Council approves plans for $42-million revamp of Old Sacramento Waterfront
Members of the Sacramento City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to revamp the Old Sacramento Waterfront and dedicate an estimated $42 million in hotel taxes to the effort.
Money for the waterfront makeover will come from hotel taxes freed up from the remodeling of the Convention Center and Community Center Theater project after hoteliers agreed to finance one of the project’s planned ballrooms.
“There’s only one word from me—it’s wow. The work product here. You brought forward something fabulous,” Mayor Steinberg said to city staff members who worked on the plan.
Planned new attractions include a waterfront park with a lawn for festivals and concerts, an interactive fountain and “Calliope,” a playground experience for children and adults. The Sacramento History Museum would be topped with a roof deck that could host events.
A nearly vacant public market building erected in the 1990s that blocks Old Sacramento from views of the water would be torn down and replaced with a two-story “Front Street Landing” with a colonnade that would be open to the river on the bottom and have food and drink venues on the second floor.
A floating terrace in the river could host additional entertainment options, possibly including a floating pool.
Scores of business and community members spoke in support of the plan before the vote. State parks officials said they would continue to work on plans to develop their land in the district, including a “beach” area next to the California State Waterfront Museum.
“We have to make a big, bold investment to change the way Old Sacramento is activated,” said Michael Ault, executive director of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.
Developer Kipp Blewett said if the plan moves forward, he and his partners will consider investing in Old Sacramento. “To call ourselves a River City, we need a riverfront destination,” he said.
The first member of the public to testify in support of the plan was West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who said his city is “absolutely committed,” to partnering on developing the cities’ mutual waterfront.
“An inclusive economy includes inclusive recreation and an inclusive connection to nature,” he said.
A study by consulting firm Keyser Marston Associates commissioned by the city estimated that tax revenues from Old Sacramento could jump from $700,000 to $4.2 million annually if the proposed improvements are made and the city also succeeds in attracting private development to nearby vacant parcels.
“Successful historic districts are successful because they attract people by the millions,” said Waterfront Manager Richard Rich.
Pictures from the press conference and Gather: Waterfront community event on April 25, 2019