Trees are the real secret in land of Whispering Oaks
By Clayton Stromberger
SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN Sunday, September 30, 2007
Naming a brand-new subdivision is a condensed form of haiku, sometimes practiced by folks who might be better off hiring a poet for the task. Otherwise, we end up with clunkers like this gem from the Denver area – SkyRidge at RidgeGate – which have inspired at least one annoyed wag to create an online random subdivision name generator, a tool that mixes bucolic words in absurd combinations such as “Cedar Bridge Estates” or “Walnut Circle Acres.”
With this in mind, one might assume that Whispering Oaks, the moniker of a 1970s-era subdivision in far South Austin, is another example of over-reaching. But here’s the shocker: There are actually plenty of oaks lining the streets in this area, located just southwest of William Cannon Drive and Manchaca Road. And not only do these oaks whisper, or – let’s not go overboard here – rustle in the breeze on occasion, but they also provide deep shade for residents and a wonderful habitat for all sorts of wild critters, including great horned and screech owls.
“Somebody had an idea back then, like I wish they would today, to work around the trees and incorporate them into the neighborhood,” says resident Matt Comer. “There’s so much shade, you can do things outside even when it’s hot.”
Comer is about as good an advertisement for Whispering Oaks as a neighborhood could ask for. He grew up there on Redleaf Lane from the age of 3 on, then as an adult bought the family home in 1998 when his parents were ready to move to the Hill Country.
His grandmother, Freda Comer, has lived down the street since the 1970s, and still enjoys walking over to Westgate Lanes for her Thursday bowling league and cooking the okra she grows in her backyard garden.
The whispering oaks can be a challenge, with ball moss removal, the danger of oak wilt and the challenge of all those leaves to rake – “but everyone agrees it’s worth it”, Matt Comer says.
About Whispering Oaks
Location: Bordered by West Gate Boulevard, William Cannon Drive, Manassas Drive and Manchaca Road in South Austin.
Schools: Cunningham Elementary, Covington Middle School, Crockett High School.
Amenities: Besides the trees, there is plenty of shopping. Sunset Valley is just northwest of the neighborhood. Stephenson Nature Preserve and Garrison District Park are also nearby.
The market: In July, sales of single-family homes in the real estate zone that includes Whispering Oaks were down about 2 percent from a year ago. The median price was $165,000, up about 25 percent from a year ago. On average, it took 18 days to sell a home there.
I live in Austin the capital of Texas and the self proclaimed “Music Capital of the World” with my lovely wife Jenny and our two beautiful children: our son Garrett, and our daughter Grace. I live in Austin the capital of Texas and the self proclaimed “Music Capital of the World” with my lovely wife Jenny and our two beautiful children: our son Garrett, and our daughter Grace. We enjoy being together as a family and with other family in the area. We like to try new food and go to our favorite restaurants. We enjoy travel and try to go to an exciting new place every year, as well as visiting existing favorite locations. I also enjoy pursuing passions such as photography. My wife and I love music and listen to Austin musicians and touring bands as much as we are able to now with the little ones. Volunteer work for SXSW and Old Settlers Music Festival. I operate a consulting business, doing freelance business as Matthew Comer and syphonsoft Web Hosting. I have several projects and long-term clients. I perform consulting to the State of Texas as a Catalog Information Systems Vendor (CISV) and can be found on the Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL) Vendor ID: 1205325509200. I am a business man and aspiring entrepreneur at heart. I operate several small businesses, Freeman Properties Property Management Company as well as other businesses listed on this site. I am currently employed as a contractor with Titan Solutions providing consulting for IBM. I work on a great team in the PartnerWorld Business Partner portal as a part of the IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) with the IBM Global Channel Enablement (CE) division. I started my seventh consecutive year-long contract in December of 2010. I am doing some amazing work on this team. I had built a system in which editors on the team can create and maintain HTML pages using an XML/XSL integrated WebSphere system. This allows the users to create pages much more easily. I enjoy the work, this is the best work of my career. This system is being sunset and we are migrating our systems to various internal CMS systems. I have taken on a new role of Content Manager for my growing team of India resources. I assign tasks and manage schedules on a daily basis. I am not looking for further employment at this point, but I am always open to hearing about other opportunities. If you are an employer or headhunter and know of a great working remotely employment opportunity that may be a really good fit that closely matches my skill-set, then please view my résumé. However, know that I am not actively looking for new employment, nor would I likely accept other employment at this time. If you are interested in hiring me as an independent consultant, contractor, web developer/designer to develop your website; or to redevelop and rethink your website, as my specialty is redeveloping and maintaining existing sites, then please contact me. Read more from this author