Northern Hills/Valencia neighborhood leaders look to increase involvement through voluntary HOA

Valencia has just 75 households out of the estimated 700 participating in its voluntary homeowners association

SAN ANTONIO – Danette Wagnon said it’s hard to see the community clubhouse on El Sendero empty.

“We’re trying to just bring the community together,” Wagnon, who serves as the Valencia Homeowners Association president, said.

She said the clubhouse “has a lot of potential. We just want it active more often.”

The clubhouse belongs to the Valencia Homeowners Association. It has a large outdoor courtyard, a full-service kitchen, two meeting spaces, and tennis and pickleball courts. But Wagnon said on most days, no one uses the space.

“We try and host events for the neighborhood,” Wagnon said. “I want to see this place filled every day with kids playing and families meeting.”

Even with new families moving into the Valencia and Northern Hills neighborhoods on the city’s Northeast Side, neighborhood association leaders, like Wagnon, said in both communities, participation is low in their voluntary HOAs.

“We’re trying to get the word out that we are active in what we do because it is voluntary,” Wagnon said. “I feel like even the new families, even though we drop off welcome packets, people are just so busy nowadays and they forget.”

Wagnon said roughly 75 families belong in Valencia’s HOA and more than 700 homes exist in the neighborhood. Neighbors can join Valencia’s HOA for $75 a year and Northern Hills’ HOA for $50 a year.

But residents, like Christian Gonzalez, say they’ve turned down the opportunity to participate in these associations because of a lack of amenities.

“It was offered, and we get the newsletter, but we really don’t keep up with it as much,” Gonzalez said. “They didn’t necessarily seem to offer a great deal.”

Gonzalez lives in Northern Hills. He takes his family to play at the Northern Hills Elementary School playground, but he said there isn’t much else to do with his children as far as amenities go in the neighborhood.

Northern Hills once had a swimming pool for the community, but with damage and a lack of funds to repair it, the HOA drained it dry. Resident Jennifer Lawler said that was hard to learn after she moved in.

“When we looked at the amenities that the neighborhood had it did list a pool,” Lawler said. “I think if the swimming pool was open, I think that would be a huge draw to younger families.”

A community swimming pool in Northern Hills is now closed. (Copyright 2024 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Valencia also once had a swimming pool behind its clubhouse, but Wagnon said it was filled in years ago because of high costs.

“It costs a lot to maintain the pool,” Wagnon said.

She said her HOA has had to get creative to draw in community members to participate. A few years ago, the HOA added pickleball courts to the tennis portion of the clubhouse. Wagnon said HOA board members regularly plan events, like meeting Santa Claus during the holidays and wine tastings for adults.

“We’re trying to get the word out,” Wagnon said. “We’re just trying to bring (people) together and make a closer community.”

Wagnon said she wants to start block walking in the neighborhood to meet new people and recruit more to participate in the association. She said she’s hoping to find more new and younger families.

“A lot of our board members are older and they’re ready to retire, and they want to see, you know, that the neighborhood continues on,” Wagnon said.

Read next:

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Recommended Videos