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Community Profile: East Sacramento’s filled with popular places, beautiful architecture

McKinley Park features Clunie Community Center, a rose garden, seasonal pool, pond, playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball diamond, tennis courts and trails.
McKinley Park features Clunie Community Center, a rose garden, seasonal pool, pond, playgrounds, picnic areas, baseball diamond, tennis courts and trails.

East Sacramento has a few famous, fabulous landmarks: McKinley Park, the McKinley Rose Garden, the Library and the Community Center.

It’s like a town center, said Lisa Schmidt, who co-founded Friends of East Sacramento with Cecily Hastings.

City Councilman Jeff Harris holds most of his community meetings there and the East Sacramento Improvement Association, the East Sacramento Women’s Group and other organizations meet at the Community Center, Schmidt said.

“That’s why it reminds me of a small town with a town square. The library is on one side and meetings are held on the other.”

Realtor Liz Edmonds of Lyon Real Estate said East Sacramento has some of the most beautiful architecture in the city. People also like the trees, the proximity to downtown and the ease of getting around.

Lauren Hastings, executive director of the East Sacramento Chamber of Commerce said other attractions are the ability to walk or bike to cafes and stores, the river and the delta breezes.

“But really it’s the people,” she said. “Everyone talks to each other, helps their neighbors out and takes care of the community. We’ve got great parks and fun events.”

People enjoy biking, river activities and wine-making, she said.

The McKinley Rose Garden is the site of many weddings, memorial services and other events. It’s a quiet, soothing and calm place, Schmidt said.

About 600 people volunteer to help with pruning and other maintenance, some on a regular basis, others twice a year.

“We knew the garden was loved, but when a trellis disappeared recently, we got emails and phone calls from people all over the country.”

The trellis was taken and used in a wedding. The story appeared in newspapers as far away as Florida. It’s now back in place.

“People took the trellis incident personally. It was one of those human interest things,” Schmidt said.

She and Hastings formed the Friends of East Sacramento to host the Urban Renaissance Home Tour, with funds going toward a “Welcome to East Sacramento” sign, brick edgings at the Community Center and other projects.

When the city was planning to close the Community Center due to lack of funding that meant the library also would close because restrooms are in the center.

“That got the whole neighborhood in an uproar,” Schmidt said.

“It’s the sweetest library. The building is 80 years old and is loved by neighbors. Many children’s programs are held there and it makes your heart smile to see kids go into the library.”

To prevent the closures, the Friends organizers talked to the parks director and came up with a proposal. They raised money to renovate and update the building.

That was four years ago.

Schmidt and Hastings manage the Community Center and McKinley Rose Garden. The library is a branch of the Sacramento Public Library.

There were just a few Victorians in the area 1890s when Sacramento was branching out from downtown, Edmonds said. That was when the J Street trolley went to 46th Street and turned around.

“Between 46th and 47th streets, you can see that 47th homes are a little newer. The wealth moved out there,” she said.

“Those were contemporary homes in the 1920s. Now they’re revered for their beauty.”

Home sales for the past two months show that prices range from $330,000 to $1.4 million. There were 152 transactions in East Sacramento, including River Park and south of Folsom Boulevard, she said. Homes are on the market an average of 30 days.

Sizes range from a two-bedroom, 272-square-foot home to one with six bedrooms and 5,800 square feet.

“They go from tiny to kind of exuberant,” Edmonds said.

The average home in East Sacramento is 1,680 square feet. Homes list at $383 per square foot and sell for $404 per square foot.

Over the past six months, seven homes sold for over $1 million and one for $2 million. Five are pending with one priced at $2.5 million.

Prices are going up everywhere, she said.

Buyers have a choice of new homes in the area.

McKinley Village from The New Home Company and Riverview Capital Investments will have 336 single-family homes plus a 4,000-square-foot recreation center and pool.

Five different models, now under construction, are planned for different buyer profiles from empty-nesters to single professionals and everyone in between, said Kevin Carson, The New Home Company president Northern California.

“The architecture, park, trees, street lights - everything will have the same iconic style as East Sacramento.”

McKinley Village will open in September and the first family will be moving in before the end of the year, Carson said.

“It’s exciting that it’s all coming together.”

Another community, Sutter Park Neighborhood, is also being developed on the site of the former Sutter Memorial Hospital. The hospital, built in 1937, was demolished and a new Sutter Hospital opened in midtown.

Proposed plans for Sutter Park by StoneBridge Properties call for around 120 single-family homes and a 12-unit multi-family building on the 20-acre site.

“What amazes me about East Sacramento is that people are willing to help in so many ways,” Schmidt said. “That’s one of the reasons I love it here.”

People open their homes and gardens for tours, she said.

Upcoming is the Soroptimist of Sacramento Edible Garden Tour (ediblegardensac.org) on Sept. 10.

A nice variety of vegetables and fruit are incorporated into the landscaping of the six gardens on the self-guided tour, said Nancy Wolford-Landers, tour committee member.

Other events include the Taste of East Sacramento on July 16 and the Sacred Heart Home Tour in December.

Schmidt is fond of the new restaurant OBO Italian, which is opening in the former Andiamo site.

Lauren Hastings likes popular spots including Chocolate Fish Coffee Roasters, East Sacramento Hardware, Corti Brothers and Compton’s markets.

“We eat at Selland’s, Formoli’s Bistro and OneSpeed where you see the owners daily at all these places.”

“I wouldn’t live anywhere else in Sacramento,” she said.

Schmidt added, “I never need to leave my neighborhood.”

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


County: Sacramento

Size: 3.292 square miles

Number of homes: 10,700

Government: Sacramento City Council

Annexed to Sacramento: 1911


The Community Profiles spotlight Sacramento-area cities and neighborhoods weekly. This schedule is subject to change:

▪ Elk Grove/Laguna, July 2

▪ El Dorado Hills, July 9

▪ Sierra Oaks, July 16

▪ Land Park, July 23

▪ Folsom, July 30

▪ Woodland, Aug. 6

▪ Granite Bay, Aug. 13

▪ Arden Arcade, Aug. 20

▪ Citrus Heights, Sept. 3

▪ Greenhaven/Pocket, Sept. 10


Julie Robledo, resale homes,

(916) 321-1295, jrobledo@sacbee.com

Roger Tafoya, new homes,

(916) 321-1373, rtafoya@sacbee.com