientation, of household composition -- and that's just our block), then Claremont is a better choice -- no harm, no foul.

This place isn't right for everyone, and I don't want neighbors who feel hoodwinked or who want to oust a bunch of their neighbors. Up in the Bay Area, we had a lot of larfs at the expense of the neighbor who moved half a mile from the military airfield and then agitated to shut it down.

But anyone who is comfortable with our diversity and the proximity of some real urban problems, it's a helluva place to live.

Mark said...

Meg... very well put!

Ed said...

Thanks Meg, burst my bubble!

Anyone want to elaborate on reasons not to live here? I see a lot of 'For Sale' signs, but I guess we could all be the ones selling.

I'll toss in the occasional homeless, prostitution, and drug activity since Meg sailed that ship by using the "U" word.

me said...

Okay, okay, now it's my turn to testify:

Having lived in more "glamorous" locales like San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Oakland/Berkeley, and the Laurel Canyon and West Adams areas of Los Angeles, I have a higher quality of life here in Lincoln Park, Pomona than I had in any of my previous places of residence. Lincoln Park is the Beverly Hills of Pomona, and it affords people of modest means to live in well-preserved historic homes within a gorgeous, family friendly, tree-lined neighborhood.

Most of the time when I see the homes of people who have a much higher income, I am struck by how much nicer my own po-dunk Pomona home and neighborhood is.

As part of a mixed couple myself, we have always felt comfortable here.

I have faith that the downtown Pomona scene will pick up (despite the Great Wall of Pomona). I wish I had the money to buy an old commercial building in downtown 4 years ago. I think it would have been a solid investment.

As for the schools, as some of you may have noticed, I don't discuss particulars here on the blog, because doing so might make my son's identity less private. I have a lot to say on the issue, it's just not the place for me to do it here. I will say that there are plenty of options, and good ones, and so schools should not be a deterrent to buying a home in Lincoln Park. Every family I know here has managed to find what is best for their child when the time comes to send them to school.

Now if we could just do something about that damn STater Bros...

linkn park said...

Goddess, just wanted to give you a thumbs up about the Stater Bros comment, and add an addendum to that....tear that stinkin Motor Lodge down too!

K said...

Y'know, I can tell you what convinced me to buy in Pomona, but it might not help anybody else.

I'd discovered Lincoln Park, and driven through, amazed at the beautiful old houses which were so obviously loved. I'd checked out the prices, realizing that I could get an interesting Craftsman for $100,000 less than I'd pay for a generic box elsewhere.

But I was just a bit worried about the Pomona crime rate, which seemed to be about the same as the crime rate for our old place in San Francisco, around the corner from a methadone clinic.

I spent a whole bunch of time cruising the neighborhood, trying to gauge it. I finally drove down Kingsly, and saw the guy who parked his Porsche Boxter on the street.

At that point, I figured my elderly little Miata (and I) would do just fine here. That's not really very rational, but sometimes there's just a little tiny detail that brings all the rest into focus.

Honestly, I didn't want to go live in a neighboring city and just pretend that there wasn't any crime or poverty around me. I'd far rather live in Pomona, where maybe I can do something to help fix it.