“I just read your article on places to live for young professionals. My question is WHERE WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR YOUR DEAR OLD GRANNY? I am retiring soon, and (by researching online rental ads) I have discovered that your area is quite affordable, but I do not know which neighborhoods are safe. I was born in McKeesport (a long time ago) so I can speak yinz as well as y’all!”
In the 1940s, McKeesport was in it’s prime. There was employment, culture and all things that make a town thrive. It was a great place to be a kid. Sixty years later, in your retirement years, wouldn’t you want to recapture living in a place that is thriving, but retain that small town feel? In a residential city neighborhood you have the best of both worlds. I’m pretty sure you’ll find something you love.
Here are some of the bonuses of living close to downtown: The buses are FREE to anyone over 65. Many neighborhoods have their own retail areas that are walkable. It’s a luxury later in life to live in a small community where you know your baker, your pharmacist and the person who does your hair. Feeling safe is a part of being comfortable, and you are smart to have that in mind.
To that end, when you tour a rental property, get out and walk around the block. Gage for yourself how you feel and if you have access to the things that you need and the people you love. Buildings are great for retirees in that there are elevators and no yard maintenance. If you like gardening, many have balconies for container gardens. There are some converted old homes that might have steep stairs or older fixtures, so a newer building might be more convenient if you plan on staying for many years.
I’ve known retirees who have lived in the Essex House (Shadyside), 5125 Fifth Ave. (Shadyside), The Kenmawr (Shadyside), Schenley Arms (North Oakland), The Royal York Apartments (North Oakland), Eaglemoor (Highland Park), Parklane (Highland Park). These areas might also have a lot of students, and noise might be a factor, so what you are gaining in safety you might be losing in quiet. Feel free to ask the property manager about noise. If that’s a problem for you, there might be another building with an older demographic that they can point you to. There are great places as well in Squirrel Hill, Bloomfield, and in Point Breeze. Even the Cultural District downtown is comparatively safe, albeit expensive.
There is a website called www.apartmentreviews.net which covers a lot of the management companies in town, it’s worth taking a look to see what people who have rented before have thought about their building’s management. Another great resource is popcitymedia.com where you can find some great neighborhood reviews and moving guides. Most importantly, check things out for yourself as only YOU will know when you find what you are looking for.
One thing about downsizing in the city of Pittsburgh is that there aren’t a whole lot of small houses to rent. You will see a lot of duplexes and bigger homes broken up into smaller apartments. So if a building isn’t your thing and you want the character and the feel of a stand alone home, look to the neighborhoods that are heavily residential and they will have less building rentals and more houses.
Sadly, crime comes with any urban area. Those that choose to live in the city find the trade off worth it. The benefit of being so close to so many wonderful cultural and educational opportunities, the city’s parks, and locally owned restaurants and shops, are reasons many retirees are moving into cities later in life.
Good luck, Charlene, and we hope you find the perfect fit!
Readers, please help Charlene by replying to this post. Where are some rentals in town that are safe and a good fit for someone in their retirement years?