Many communities have a focal point and Curtis Park is no exception.
To most residents there, it’s Sierra 2 Center, where many activities are held.
It was a former school, scheduled for demolition.
However, “Neighbors said, ‘We can’t let it go under the wrecking ball,’” said Eric Johnson, president of the Curtis Park Neighborhood Association board.
Residents formed the association to preserve the building and it’s now a busy community center. Hundreds of different activities are held there every year, Johnson said. They include everything from yoga, ceramics, fitness, dance and art to children’s and senior groups.
Residents especially enjoy Friday Night dinners at the center, said Angela Mia, Realtor with Lyon Real Estate.
“They’re catered dinners where people come, sit down at the table and have community with their neighbors,” she said.
Mia, who has lived in Curtis Park for 17 years, Johnson, an 11-year resident, and Kitty O’Neal, KFBK news anchor, who moved there 27 years ago, all talked about the popularity of the dinners. And they stressed that Curtis Park is “a very friendly neighborhood.”
In the center of the community is another popular gathering spot, Curtis Park, which Mia describes on her website as “a sliver of a park, a half block wide and four blocks long.”
O’Neal jogs there every day and she chatted on her cell while on the 1-mile path around the park.
“It’s perfect for daily exercise and I love that part of it.”
It’s not just residents who visit the park. People drive there from other areas, she said.
“The park is utilized by a lot of different groups, including those who do yoga and meditation and people who come here for training – firefighters and football players.”
“It’s nice to see a place in the community where people can gather.”
Curtis Park also is a great dog community where many people walk their dogs around the neighborhood and socialize, O’Neal said. She doesn’t have a dog, but used to walk her neighbor’s dogs in the park.
Johnson calls Curtis Park a “front porch neighborhood.”
“That’s a place where you can sit on your front porch and talk to people as they walk by,” Johnson said. He was just elected to a fourth term as board president.
“I love Curtis Park because of everything that makes it a true neighborhood.”
That includes being able to walk to the store and to ride his bicycle to work downtown or to the park and to Sierra 2 Center.
“I stop and talk to people about gardens or their kids. It’s a really nice, friendly neighborhood.”
O’Neal said, “There are many things that give Curtis Park a real community feel.”
She enjoys association events like the crab feed, home tour and concerts in the park.
The second annual Sing N’ Serve Crab Fee will be held Feb. 5; the Spring Egg Hunt and Pajama Parade March 26; the Home and Garden Tour April 30; Curtis Fest where local and semi-local artists exhibit and sell their work Aug. 28 and Music in the Park from June to August.
Homes in Curtis Park were built in the early 1900s for middle to higher-income families, according to Mia’s website. Architectural styles were Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Tudor, Spanish, Colonial Revival and bungalow.
“We do have some beautiful homes,” O’Neal said as she jogged by a house that was being remodeled.
Many residents have lived there for years or they grew up there, moved away and are now coming back. Some families are downsizing from large homes in the suburbs; other buyers are young families with children.
“People at open houses say they are thinking of coming back to the city to be close to what’s happening,” Mia said.
“There’s a great mix of ages, people, backgrounds and diversity.”
Not many homes are on the market, just 10 in Curtis Park and seven in Curtis Park Village. Prices for Curtis Park homes range from $369,900 to $649,000. Most homes are in the $400,000s and are between 1,100 and 1,500 square feet, Mia said.
Curtis Park Village is a community of new homes from BlackPine Communities. It’s located between Curtis Park and the community of Land Park.
It has three communities or offerings, said Mike Paris, BlackPine’s founder, president and CFO.
They are The Cottages priced in the mid-$400,000s. Just one of 12 homes is still available.
The Brownstones, which are “very traditional, classic east coast styles” Paris said and are based on his experiences of living in New York. They’re priced in the mid-$500,000s.
The Estates have more traditional architecture and are consistent with Curtis Park and classic styles. “A cross between east coast cottage and Carmel,” he said. Prices are in the high-$600,000s.
“Given time and patience, it will be a world-class community,” Paris said. There are great homeowners and good quality neighbors.”
There’s a controversy over the retail in the proposed shopping area. Curtis Park Village was to have a Safeway supermarket, but residents didn’t want the gas station. The center, renamed Crocker Village, is proposed to have a dollar store and other discount retailers.
“While Curtis Park was and still is considered a suburban neighborhood, it has some wonderful restaurants that give it an urban feel,” Mia said.
Eateries include Pangaea Two Brew café, Café Dantorels, Gunther’s Ice Cream and the Coffee Garden.
O’Neal and her husband, Kurt Spataro, executive chef for Paragary Restaurant Group, like the proximity to downtown Sacramento and the ability to take surface streets or the freeway to work.
They’ve lived in two Curtis Park homes.
“We stayed within the park area. We love it,” O’Neal said.
Mia said, “I love talking about Curtis Park. I came here 17 years ago and I’m not going to move.”
Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.
Where: approximately 3 miles south of downtown Sacramento
Size: 1.2 square miles
Population: 2,500 households
Annexed to the city of Sacramento: September 1911
Government: Sacramento City Council