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Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the population of the city was estimated at 167,965. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005.
Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga entered the region in 1808, naming the valley "Sacramento Valley" in honor of Sacramento, the Holy Sacrament in Spanish, giving the northerly city of Sacramento of which Elk Grove is a suburb its name. A writer on Moraga's expedition wrote of the region: "Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current. Birds chattered in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths. The air was like champagne, and (the Spaniards) drank deep of it, drank in the beauty around them."
Elk Grove was founded in 1850 as a stage stop for travelers coming from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, when the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop was opened by James Hall and the town was subsequently named after it. In 1868 the Western Division of the Central Pacific Railroad came through about a mile east of Elk Grove. At this new location another hotel was built to accommodate travelers and was also named the Elk Grove Hotel.
In the following decades, Elk Grove remained a small farming community with little urban development. In the late 1980s, suburban development projects began to spring up around the community, specifically in the north near Sacramento. This was meant to serve Sacramento's population as well as San Francisco commuters looking for a community relatively near the San Francisco Bay Area which they could settle in and still commute from. This set off a period of rapid suburban growth which peaked in the years 2004 and 2005 when Elk Grove was declared the fastest growing city in the US.
On July 1, 2000, Elk Grove incorporated as a city. In 2008 Elk Grove suffered heavily from the subprime mortgage crisis due to its suburban nature.
The Elk Grove Unified School District is the fifth largest school district in California and one of the fastest growing school districts in the nation. Located in southern Sacramento County, the district covers 320 square miles (830 km2), one-third of the county. For the 2002-03 school year, the district served more than 52,500 students, and grew to 62,767 students in the 2016-2017 school year. Those students attend 40 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 9 high schools and 7 alternative high schools.
There are also several private schools in town. A local community college, Cosumnes River College, offers both vocational training and a transfer program to four-year universities. Located nearby are California State University, Sacramento and the University of California, Davis, as well as St. Mary's College. Elk Grove is also the home of the private six-year Universalist religious college Quest Seminary. In 2013, California Northstate University College of Pharmacy that offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree program relocated to Elk Grove (near Interstate 5).
The new Elk Grove Public Library is located at 8900 Elk Grove Blvd in a modern two-story building. It moved to this location in 2008 from its old building one block east. The library is part of the broader Sacramento Public Library system. The Elk Grove Library also serves neighboring communities such as Vineyard, Wilton, Sloughhouse, and Rancho Murieta. Additional local libraries supplement neighborhoods, such as the public Franklin High Library.
Elk Grove parks are serviced by the Cosumnes Community Services District.
Elk Grove also hosts a number of recreational and competitive level sports clubs, including:
The City of Elk Grove incorporated on July 1, 2000. It is a general law city with a council/manager form of government. Beginning in 2012, voters elect the mayor directly for a two-year term. Prior to 2012, the mayor's position was a one-year term and was chosen at-large by the city council. The remaining four positions on the city council are elected by districts to four-year terms.
On November 8, 2016, Steve Ly became the second directly elected mayor following Gary Davis, and the first Hmong mayor in the United States. The remaining councilmembers are Darren Suen (District 1), Pat Hume (District 2), Steve Detrick (District 3) and vacant (District 4).
Elk Grove is in California's 7th congressional district, represented by Democrat Ami Bera.
The Elk Grove Police Department provides policing services for the city while the Cosumnes Community Services District runs the fire department.
According to Elk Grove's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Companies based in Elk Grove include ALLDATA, Citizens Telecommunications Company of California, and Frontier Communications of the Southwest.
Elk Grove is serviced by a fared bus system called e-Tran that encompasses many of the city's main thoroughfares.
Elk Grove is a sister city of Concepción de Ataco in El Salvador.
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