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Community Profile: From the zoo to trails and well-run city and schools, Folsom’s got it all

By Tinka Davi

Visitors view the American River at the Folsom Historic Truss Bridge.
Visitors view the American River at the Folsom Historic Truss Bridge. Ed Andersen

Ask around town and you’ll hear people say they love living in Folsom.

Resident Dan Knott expressed that more than once in a conversation.

“I love Folsom and the Harris Center, the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary and walking the American River bike trail.”

Folsom Mayor Andy Morin said people like the parks and trails in the city and he also listed three key benefits that attract residents — “a well-run city government, good schools and a vibrant business community.”

The three areas work together in a close partnership, the Mayor said.

Knott and his wife, Marlene, have lived in the Folsom Ridge condominiums for 18 years.

“We liked it so much that we bought another condo and moved into it,” he said. “We wanted a change. We’ll live the rest of our lives there.”

They have a view of the American River and the bicycle trail from their windows and balcony.

Knott doesn’t have a garden there, but has an area nearby in a community garden on East Bidwell Street.

He also has headed up volunteers from Folsom Garden Club who regularly maintain the Community Park Rose Garden at Sibley and Natoma streets.

Knott watched the construction of Natoma Lake Crossing and enjoys walking the older bridge in Folsom and Powerhouse State Park. He walks the dog twice a day.

“We have pretty good shopping with the Palladio and the Folsom Outlets,” he said.

“I love Folsom.”

Mayor Morin is pleased with what the city offers. He pointed out that city services are not contracted out.

“We have our own police department, our own fire department, garbage collection, water and sewer system.”

Schools range from kindergarten to 12th grade, Folsom Lake College as well as private and charter schools. “The needs of students can be met.”

Public schools are part of the Folsom-Cordova Unified School District; the college is part of Los Rios Community College District. Folsom has the top-ranked high schools, according to the 2016 U.S. News and World Report.

Folsom’s business community offers many options for consumers, Morin said.

“Most important are jobs.”

Top employers include Intel, the school district, the city of Folsom and the Department of Corrections, “a big employer since the 1880s,” he said. Others are Mercy Hospital of Folsom, California ISO, Micron Technology, Walmart and Verizon. They add up to a total labor force of 34,900.

Businesses set to open this spring are Lifetime Fitness, Lazy Dog Restaurant and Sprouts Grocery Store.

Mayor Morin said the trails and parks do attract people who move to the city for the recreational opportunities. Folsom has 46 developed parks totaling 261 acres. According to the city website, nearly every home in Folsom is within a half-mile radius of a park which includes fields, playgrounds, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts and water features.

The city also has 45 miles of paved trails for walkers, joggers and bicyclists. Folsom is ranked as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists.

The city’s website lists other rankings. Folsom is the Best Place to Raise a Family in California says WalletHub (2015, 2016); it’s the 33rd Wealthiest City in the Nation, according to Nerd Wallet 2016, which also ranked the city as among the Best Places for Young Families in Northern California. And Thrillist.com ranked Folsom among the nation’s Coolest Suburbs in 2016.

With all the amenities, accolades and attractions, what more is there?

Real estate.

Several new-home builders have communities in Folsom. Among them are Elliott Homes which has several communities: Terrazzo Estates, New Riata at Empire Ranch, Hillcrest, Empire Ranch Villages and Veranda.

Single-family homes are offered by builders including The New Home Company, Axios Homes, Woodside Homes, Bernau Development and Lewis Homes.

While new home-builders are offering different designs and options, the resale market also has a variety of home and lot sizes.

According to MetroList Pro 71 homes are on the market with prices ranging from $369,000 to $1,600,000.

Dan Knott and Mayor Morin enjoy what Folsom has to offer: the zoo, schools, concerts, the bright business community, shopping, efficient city government, trails and public safety . . .

“If people move here for these reasons, they become the biggest supporters of the city,” Morin said.

Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.

Fast Facts

Where: About 25 miles east of Sacramento

Size: 27.6 square miles

Population: 77,246

Founded: 1856

Incorporated: 1946

Government: City Council/City Manager

County: Sacramento