Photo by Brandon Alms. The Russo family loves spending time in their backyard, which they expanded a couple of years ago.
Buzzing with Energy: Phelps Grove
The Phelps Grove neighborhood, located in Central Springfield, is always alive and buzzing with energy. Nick Russo, who has lived in the same house there for 25 years, says this is one of his favorite things about it.
“Especially when spring comes around, you’ll see a large population outside running, walking, bicycling, skateboarding,” Nick says. “There’s life out there. I like that characteristic. I like that I can always see people moving outside of my house.”
Nick’s wife, Jenny, has shared the Phelps Grove home with him for the past 19 years. “Nick lived here for several years before we even got married,” Jenny says. The two had their three sons while living in the home, which is located one block west of Phelps Grove Park.
“Being that close to the park has always been great, especially as the boys were growing up,” Jenny says. And Nick agrees with her. “I have always utilized that park as a very large backyard for me,” he says.
And even though the boys are older now—Joseph is 18, Austin is 14 and Michael is 12—the family still regularly takes advantage of their prime location. “The boys don’t play at the playground anymore, but they use the track for speed work,” Jenny says.
As an avid runner herself, Jenny also regularly runs throughout the neighborhood and at the park, often with a group of neighbors. On some weekends, Nick takes a jog to St. Michael’s, the restaurant he and Jenny own. And the boys join in on the fun sometimes, too. “Nick and I and our two older sons did a relay marathon in the park last winter,” Jenny says.
Aside from the great location, the neighborhood is home to a variety of styles of homes, as well as a nice mix of young and old residents.
“There are some younger people moving into the neighborhood, and that’s rejuvenating,” Nick says. And Nick also loves the friendliness of the people, and the fact that he has a huge backyard where he can enjoy morning coffee or relax with his family in the evenings.
He likes it so much, in fact, that he may never leave. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else,” he says.
PHELPS GROVE STATISTICS
Number of homes 1,028
Median home list price $139,500
Average days on the market 65
Schools Sunshine Elementary School, Jarrett Middle School, Parkview High School
Photo by Kevin O’Riley. The Flinn family loves the plethora of outdoor fun available in Villages at Wicklow.
Nixa's Urban Escape: Villages at Wicklow
With bright blooming flowers, lush green lawns and beautiful French Country-style homes lining the streets, Nixa’s Villages at Wicklow neighborhood looks like it belongs on the set of a movie. Many of the kids here play at one another’s homes, and they even march alongside each other in an annual Fourth of July parade. “The No. 1 thing we like about Wicklow is the sense of community in the neighborhood,” says Nici Flinn, who lives there with her husband, Jared, and their three children. “It’s very family-friendly, and most families here spend the majority of their time outside as soon as the weather is anywhere near decent.”
A summer kick-off party happens every Memorial Day at the neighborhood pool, and a Fourth of July Parade and Potluck gives residents a chance to mingle in mid-summer. “The kids decorate their bikes or scooters for the parade,” Nici says. “Several of the neighbors have golf carts, and they’ll decorate them in it, too.” The parade ends at the pool, where residents swim and enjoy one another’s company. “The neighborhood association has an ice cream truck come,” Nici says.
Outdoor fun continues at the neighborhood’s stocked ponds, where residents are welcome to catch their own fish. They also enjoy walking trails that cut through the woods and seeing farm animals that live down the road. “You are still in town, but you get a feeling that you’re removed from it all,” Nici says. “There is a lot of nature around you here. It’s easy living.”
VILLAGES AT WICKLOW STATISTICS
Median home list price $334,900
Average days on the market 118
Schools High Point Elementary School, Summit Middle School, Nixa High School
Great for Golf Course Living: Rivercut
Snow days are an extra-special occasion for a group of kids in southwest Springfield’s Rivercut. “A lot of times when school is canceled, a group of us will meet up on the hill together to go sledding,” Sarah Moses says.
Sarah and her husband Jim have three daughters, 15-year-old twins Gabrielle and Madalyn and 11-year-old Casaundra (all pictured). “My kids always say that the snow day parties are one of their favorite things about our neighborhood,” Sarah says. “After sledding, they’ll usually all gather at a house for hot chocolate and games. Sometimes we’ll even do a potluck-type dinner at the end of the day.”
From those cold winter days when the golf course community is blanketed in snow to the sunny summer afternoons when the trees are full and green, the neighborhood is absolutely beautiful. This is in large part due to the gorgeous homes, which range in style from Old World to French Tudor. It’s also thanks to its slightly-out-of-town location in southwest Springfield, which reflects a bit more of a rural feel than most Springfield neighborhoods.
“We have the James River and trails close by and, of course, the golf course,” Sarah says. “Also, I feel that being a bit rural gives us a bit more privacy.”
This privacy, along with the general friendliness and safe feel of the community, is one of the neighborhood’s best features. It also boasts a great list of amenities, among them a great neighborhood pool and access to The Riverhouse, Rivercut’s exquisite clubhouse and recreation center. “It’s just a very warm, welcoming Midwestern neighborhood,” Sarah says.
Number of homes 374
Median home list price $434,900
Average days on the market 70
Schools: McBride Elementary School, Wilson’s Creek Intermediate School, Cherokee Middle School, Kickapoo High School
Photo courtesy Jane Cage. A group of North Town residents enjoying the neighborhood’s Flag Raising Ceremony in 1964. The annual event is one of the community’s most-treasured celebrations.
Steeped in History: North Town
Unlike many neighborhoods, the homes in Joplin’s North Town neighborhood don’t have a consistent look and feel. Jane Cage, who has lived in two different homes in the area (also known as Roanoke) since 1993, says this is one of her favorite things about it. “I live in a cottage-style house,” Jane says. “There’s a colonial-style home across from me, and a Spanish home next door to me. There’s also a tudor home down the street. I think people like that it’s not a cookie-cutter neighborhood where every house has the same look and feel.” And Jane’s street, Jaccard, also has a distinguishing feature: she lives on a block with vintage street lights.
Adding to the neighborhood’s variation, the residents include both older and younger families. They all mingle at a handful of social events, including a Fourth of July flag raising celebration that’s been happening for more than 50 years. “The event takes place in a small park in the neighborhood,” Jane says. The fun-filled occasion includes a parade, the raising of the flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, listening to a guest speaker and even crowning a little lady as Ms. Liberty. “It’s a neighborhood event, and it has become a family event,” Jane says. “Many former residents come back every year.”
Halloween is also a good time in North Town. “I’d estimate that on my street alone we have well over 1,000 trick-or-treaters,” she says. “It’s convenient because our houses are close together. We have a reputation for giving out good candy, dressing up and decorating our houses.”
And the rest of the year, families make small talk when they see each other out. “I describe it as a Leave it to Beaver neighborhood,” Jane says. “There’s a nice feel here. We look out for one another.”
NORTH TOWN STATISTICS
Median home list price $166,230
Average days on the market 79
Schools Columbia Elementary School, North Middle School, Joplin High School
Photo by Brandon Alms. The Broekhovens love the distinctive architecture found in Southern Hills, and they were particularly drawn to their home’s California contemporary style.
Architectural Wonderland: Southern Hills
Jeff and Natalie Broekhoven are more than familiar with the giant hills and curvy streets that weave throughout Southern Hills in east Springfield. “This is actually our third house in Southern Hills,” Jeff says. “We love the neighborhood a lot.”
Each with backgrounds in architecture, the Broekhovens were initially attracted to the range of ’60s- and ’70s-style ranch homes that line the streets in this quaint area, as well as the range of people who live there. Even more specifically, they were drawn to their most recent home for its rare mid-century modern style. “There are about a dozen of these style homes in Southern Hills,” Jeff says. “Our home is a California contemporary. They’re rare in Springfield.”
In addition to their sprawling ranch home that’s perfect for their family—which includes two kids and one on the way—Jeff and Natalie love the neighborhood for its location. “The trailhead to the Galloway Creek Greenway trail is a block and a half from our door,” Natalie says. “It goes all the way through to Sequiota Park, and eventually to the Springfield Nature Center.” There are also three lakes in the neighborhood, which create an abundance of wildlife in the middle of town. “Our backyard dead-ends at one of the lakes,” Jeff says. “We have a fox that lives on our property.”
The Broekhovens are friends with other families in the area, many of whom are involved in neighborhood activities like walking and biking clubs. “Last summer, I started a girls’ science club with a group of moms because we all had daughters around the same age,” Natalie says. “A lot of people assume there aren’t many kids here, but there are a ton of children.” And the future of Southern Hills is looking bright “We are planning on lots of neighborhood barbecues and parties as the weather gets nicer,” Jeff says.
SOUTHERN HILLS STATISTICS
Number of homes 430
Median home list price $179,900
Average days on the market 68
Schools: Pershing and Wilder Elementary Schools, Pershing Middle School, Glendale High School
Photo by Brandon Alms. Dwayne Holden and Beth Yarbrough’s home is one of many Highland Springs homes with a spectacular view.
Three Neighborhoods with a View
Looking to buy or build? These three 417-land neighborhoods offer million-dollar views along with their gorgeous homes.
1. Highland Springs
Perfectly manicured lawns, jaw-dropping custom homes and rolling green hills make up the beautiful golf course community of Highland Springs. This neighborhood has a prime location in east Springfield and is just minutes from Highway 60, but the oversized lots and sprawling golf course make it feel many miles from anywhere. From the clubhouse and the pool to the homes’ many decks, patios and outdoor areas, residents of Highland Springs are never without an amazing view.
Tucked away just minutes north of Branson, this master-planned community is among the most picturesque spots in all of 417-land. Residents regularly enjoy breathtaking views of the rolling Ozark mountains and Bull Creek. If you live here, you’ll likely spot wildlife in the surrounding woodlands. The neighborhood is also near additional creeks and the Mark Twain National Forest, making it great for nature-lovers.
3. Emerald Pointe
What could be better than looking out to a lake every morning as you sip your cup of coffee? Many of the residents in Emerald Pointe, a Hollister neighborhood known to be a hotspot on Table Rock Lake, can enjoy just that. As if a view of the water isn’t picturesque enough, the beautiful neighborhood is situated on more than 600 acres of wooded property. Residents also enjoy marina and dry-dock storage and golf courses, among many other amenities.