Saturday, June 05, 2010

Two Rivers Development

Developing the banks of the two majestic and historic rivers—the Sacramento and the American— that flow through Sacramento so that access to them and deeper enjoyment of the rivers themselves, is crucial in the long-term development of Sacramento as a destination city for more reasons than the state capital.

This article from the Sacramento Press notes that importance in its focus on the development of the Sacramento River.

An excerpt.

“The Urban Design Alliance's Design Dialogue made two things clear Wednesday night: A consensus is growing, at least among planners, that the time has come to turn the waterfront into a regional destination, but that won't be a quick, easy task for either side of the Sacramento River.

“Attitudes toward the riverfront have begun to change. It's only been in the last 10 to 15 years that the community has begun to see the waterfront as a desirable place to be, said Rachel Hazelwood, a senior planner with the city of Sacramento.

“But a fairly negative image of the rivers still presents one of the biggest challenges to change. While the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers is one of the area's defining features, many long-time Sacramentans still see the waterways and adjacent land as little more than polluted industrial resources and the source of flooding, said panelists and guests.

"We've turned our backs on the rivers in the past," said Beth Tincher, a city senior project manager focusing on waterfront redevelopment projects. "It's time to embrace them."

“Tincher and Hazelwood were among four presenters at the Design Dialogue entitled "On The Riverfront: Exploring Sacramento’s Evolving Riverfront." More than 30 people attended the event at the American Institute of Architects Sacramento chapter office at 1400 S St.

“In the 19th century, rivers were the freeways. The city was built on the Sacramento River during the Gold Rush, leading the waterfront to become the region's economic hub, said William Burg, an author of local history books and vice president of the Sacramento County Historical Society.

“The river's character changed by 1930 due to industry and pollution. Wealthier residents fled east and immigrants took up residence in segregated neighborhoods, he said.

“Those uses have had a strong impact on the riverfront. Development projects and other efforts to more fully utilize the rivers and transform them into a destination for locals and tourists are under way in Sacramento and West Sacramento. The two cities are working under a joint vision outlined in the Sacramento Riverfront Master Plan, last updated in 2005.”