When Tracy and John Bongiorno looked at a home backing to the Fremd High School football field, they loved the lively, festive atmosphere of the band practicing outside.
The couple had looked to move from their Palatine townhouse into a single-family residence, and the award-winning school played in their decision to purchase the home in the Hunting Ridge subdivision.
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Listing sheetPrice range: $315,000 to $610,000
Age of homes: About 40 years
Schools: Hunting Ridge Elementary and Plum Grove Junior High schools in Palatine Township Elementary District 15 and Fremd High School in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211
Parks: Palatine Park District
Eleven years later, they still love the excitement of football games being played almost in their backyard.
"With a baby, we were looking toward the future in terms of schools," Tracy Bongiorno said. "The subdivision has its own blue-ribbon grammar school literally around the corner, and having such great schools was a big draw."
Buyers often seek out the neighborhood because of its excellent schools within walking distance, which are a source of tremendous pride for residents, said Wendy Cox, broker associate with Keller Williams Team Realty.
Hunting Ridge is a family-oriented neighborhood with loads of kids, several neighborhood parks and walking trails, along with a location close to shopping and restaurants, highways, downtown Palatine and Metra. It's also close to Harper College, which is a great advantage for residents.
Situated north of Euclid Avenue and west of Quentin Road, Hunting Ridge features a variety of homes including ranches, split-levels and two-story Colonials with an average of 2,805 square feet and sitting on quarter-acre lots, Cox said. "With this variety, there's something for everyone."
Cox is marketing a home on South Mallard Drive priced at $585,000 with six bedrooms, 3½ baths, an updated kitchen with granite countertops and hickory cabinetry and full finished basement. The home offers a suitable in-law arrangement.
"The houses are great, pretty large for the money, and a good value for us at the time," Bongiorno said. "Our house was built in the early '70s, but still was relatively modern. We weren't buying a relic.
"We have a huge backyard, and most homes have nice yards where you're not staring into each others' homes. Streets aren't in a grid, but winding, so it's nice to walk through the neighborhood. And we like having sidewalks so our daughter can walk to school."
Cox said many homes have been updated.
"The neighborhood is charming and well cared for and (it) shows a lot of pride in homeownership," she said.
The neighborhood has an active homeowners association that creates a nice hometown feel by getting people out and socializing, said Bongiorno, treasurer of the association. "It's all about getting to know your neighbors down the street."
The group welcomes new residents with a cocktail party, hosts an Easter egg hunt, annual garage sale and party in the park -- a big annual community picnic.
Haunting Ridge is a big hit for Halloween when residents are encouraged to decorate their homes for the season and take part in the pet costume contest. For the holidays, residents light up their homes, and a horse-drawn carriage gives people a ride in the snow to look at the decorated homes and all the beautiful lights.
For a $15 fee, the association also takes care of the entryway and publishes The Ridge Review newsletter as well as a membership directory with a list of vendors, such as electricians and grass cutters, referred by members of the association.