Looking for a good reason to settle down in Kankakee County? The people who live here can give you a hundred. “I’m in love with this place. It’s everything we wanted it to be and more‚” says Susan Crisp‚ who moved to Kankakee County from Chattanooga‚ Tenn. in February 2007 to become the director of Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See in Manteno. Her husband‚ Jason Robertson‚ and four-year-old son‚ Gabriel‚ came with her. “We had opportunities to move to other areas‚ but this area had better schools for my son‚ and we like the climate‚” Crisp says.
“There are lots of opportunities in the realm of outdoor recreation‚ and we like horseback riding and getting out on the water. Plus‚ small-town culture still exists here with close proximity to Chicago.” Camp Shaw-Waw-Nas-See also helped lure Crisp and her family to Kankakee County. The camp has been providing fun-packed opportunities for YMCA‚ 4-H‚ Scouts and other groups for more than 60 years and offers more than 140 different recreational activities. “This camp is the best kept secret in Kankakee County. It’s absolutely beautiful‚” Crisp says. “We’re opening the swimming pool to the public this summer‚ and we’re also bringing horseback riding to the area.” Lisa Sanford‚ an award-winning Kankakee County real estate pro fessional‚ has lived in the area for 24 years. She helps relocate professionals and their families to Kankakee County and has achieved more than $10 million in sales annually since 1996. “Professionals are attracted here for a number of reasons – mainly the way of life we have in Kankakee County‚” Sanford says. “People are attracted to the number of parks we have as well as the Kankakee River and the recreation it provides. The schools‚ including education at the college and university level‚ are also a great asset.”
The housing market is another incentive because it offers a wide variety of choices and price ranges. Historic homes‚ 1950s ranch-style homes and new construction are only the beginning. “From condominium living to acre age‚ buyers can fulfill their housing dreams‚” Sanford says. Sanford lives in the historic district on the Kankakee River with her husband‚ Walter. They married in 1999‚ and he moved to Kankakee from Long Beach‚ Calif. “We are both self-employed and can live anywhere‚ but we choose to live in this community. We enjoy raising our family here. The people are friendly‚” Sanford says.
“There’s always something to do with the family – boating on the river‚ walking in the state park‚ riding our bikes to Dairy Queen‚ reading at the library‚ and going out to all the local restaurants‚ to name a few. We also love being close to so many areas to take day trips‚ like taking the train to Chicago or going to the University of Illinois. Coming from Long Beach‚ one of my husband’s joys is parking in the front row to go to the movies.” The Sanfords aren’t the only ones who love Kankakee County’s quality of life. While many parts of the country have experienced declining residential sales‚ Kankakee County experienced an increase in both the number of homes sold and the average price of homes sold in 2005 and 2006.
“It’s very rewarding to work with people relocating to our area because of the great experiences they receive within a very short time of living here‚” Sanford says. “A customer transferring away from our community recently said‚ ‘I love my neighborhood and house so much‚ I wish I could take them with me.’”