Residents say Wildhorse is the perfect place to live
Fifty years ago you could hear the chug of locomotives as the V & T Railroad passed by the property. Fifteen years ago the spray of irrigation sprinklers arced through the summer sky to nourish a sod farm. Now the land is a well-defined community called Wildhorse.
Located at the west-end of the Johnson Lane area, the Wildhorse neighborhood consists of six units of development with the first unit filed with the recorder’s office in August 1989. Over the past 10 years, literally hundred of homes have been built and new construction continues even today.
“It’s growing and growing,” said Jill Kratz, president of the Wildhorse Homeowners’ Association. “I think other people must like the same things about it that we did when we bought here. It’s a perfect place to live.”
Kratz has only lived in Wildhorse for three years. She and her husband, Mark, decided to move from southern California when Kratz became pregnant with their first child.
“I didn’t want to raise children in California,” said Kratz, the mother of Courtney, 3, and Mackenzie, 22 months. “Mark put in for a transfer and when it was approved I drove around the whole area looking for where I wanted to live.”
Kratz eliminated Dayton because it was too far out. She hated Carson City. And when she narrowed the choices in Douglas County she discovered Wildhorse.
– No lights, no traffic. “I love that it is all residential,” said Kratz. “No lights, no traffic, no stores. Nothing here but houses.”
Inger and Steve Hotho and their children, Jack and Devyn, moved to Wildhorse from Sacramento.
“I’m a city girl,” said Inger. “I liked living in town. Yet Wildhorse gave us a lot of the comforts of city living, while still having the benefits of living in the country.”
Wildhorse is a planned subdivision represented by residents of varying age groups and economic levels.
“We wanted to live where there were children and young parents,” said Millie LaPorte who moved to Wildhorse over 7 years ago with her husband, Jim. The LaPortes have retired from commerce in southern California. “It’s the way a community should be, a mix of ages, of personalities. That’s what makes it mesh together.”
Wildhorse also has features that aren’t common with the majority of other Johnson Lane homes – curbs and gutters and wide sidewalks that are the envy of many children that don’t live in Wildhorse.
“Kids have a place to skateboard or Rollerblade without being in the streets,” said Hotho. “For that matter our streets are paved. That can’t be said for many of the roads in the Johnson Lane area.”
“We wouldn’t live on a dirt road,” said Kim Smith, who also moved from Sacramento with her husband Brian and their three children, Steve, Scott and Samantha. “Brian is the type that washes the car every week whether it needs it or not.”
The Smiths and Hothos both agree that one of the positive features of Wildhorse is the fact that it is in Douglas County.
“When we were first looking for a place to buy, everyone we talked to said that Douglas County had the best schools,” said Smith. “That combined with the closeness to both Carson City and Minden, and the little bit of city out in the county convinced us that this was where we wanted to live.”
– Lure of golf. LaPorte and her husband bought in Wildhorse because of the beauty, and the proximity to many golf courses.
“We’re retired so we could live wherever we wanted,” said LaPorte. “Our children live in the Bay Area so we first considered northern California, but we hated it there. Someone told us about the Carson Valley, and although we had never heard of it, we came on a vacation and fell in love. It’s clean, it’s beautiful and at night it is dark. And when Jim plays golf, I am happy to go to town. It’s a great arrangement. I don’t like large malls and Carson City and Minden have wonderful places to shop.”
LaPorte tells a story about when they came to Wildhorse to check on the construction of their new home.
“If you don’t experience it, you just can’t understand how friendly everyone is,” said LaPorte. “Some people invited us to attend a party at their house and we had the chance to meet our neighbors before we even moved here. So when we finally moved in it was like coming home.”
Smith suggested that the Wildhorse Homeowners’ Association helps to keep neighbors in touch with neighbors, and that it solidifies the sense of community.
“We currently are not real active, but we have that opportunity to go to meetings and decide how money is spent in the neighborhood,” said Smith. “And even if you don’t go to the meetings, the newsletters keep you informed.”
LaPorte has attended homeowners’ meetings. At first she found them a little disagreeable.
“It started out rough,” said LaPorte. “But it is building into a good group. We never lived where there was a homeowners’ association before, but we took the chance and have no regrets.”
As president of the homeowners’ association, Kratz said that the association’s board is currently made up of volunteers who want to maintain the high quality of life that they currently enjoy.
Mike Mangiaracina, vice president; Geoff Keogh, treasurer; Rodney Alfonso, secretary; and Marlene Day, Kerry Partridge and Al Sinda as members at-large join Kratz on the board. Kratz wishes that there would be more involvement from the neighbors by attending association meetings.
“Either they aren’t interested or they think that nothing more needs to be done,” said Kratz. “But one of our goals is to try to standardize the CC&Rs for all six units. Each unit has slightly different regulations and it’s impossible to be consistent. We (the homeowners’ association) have no teeth for enforcement when the rules are different for each player.”
Kratz said that the association has come a long way since she attended her first meeting. She pointed out that the commons areas are now completed with playground equipment for the children, barbecue areas and walking trails. Future plans include horseshoe pits to compliment the barbecue areas.
– Community activities. “We do an annual Easter egg hunt, and this year the association wants to have a community picnic in July,” said Kratz. “Everyone will be invited to bring a side dish with meats and beverages supplied by the association.”
Kratz said that the association also brings in huge dumpsters twice a year so that the residents can clean up their yards and garages.
“Part of our function is to maintain the neat appearance of our community,” said Kratz. “This is just one way that we can help.”
Safety seems to be a key issue when Wildhorse residents talk about their neighborhood.
“I like the fact that there aren’t a lot of people just driving by,” said Kratz. “It’s not an access road to anything. And we have law enforcement people living everywhere in the neighborhood. It adds to the sense of security.”
“Wildhorse is friendly,” said LaPorte. “I feel very very safe here because everyone looks out for one another.”
Smith said that if she had to choose all over again, she would pick Wildhorse as her neighborhood. “I like having close neighbors for safety and security reasons. And our kids can play and I know the neighbors are watching out for my kids just like I watch out for theirs. We aren’t as rural as some people, so we like the sidewalks and the paved streets.”
“Wildhorse is the best place to live,” said LaPorte. “I know everyone says that about their neighborhood, but with Wildhorse you know that it is true. We absolutely love it here.”
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