If you think the city name -- Lockport, Illinois - has anything to do with a lock or a port, you would be, well, right. The Illinois and Michigan Canal was constructed to link Lake Michigan with the Illinois and Mississippi River, a critical point in the development of the state and the Chicago area.
The canal and the Illinois River are part of the fabric of Lockport that goes much deeper than just the name. Lockport helped push Chicago to fame and glory in its early years, but the 24,839 residents that live here now see it as more than just a historical canal near the Windy City. Just by walking around town these days, it's easy to see that it's in motion, and not stuck in what it was before. You can even hear Kanye West being played. While museums and landmarks showcase the town's story, establishments like the William Alexander Wine Studio and green spaces like Clover Ridge Park show that Lockport values a social atmosphere and nature. On top of that, proximity to Joliet and Chicago means that getting out and exploring the greater region is quite easy. That combination of qualities makes Lockport a fine place to live, especially if you love canals.
Moving to Lockport
A Competitive Market
The combination of an older town that is also a more modern suburb brings the best of both worlds to its residents. However, with that awesomeness comes competition and not many availabilities. However, if you are proactive, flexible and search at the right time, you can find a good home.
When to Look
April through August is the best time to go property hunting if your time is flexible, as there is usually more rental turnover then. It's very hard to find anything during the fall and winter as the market locks up. Altogether, one month should be enough time. Note that buying is the better long-term option as over 87% of Lockport owns.
Doing the Search Properly
Begin your search immediately as it's no simple task to find a dream home in Lockport. That's not to say you can't find a deal that gives a lease discount on places for rent, just don't count on it. Search for your desired home or apartment to rent with a plan in hand. Agree to lease something as soon as you like it and don't sleep on it.
Finishing the Deal
First and last month's rent is necessary, as well as a security deposit. Having good references, a credit report and a residence history can help gain the owner's trust. Management companies will request most of that info anyway.
At 11.4 square miles, Lockport has a good deal of land, and within the town, there are a variety of neighborhoods that feature different styles of housing and different amenities. To get what you want, establish your priorities and choose a Lockport neighborhood that meets most of them.
Runyon: Homes around the Runyon County Forest Preserve are primarily detached houses. Rental housing will be more in line with people seeking houses with lots versus two-bedroom apartments or the like.
Dellwood Park: The south section of the city that fronts the canal is a nice mix of residential and commercial development with a small apartment complex here and there. Anchored by Dellwood Park on the south, the community is also close to recreational facilities.
Lambs Wood: The nice greens at Broken Arrow Golf Course form the southern edge of this neighborhood, along with Lambs Wood County Forest Preserve. Some of the newer housing developments are here.
Messenger Woods: The easternmost part of the town, Messenger Woods is the nearest to Chicago. It begins at I-35 and moves east past Messenger Woods Nature Preserve. When looking for rental housing in Lockport that gets you near transportation corridors, this is a good place to start.
Big Run Wolf Ranch: A mostly master-planned community in the northeastern section of Lockport, Big Run Wolf Ranch is a mixture of green space, relatively newer homes and some retail businesses fairly close by.
Living in Lockport
The ties to the water may not be as evident today, but the river and canal are still important features of Lockport living. Living within easy reach of all the social and cultural experiences that Chicagoland offers brings a different perspective. That said, there's local culture too. The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery, Gaylord Building Historical Site and Statesville Haunted Prison are all local attractions that bring history to life for visitors and residents. Nightlife spots like BricHaus Brewing and Outpost Bar & Grill offer good times, and there's more than enough local shopping to find everything you need. Locals like enjoying what the city brings to the table, and once the table has been cleared, fun in the greater region or a beverage at home awaits.