Meet Cruce and Rachel. They love raising their 4 and a half year-old son Crucie in downtown Austin. They live in The Shore Condos, a newer highrise in the heart of The Rainey Street District. I interviewed them to get some insight on the why, the what, and the how of raising a child downtown.
AUF: Tell me what you both (you and Cruce) do professionally.
Family: Cruce: Entrepreneur, runs a content management and content marketing consulting firm called Simple [A], specializing in all things web content. He works from home, in our live/work condo, integrating work and family. Rachel: Parenting consultant and educator, part-time lecturer at UT, mom to Crucie.
AUF: How old is Crucie?
Family: 4.5 (we moved into the condo when he was about 18 months)
AUF: Why did you choose to live in a highrise?
We knew we wanted to live in a condo for a few reasons – low maintenance, loved the idea of shared living, liked the idea of being downtown, the proximity to everything we wanted to do, and believed that a downtown condo would appreciate in value very quickly.
AUF: What do you love about raising your child in an urban setting?
Family: EVERYTHING. The first “drawback” most people cite is not having a yard. It’s true, we don’t have a yard. In exchange we have Lady Bird Lake. We literally traded a one-hour-lawn plus pre-fabricated playscape for fishing on the lake, collecting pecans and sticks, riding bikes along the trail, picnicing while watching the bats, hiking, and countless other adventures – all in our “back yard”. We love the community, the amenities, the easy walking access to good food and activities. We love the simplicity – living small and teaching our son that experiences are more valuable than things.
AUF: What is one thing you would improve?
Family: Can’t think of much. I would say the price, but I’m glad our property is appreciating. Noise can sometimes be an issue being next to the Rainey Street District, but in our particular unit, we have been mostly immune to the club scene.
AUF: What are some activities that Crucie does at home for fun?
Family: We have very few toys. We mostly do activities and have adventures. We cook, garden on the porch, paint, create art, tell stories. We’ve flown on airships and broom sticks, built jet packs, and gone “camping” in the condo. We read, read, read. We play with play doh, water, popcorn, beans, and rice. We build with large blocks. And although it may not sounds like fun, we do lots of cleaning – Crucie loves to spray windows, scrub the floor, and help fold laundry.
AUF: Overall, how family-friendly do you think your building is?
Family: Super family friendly. The staff are so nice to Crucie. We get at least four good mornings and hellos on our way to the car each morning to go to school. Ben lets Crucie clean the pool with him and always shows him how whatever cool machine he has works. The pool is PERFECT for children, it’s where Crucie learned to swim. And our community of neighbors are friendly and always smiling.
AUF: What are some of your favorite activities to do in Downtown Austin outside of your home?
Family: We live across from the Mexican American Cultural Center (the MACC). We usually join in on whatever city supported festival is taking place. We also love their museum and art displays. We love to explore Lady Bird Lake and the hike & bike trail. Jim Jim’s Water Ice is a nice nearby treat. Also close by, East Austin has a huge number of eating-out options, including amazing food trailers. We watch the bats, we eat local food in the Rainey Street District, and we bike. The Convention Center is a stone’s throw, and we’ve watched the Texas Rollergirls play roller derby there. We can walk/bike to the library, and we love to drive Car2Go Smart Cars to zip around town.