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Community Profile: Residents like the small-town feeling in Elk Grove

By Tinka Davi

Poppy Ridge Road is just one area where rural Elk Grove sits just yards from new home communities.
Poppy Ridge Road is just one area where rural Elk Grove sits just yards from new home communities.

Elk Grove may seem like a big town, but not to folks who live there. People say they like it because it’s a small town.

Steve Ly, Elk Grove’s vice mayor, said it’s one of the attractions and part of the culture.

“It’s a big city that feels like a small town. You walk down the street and feel you know your neighbor. I’m quite proud to be living in Elk Grove.”

Kristyn Nelson, Elk Grove’s public affairs manager, pointed to a citizens’ survey where people were asked to write in the one thing they love most about Elk Grove.

In an email, she wrote, “Many residents state that, despite its size (population is now at 167,965 according to the latest figures from the State Department of Finance), the city’s small-town charm is among its most appealing characteristics.”

Others noted the quietness or rurality of Elk Grove, the sense of community, diversity and culture.

The vice mayor, an educator who has lived in Elk Grove for 18 years and served on the school board, said other benefits of living in the city are education, many parks and the safety.

Nelson also said that “great schools, amazing parks and one of the safest and most diverse communities in the country are just some of the benefits of living here.”

Zoritha Thompson, CEO/Broker, Goree & Thompson Real Estate, Inc. said the attractions are the school district, sports programs for youth, the hospitals and the location between two freeways (Highway 99 and I-5). That makes commuting downtown easier.

“Elk Grove is very diverse with culture,” she said. “There are people that live here from all walks of life and ethnicities.”

Elk Grove Unified School District reflects the diversity.

According to the district website, “Our students represent California's great diversity: Our students speak more than 88 languages, 24 percent are White, 18 percent are African American, 26 percent are Latino, 23 percent are Asian, 8 percent are Pacific Islander/Filipino and 1 percent are American Indian.”

More than 62,000 students attend 66 schools. There are 20 elementary, 6 middle, 6 high schools and 5 private/alternative schools, according to the city’s demographics.

Jobs and businesses in the city also are diverse, ranging from high-tech companies to healthcare.

Nelson said the city recently held ribbon-cutting events for Chicago Fire Pizza and Elk Grove Custom Collision Detail Spa.

“Additionally, the Mayor (Gary Davis) announced an agreement with NRC Manufacturing in late March as the first tenant for the city’s Southeast Policy Area. The high-tech manufacturing company is based in Fremont with plans to build an expansion facility in Elk Grove that would bring an estimated 2,500 jobs to the area. Expansions at Apple and California Correctional Healthcare Services are also in the works.”

Plans for the proposed Wilton Rancheria casino resort were recently released. They propose a 611,055-square-foot hospitality and entertainment facility, a 12-story, 30- room hotel, a 48,150-square-foot convention center, six restaurants and bars and 110,260-square-foot gaming floor, Nelson said.

However, Ly said that nothing is firm.

“There are a lot of details that need to happen. Projects are never confirmed until the shovel hits the ground.”

Although the City Council is bringing jobs to Elk Grove, the small city will still be maintained, Ly said.

“We’re not an industry city, but are putting an effort into bringing jobs here.”

Thanks to incorporation in 2000, the city has local control, he said.

The city’s Economic Development Department jobs report (March 2016), shows that the city’s largest 25 employers comprise an estimated 15,392 jobs and account for 34.4 percent of total employment; and 65 percent of Elk Grove businesses employ less than 150.

“The top five industry classifications driving jobs growth include Education Services Healthcare and Social Assistance (7,111 jobs), Retail Trade (6,294), Administrative and Waste Services (3,661), Professional Scientific and Technical Services (1,875) and Accommodations and Food Services (1,651).”

Among Elk Grove’s attractions are many good restaurants, shopping, two movie theaters nearby, workout gyms, plus a bowling alley, event center and many great parks, Thompson said.

Elk Grove has 93 parks plus a number of recreations programs for all ages.

The city is the site of several popular events including the Salute to the Red, White & Blue July 4; the Strauss Festival July 28-31; Boots on the Boulevard Aug. 13; Multicultural Festival Aug. 27 and Party on the Palms Teen Festival Sept. 17.

The community currently has 303 resale homes on the market ranging in price from $172,319 to $520,000. The average is $346,159.

“Inventory in the immediate area is very low,” Thompson said. “It is definitely a seller’s market right now. We are currently receiving multiple offers on homes and the competition to purchase a home is very high.”

Several builders are offering new-home communities. They include:

▪ Parkgate, Bellmore and Stratford from CalAtlantic Homes

▪ Spectrum by Centex Homes

▪ Sevilla and Wildflower both at Madeira East, D.R. Horton

▪ Providence, JMC Homes

▪ Fireside at Madeira, KB Home

▪ The Preserve at Laguna Ridge and Bella Strada, Richmond American Homes

▪ Averio II, Prado, Prado II and Viana II at Madeira East and Grammercy, Taylor Morrison

With the jobs, the easy commute downtown, recreation opportunities, special events and Elk Grove’s small-town focus, it’s no wonder that people like living there.

“I have no intentions of moving, Ly said. “It’s a wonderful city.”

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


Where: about 15 miles south of downtown Sacramento; 4 miles south of Sacramento city limits

Size: 42 square miles

Population: 167,965

County: Sacramento

Founded: 1850

Incorporated: 2000

Government: City Council


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

▪ 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