When Vani Henderson and her husband Irv moved into their home on Walter Hays Drive in 2009, they were four days away from giving birth to their second child. One of the things that attracted them to the neighborhood was a child-friendly atmosphere that would suit their growing family.
Three years later, Henderson noted that her family's experience in the Duveneck neighborhood is exactly what she was hoping for. "This is a really nice community. On weekends we have kids running in and out of the house," she said.
Henderson and her family take advantage of many of the facilities that are close by. She said that she, her husband and their two young children often visit Eleanor Pardee Park, the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo and the Palo Alto Children's Library.
"We really like to walk or bike wherever we can," Henderson said, adding that she is grateful for her proximity to downtown Palo Alto and the entrance to Highway 101.
Near Walter Hays Drive lives Diana Nemet, her husband Todd, and their two children. Although the family originally thought that their 2003 move to Iris Way was only temporary, Nemet said that the relationships they have formed with their neighbors make it impossible for them to relocate.
"Now I will not move. I cannot move. I love these kids," she said.
In 2009, Nemet and her neighbor, Jennifer Antonow, founded Camp Iris Way, a yearly, week-long summer camp filled with activities for children from Iris Way and the adjoining Primrose Way.
Nemet, who said she knows all of her neighbors, appreciates the relationships she has built over the years. However, there is one thing she would change about her neighborhood if she could.
"I wish we weren't in the flood zone," she said.
Nemet and her family were not around for the 1998 San Francisquito Creek flood, but resident Kurt Taylor was there.
Taylor moved to De Soto Drive in 1991 and said that even though the flood took everybody by surprise, he and his neighbors were quick to act.
"The neighborhood really pulled together almost instantly to try to help the people whose houses were hit the worst," he said.
Some neighbors had to make major repairs to their homes after the flood, but other than that, the neighborhood has nearly stayed the same.
"There's not been any dramatic physical changes primarily because most people who buy these houses buy them because they like them. They like the mid-century look," he said.
On Walter Hays Drive, many people renovate their homes to some extent. Henderson and her husband are no exception.
"Often the homes are older and could benefit from some sprucing up," Henderson said. However, Henderson said she believes that her community and the nearby facilities make the expenses associated with moving into an older home on a nice street negligible.
Now that the Hendersons have finished renovating their home and are settled in, Henderson said that the family is there to stay for the long-term.
"I couldn't imagine living in a better place."
-- Audra Sorman
CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Duveneck Kids' Club, 705 Alester Ave.
FIRE STATION: No. 3, 799 Embarcadero Road
LIBRARY: Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road
LOCATION: bounded by San Francisquito Creek, Oregon Expressway, Greer Road, Embarcadero Road and Newell Road
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Karen White, 650-494-7026, KarenWhite4@sbcglobal.net
PARKS (nearby): Eleanor Pardee Park, 851 Center Drive; Rinconada Park, 777 Embarcadero Road
POST OFFICE: Main, 2085 E. Bayshore Road
PRIVATE SCHOOLS (nearby): International School of the Peninsula, 151 Laura Lane; St. Elizabeth Seton, 1095 Channing Ave.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Duveneck Elementary School, Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto High School
SHOPPING: Edgewood Shopping Center; University Avenue
MEDIAN 2014 HOME PRICE: $2,300,000 ($1,415,000-$3,562,500)
HOMES SOLD: 29
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