We've all seen them - the communities with monuments proudly bearing their names at the entrance, such as Strawberry Fields and Cottage Grove. Then there are the neighborhoods we recognize by name alone, like Fort Grounds, Dalton Gardens - and Sanders Beach.
"I chose this neighborhood 21 years ago," said Cindy Sweeney, an associate broker with Lakeshore Realty, representing real estate in Sanders Beach. "We created a lifestyle, and this is the area for it." Sweeney both lives and works in this quaint neighborhood, with an office located on Lakeshore Drive. She also plays here, paddle boarding in the summer, enjoying the beach, and wandering the tree-lined streets.
Sanders Beach is generally recognized as the area south of Sherman Avenue between 8th and 19th Streets, extending to Lake Coeur d'Alene. It consists of a mix of 100-year-old cottages that have been loved and remodeled, 1950s-era homes, and new houses where the owners have razed the original structure and built their dream home. It also includes the waterfront properties on Lakeshore Drive. A few vacant lots do still exist, and show up on the market occasionally.
"In the 21 years that I've lived in this neighborhood, I've seen a lot of improvement," Sweeney said, "with vintage homes being updated, remodeled and replaced with new homes. We have several condo options and a few duplex units."
One of the main assets of this neighborhood is the location. It lies at the foot of scenic Tubbs Hill, with its beaches and hiking trails. You're walking distance from the shops, cafes and restaurants downtown. Then there are the events on Sherman Avenue, from Car d'Lane and Live at Five to parades and the Christmas lighting ceremony. The facilities of McEuen Park are minutes away. And, of course, there's the lake.
"It's a walking neighborhood," Sweeney said. The maple-lined streets wind past beautiful vintage homes that show a pride of ownership. Jewett House perches on the edge of the beach, and is a popular place for weddings - when it's not being used as a senior center. In the winter, kids sled down the hill at 14th Street and Lost Avenue. And throughout the year, you'll see wildlife such as deer and turkey silently passing through.
The Centennial Trail runs through Sanders Beach, so you can hop on your bike and be, in minutes, at Riverstone, the Kroc Center, or winding your way along the Spokane River or the lake. In June, the streets are filled with spectators as the Ironman triathlon route passes through the neighborhood.
Speaking of downtown events, why not join those hardy souls meeting on Sanders Beach at noon on Jan. 1 for the annual Polar Bear Plunge, an event which draws scores of onlookers who watch their supposedly sane friends and neighbors jump into the icy waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene?
Although they don't have an organized homeowners association, the residents of Sanders Beach take care of each other. There's a neighborhood watch program in effect. In the summer and fall, neighbors share the surplus from their gardens and fruit trees.
The 11th Street Marina has boat slips available for sale from $30,000 to $90,000, said Sweeney. Dock owners have their own association. The marina was overhauled in 2014 and features concrete floating docks, new electrical and plumbing services, a new ramp to the main dock walkway, new dock boxes and power pedestals for slip owners. It has 113 slips and although it's private, has a public pump-out station.
Homes in Sanders Beach range from a cottage that needed a little love at $110,000 to a waterfront home on Lakeshore Drive at $1.3 million. The average price of a home in this neighborhood is $236,000. Twenty-eight houses sold in the last 12 months, from a low of $110,000 (a foreclosure) to a high of $750,000.
"I have such a passion for this area," Sweeney said. "I love everything about it down here."
If you'd like to be a part of this unique, eclectic, picturesque neighborhood, call Cindy Sweeney at (208) 660-8207. And be sure to visit her blog at www.sandersbeachhomes.com.
If you have a neighborhood that you'd like to feature in this series, contact Beth Hanggeli at (208) 659-8367 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cindy Sweeney is an associate broker with Lakeshore Realty, and a resident of Sanders Beach.
This four-bedroom, three-bath home at 924 E. Front Ave. is a prime example of a Sanders Beach home. It’s on a double lot with a large shop, listed at $450,000.
The 11th Street Marina was recently updated, and has slips for sale.