Thursday, September 08, 2011

Take Me to the River

It is very nice to see our neighboring city reaching out to embrace the river connecting us, as reported in this article from the Sacramento Bee.

An excerpt.

“The old freeway that once cut West Sacramento in half has been ripped out and trucked off. A rail line that blocked river access has been scraped away and replaced by a recreation trail. Manufacturing businesses have been sent packing and warehouses torn down, replaced by new roads and park sites.

“After several years of frenetic, landscape-altering work, West Sacramento officials this summer finally have an uncluttered view of their waterfront vision:

“The once-dusty little west-bank city is on the cusp of creating the downtown it's never had.

“Even the riverfront area's name has changed. For years it was known as the Triangle area, but now the 188-acre wedge at the foot of the Tower Bridge is officially called the Bridge District.

“The city and a core group of landowners envision thousands of people living and working here in mid-rise town houses and office buildings with views through cottonwood trees of the Sacramento River and Sacramento city skyline.

“A streetcar on rails would run through the area, delivering fans to Raley Field baseball games and concerts, and ferrying residents across Tower Bridge to the downtown train depot, light rail and state offices.

“So far, the city has spent tens of millions of redevelopment dollars for prep work in the district, and district property owners have kicked in millions more in self-imposed fees. City development officials say they hope, fingers crossed, some residences and offices could be built next spring. The very thought has generated a giddiness.

"I almost see this as a utopian project," said developer Mark Friedman, who owns nearly 40 acres in the 188-acre site. "This is one of those rare places where we can reclaim the river."

“The path hasn't been easy, though. And recent events suggest it might soon get tougher.

“Even as crews put the finishing touches on new roads and intersections around Raley Field, the area's future remains uncertain. The weak economy, state budget woes and a dramatic fight over redevelopment funds have sent some of the district's would-be developers to the bench, where they fidget and wait for a better moment to break ground.”