Goodbye, old friend!

Recently, the Parkmead community had to say goodbye to one of its most magnificent, ancient, well-regarded friends. A huge redwood tree on Lilac Dr., that had served as a sort of landmark for the neighborhood, was cut down.

Many neighbors were out watching the tree come down, because it wasn’t just any other tree. This was a tree an arborist estimated was more than 150 years old. It was something recognized by anyone who traveled through, or lived in, Parkmead.

In its place now is a big gap of air, which will never replace the beauty of the huge redwood tree. Unfortunately, the tree had a disease in its roots, and was in danger of dying and falling on nearby houses.

Despite that danger, the owner was saddened, and told me it felt like he was losing an old friend. Even my son, who came home for Thanksgiving, noticed it had been cut down and was sad to see a gap in the skyline.  It’s disappointing any time a tree has to be removed, but especially when it has lived through so much! Rick – the owner – speculated the neighborhood was designed around the tree as there are two other redwoods in rear neighbor’s houses that are estimated at 50 years of age each.

For the record, 150 years ago? That was 1867, when Walnut Creek was only 18 years old!

Join us this Saturday for the Dewing Park Pool Party!

Parkmead neighbors: come join us for our annual pool block party at Dewing Park this Saturday! We’ll be grilling burgers and dogs from 11-3 and the pool will be open to all.

Also, Adam (one of our board members) really wanted a keg of quality beer for the adults. So, he was given a budget and tasked with ordering: he decided on a triple IPA by Knee Deep Brewery called Simtra.

You don’t want to miss out on this Parkmead Community Association block party. The burgers, dogs, sunshine, 11.25% beer music by Funky Jams from Las Lomas and cool pool will be well worth your time on a hot day, temperatures are forcasted to be 95 degrees.

Living in the neighborhood all these years, I can attest to the close-knit community that is only grown through events like this. It is a great way to get to know your neighbors and be part of your community.

Check out some fun photos from years past:

 

Newell Promenade becoming apartments soon?

I have some unsurprising news, fellow Walnut Creekians: another block of high-rise apartments is expected to go up in the downtown area soon.


This time, it’ll be where the Newell Promenade is (360 Burritos, former home of Taxi’s, etc.), across from Kaiser. A developer bought the commercial space and they want to develop it into a mixed space with retail on the bottom and more apartments above. It would include a 5-story, 120,574-sq. ft. building with 102 residential apartments, more retail than is currently in the plaza, plus two levels of parking.

There have been discussions about utilizing the creek in that area; I can see a restaurant with a patio overlooking the creek, but then where would the front entrance be?

The developers who bought the buildings in the Newell Promenade have had conversations about presenting ideas formally to the Parkmead and other surrounding neighborhoods. So far, they’ve had two conversations with members of the Parkmead Community Association but only got some basic input and opinions; not a representation of the entire community.  There have also been some informal meetings amongst home owners and attendance at the planning committee.

Walnut Creek City Council asked the group to prove more what they want to do and to make the presentation more user-friendly.  Then we will see how it works out. I asked my favorite cleaners – Vogue, who currently are doing business in the Newell Promenade, what their thoughts were. They think it will be a few years out before anything happens and they have another two years on their lease, so they can’t worry about what will be and only continue to focus on their business. My biggest concern will be how much the rents will go up and whether my cleaners will be able to stay at that location.

You can get more information on the development proposal at this link.

Also, on a sidenote, the city is finally putting in a z-shaped crosswalk to make it safer. We won’t have to worry about running over people scurrying across that busy road between Kaiser and Newell Promenade!

The 2017 Walnut Creek Citizens Institute

A few years ago, I participated in the Walnut Creek Citizens Institute classes. It was a great experience educating me about the ins and outs of the way the city runs Walnut Creek, and a way to get involved with various city initiatives.

Credit: walnut-creek.org
Credit: walnut-creek.org

For those who haven’t heard of it, the Citizens Institute is a 7-session class that includes tours, presentations and Q&A gatherings with City Council members, the City Manager, the Police and Transportation departments. It gives a good chance to get up close and personal with those who make decisions for our town.

Topics for 2017 will include city finances, getting to know the WCPD, the role of public works and how to improve one’s quality of life in Walnut Creek. The final class meets on Apr. 1 for a graduation of sorts, including a neighborhood showcase and lunch.

broadway_plaza_shopping_center_-_walnut_creek_california

If you live in Walnut Creek or are thinking about moving here, it’s a good opportunity to further increase your knowledge of this wonderful city and how it operates. If we learned anything from the Presidential election, it’s that every level of government is essential and it is important to be involved and participate!

If you want to join in 2017, the sessions will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. every Thursday from Feb. 16-Mar. 30. There is a $25 fee, which you can pay on the first day of class. For more information, check out the details here.

First-Time Home-Buyers vs. Repeat Buyers

One Cool Thing chartAccording to the California Association of Realtors, first-time home buyers look for different things in a property than repeat buyers do. Californians list rental fatigue as the single most important reason for buying a home. From those who are trying to move up, it’s a size upgrade, followed by a location improvement.

First-time home buyers are who allow repeat home buyers to move up to the next home and continue the domino effect into the higher-priced homes. This chart to the left provides an interesting look at the different reasons different types of buyers want a new house.

On average, first-time home buyers will stay in their first home between 5-7 years. The reasons for eventually selling vary, but often it is because of the addition of new members to their family, or the search for more space, good schools and a neighborhood where home owners can see their kids riding bikes and being part of a safe community.

I recently listed a past client’s home who bought 3 years ago. When she called me, she said, “Kristin, you were right. We are ready to move.” When they bought their home, I told her they would be there maybe for 5 years and she adamantly said we will be here for a long time.  Do you have a similar story?  Are you outgrowing your first home?