Land Park is a “little piece of heaven” to April Meszaros and her husband, Nick Stollenwerk.
A physician at UC Davis Medical Center, Stollenwerk moved to the area in 2005, while Meszaros stayed in Southern California at her job until she became pregnant with their first child, Leila.
“Not knowing the area too well, my OB-GYN mentioned that she had a small home in Land Park and suggested we drive through the area. She mentioned it was a beautiful, family-friendly neighborhood, close to work,” Meszaros wrote in an email.
“We drove down Land Park Drive, through the tree canopy, past the park, the zoo, Fairytale town and literally said, ‘We have to live HERE!’”
They rented a duplex until 2008 when they purchased a home.
“Not only is our charming home the centerpiece of our family, but Land Park offers a true sense of community that neither one of us had really experienced before,” she said. “We feel like we have found the perfect mix in Land Park. It offers activities for all ages.”
She added, “The neighbors are amazing. Our block jokes that we should sign a contract not allowing any of us to sell.”
The schools are fantastic and the amenities are wonderful, she said.
They walk or bicycle to Dad’s Kitchen, Vic’s Ice Cream or New Helvetia, jog on the bike path around the park and their youngsters walk to school and participate in neighborhood sports activities.
Land Park, the park within the community by that name, attracts many people, not just those who live there, said Steve Winlock, president of the Land Park Community Association.
“It’s really a city park, a real jewel in the community,” he said. “Even though it’s in the Land Park community, it’s everyone’s park.”
The community of Land Park is bordered by Interstate 5 on the west, Broadway to the north, Sutterville Road to the south and Freeport Boulevard to the east.
The Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and Funderland are located in William Land Park as are softball and soccer fields, play and picnic areas, jogging path, lakes, 9-hole golf course and additional activity areas.
Winlock, who was raised in Sacramento, recalls family visits to the park, a tradition that has continued for years when family members get together each June for a reunion.
“It’s a big family. There could be 100 of us,” he said.
Winlock has lived in Land Park for 25 years and has been a member of the community association for that long.
Realtor Atchan Van Pelt of Cook Realty, a 20-year resident, likes the community because it’s very green and shady; people are out and about exercising, walking their dogs and visiting with friends.
“I came here from the Bay Area and found it’s the most appealing (community) in the Sacramento area,” she said.
Winlock said that Land Park has a sense of community with neighbors who support and look out for each other. He lives on a street with “fantastic neighbors” in a house built in 1936.
“I love the old houses and you can’t get a better home than in Land Park. I think it’s one of the best areas in Sacramento. The proximity to downtown is appealing,” he said.
Resale inventory is low, Van Pelt said.
“We’re having a bit of a drought in inventory and homes get multiple offers.”
Prices range from approximately $400,000 up to one for under $2 million. She recently sold a 1,200-square-foot fixer-upper for just under $500,000.
When they were growing up, Van Pelt’s youngsters attended Riverside, California Middle School and McClatchy High School.
Winlock’s now-grown son walked to school.
“It’s a walking community and that’s another thing I love about Land Park,” Winlock said.
“People can walk to the dry cleaners, bakery and places to eat.”
Businesses in the area support events including the Fourth of July bicycle parade and a major fundraiser, Taste of Land Park, he said.
Each month, the Land Park Volunteer Corps maintains the park. About 100-200 volunteers help clean up the duck pond, pull weeds, trim bushes and do other jobs from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and then enjoy a barbecue lunch, Winlock said.
Meszanos calls the proximity to downtown “a bonus.” They can bicycle, take Light Rail or take a quick drive to the restaurants, Golden 1 Center and Old Sacramento.
“The best part of Land Park for us is sitting out on our front porch chatting with neighbors as our kids play up and down the street. We host Front-Porch Fridays (neighbors all hang out) and front-yard movie nights in our yard. We have a vintage trailer that we project movies on during the summer.”
They also vacation with neighbors who have become life-long friends.
Land Park is a friendly community.
Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.
Where: east of downtown Sacramento
Population: Land Park: 7,183; South Land Park: 8,354
Government: Sacramento City Council