How Do We Love Natomas? Let Us Count The Ways…

Growing up, THE BUZZ moved around a lot. We lived in Arizona, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington before coming to California to go to college.

We have been in Sactown since 1997 and in Natomas since 2001. This is the longest we have ever lived in (a) the same city and (b) the same home.

The husband, on the other hand, grew up in the same house which is still owned by the family 40 years later. Our better half is familiar with living in the suburbs. Us? Not so much.

Today was a lesson in why we enjoy living here…

When popping into Raley’s this afternoon to pick up an iced coffee, we ran into April a teacher at our daughter’s school and we talked PTSA stuff. Megan got in the check out line right behind her and we caught up on an e-mail exchange that had gone awry. From the coffee counter we waved at Gretchen, a friend from MOMS Club, shopping with her kids.

While waiting for our drink, we chatted with Carolina who works in the store’s bakery and got an update on the upcoming conversion from Java City to Peet’s Coffee. The gal who sold us our drink asked after the kids, who usually get the “free” cookie when we are there together.

Later, with the kids this time in Target, Lisa and I ran into each other again and talked about neighborhood involvement. We introduced her to Melinda, one of our fellow PTSA board members, who chatted with us about the merits of shopping the Dollar Spot. Then we spoke with Christine, with whom we are in the same babysitting co-op, and a few minutes later we exchanged pleasantries with the Westlake Charter School principal whom we met during May Is Bike Month.

In our whole life, we have never lived anywhere like Natomas. A place which reminds us of that bar in Cheers, where everybody knows your name.

Everyone has a reason why they chose to stay here when others moved away, why they get involved in committees and neighborhood watches, and why they stick up for our neighborhood when someone bad mouths it.

THE BUZZ couldn’t help but wonder what those reasons are… Won’t you, Neighbor, click “comments” and share?


  1. Angelique Ashby says

    Buzz – Maybe I am a sappy sucker, but I love this kind of article.

    I feel encouraged when I read this account of your day in Natomas.

    My family and I feel the same way.

    We have gotten to know so many terrific people in this community (youth sports friends, school friends, neighbors, teachers, leaders and so much more).

    We too lived in Oregon as kids and as adults have lived all over the Sac. region – Natomas is home.

    Thanks for the perspective check…

  2. Anonymous says

    Rock on! While it drives my mother crazy that our cell phone conversations are always interrupted with “Hi, how you”? or “what time is that meeting next week”?, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I’ve lived in Sactown since 1989 and most recently East Sac. Loved the trees, but the parking sucked! Not only that, but as a new mother I felt disconnected since most of my neighbors were OLD! I didn’t want to move to suburbia…but now that I live here in Natty Park – I’m not sure I will be able to leave.

    It started with Kidsgym at The Club, followed by swim lessons. Then came MOMS Club, Body Sculpting and Happy Hour. HOA committee life, becoming a delegate and finally a board member. Once you help the inner circle, the desire to help others is strong. Regency Park Yahoo Group, Robslist and the Natomas Park Planning Committee. Hey, have you heard of inclusionary housing and what’s that thing they call The Panhandle?

    I guess what I like most about living here is there are so many opportunities to get involved with others: mothers, friends, neighbors, strangers. Awesome!


  3. Anonymous says

    What? A Peets Coffee – Finally! Agree with everything you said. Natomas offers my family and I the ability to be connected to a community. We lived in Land Park before here and yes, it was nice, but we knew hardly a sole by name. Love that about Natomas. I have had so many days just as you described.

  4. Anonymous says

    Its funny you mention this because I was thinking about this topic in light of the recent crime wave, excessive retail space, etc. My wife and I also bought in 01, and needless to say, we enjoy it but regret it is not meeting its potential.

    Seriously, we had a clean slate (a bit under elevation), but a clean slate nonetheless. A major sports arena, lots of middle to upper-middle income people moving in…the possiblities were endless. Now, Natomas seems like watching children play in a sandbox: everyone’s doing fine and having fun, but not cohesive enough to say there is one identity (we are our own city right? Shouldn’t we have an identity?) I was really hoping we would have a more grounded, down-to-earth, less pretentious and culturally diverse version of Walnut Creek’s downtown center; however, that is not happening and I don’t know if it ever will.

    Still, my wife is an active member of the moms group and I teach in the natomas district. We plan to live here for a while and send our kids to the schools. I grew up across the street from Northgate Park in the 80s so I feel like I can say this with real authority: the city planning of Natomas since 1990 earns a C maybe C+ at best while the people of Natomas are wonderful (just look at the second effort to rebuild the Fort).

    To the readers of this: what grade would you give Natomas’ planning?

  5. Anonymous says

    From what I’ve read here: the city has planned and made changes but the developers are corrupt, the club is a place to come together as a community, but it was built too small for the population, the teachers are terrific, but the district administrators are corrupt with conflicts of interest politics. There’s good with bad everywhere you look. Is that a common problem for developing areas? Or can we affect the players that make these decisions? I think we can ask if self interests drive these or the greater good of the community interests are being considered.

  6. Anonymous says

    What a great letter, I know our community has had some difficult times and growing pains, but overall I think many good families live in Natomas, we all want to raise our kids in a good environment and the more we participate and not whine, the better we will all be. I wish we could organize more community events, this blog may be a good start to plan some. We had a concert in a park a few years back, more would be good. The town center may not arrive soon, but we should still promote events and activities that unite us. Maybe the neighborhood associations can plan a BBQ, each month a new group can host it.

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