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Community Profile: Greenhaven-Pocket residents seek good schools, quiet place to raise their families

By Tinka Davi

John F. Kennedy High School is centrally located in the Pocket-Greenhaven neighborhood.
John F. Kennedy High School is centrally located in the Pocket-Greenhaven neighborhood.

People who choose to live in Greenhaven-Pocket buy there and stay. That’s true of a few people who responded to the question, “Why did you move to the community?”

Jim and Susan Stratton bought their home 28 years ago in the Granger’s Dairy neighborhood because they wanted their son and daughter to attend John F. Kennedy High School.

“The kids needed a four-year high school and Kennedy is the best school in the Sacramento Unified School District,” Jim said.

He and Susan are retired now and their daughter is a principal at a San Diego middle school. Their son is a university professor of physics.

When they were at Kennedy, their daughter sang in the choir and played soccer. She and her brother were both part of the school’s speech and debate team.

Their son also played on the tennis team and was active in Mathletics and the academic decathlon.

“Pocket Greenhaven is a very lovely area to live. We looked around the county and Sacramento area and can’t find a better place.”

“We like the neighborhood and have great neighbors,” Jim said.

“We like Pocket-Greenhaven and like the multi-ethnic diverse neighborhood.”

They also like the greenbelt and the levees, saying they’re a great place to ride bicycles.

“We were spoiled walking along the river.”

Greenhaven-Pocket is primarily a residential community in the city of Sacramento. It’s shaped by a bend in the Sacramento River, which borders the Pocket area on all sides except the east.

Lynelle and Steve McNiel found the perfect home in 2003. She was living in Arden Arcade and Steve was in Davis.

“We needed a house that would accommodate the two of us, plus our stuff,” Lynelle said. “We were each moving from our own houses and had lots of stuff.”

They also needed a place for Steve’s mother who could no longer live on her own. They found a house with a large master suite on the first floor which was perfect. His mother was with them for 2-1/2 years.

They were attracted to the area for several reasons.

“The housing prices were more affordable than the other neighborhoods we’d been looking at, Lynelle said. “We were impressed with the quiet, tree-lined streets, the proximity to the river and to shopping, particularly grocery shopping.”

Their other priorities were quiet and privacy and they wanted a place with wonderful outdoor spaces both around their home and the neighborhood.

Both trained as landscape architects and Steve taught at UC Davis for 23 years. Lynelle, a licensed landscape architect was immediately sold on the backyard which is private and tree-lined. Yet they’re also close to downtown and to the region via the freeways.

They shop at Grocery Outlet and Bel-Air, the Greenhaven Ace Hardware, the local All-Clear Pool Supply and the Greenhaven Bike Shop.

“Without exception, the people who work in these stores are friendly, relaxed and eager to help out,” they said.

“We also love being near the river. It’s much cooler in the Pocket. We bike down to the water-intake facility. We kayak the river, putting in at Garcia Bend Park. We ride and walk the many bike paths in the greenbelt and along Pocket Canal Park.”

Julie Maxwell-Jolly moved to Greenhaven-Pocket in 1987 for several reasons.

“We (she and husband David) were living in a lovely but very small house in Land Park. As we looked around for a place to move our family, Greenhaven-Pocket offered more affordable housing, a chance to design and build our own home, a neighborhood with lots of kids, a public school within a few blocks with a lovely park and playground just adjacent.”

They chose the last lot in the Granger’s Dairy neighborhood, a place where people know each other.

She likes the quiet neighborhood with very little crime. There’s now some turnover of homes, and she enjoys seeing kids in the neighborhood again.

“There are also those of us, like my husband and me, whose grandkids live nearby, so that the next generation is livening up the neighborhood as well.”

Their son and daughter grew up in the house and were active in school and league soccer teams, baseball and t-ball. Their daughter was in Girl Scouts and Julie was a leader.

“We participated in lots of school-related activities that really served to unite the community when the kids were younger. These included author days, fundraisers, family reading nights, holiday programs, Odyssey of the Mind and other activities.”

Julie attends classes at California Family Fitness. Several services and shops in the neighborhood include a place for facials and massages, bike shop, hardware store, drugstore and discount grocery store. Nugget shopping center is a couple of miles away, she said.

Steve Streng of Streng Realty said there are 31 resale homes on the market in the Greenhaven Pocket area ranging in price from a low of $179,000 to a high of $1,300,000. Median price is $459,500.

“With only one month of inventory in the current seller's market, the Pocket area continues to be one of Sacramento's most desirable neighborhoods,” Streng said.

“Prices have gone up 9.1 percent since the same time last year with 37 currently pending and 172 closed sales in the last 6 months.”

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


Where: About 5 miles south of downtown Sacramento

Size: 7 square miles

Population: 42,052

County: Sacramento