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Revamping Old Sacramento

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Wednesday evening, the Department of Parks and Recreation presented plans to expand Old Sacramento’s excursion train and further explore the underground ruins to provide visitors a more exciting learning experience of the Gold Rush, commerce and river transportation. The preliminary general plan for Old Sacramento State Historic Park would span 20 years.

The project is currently set to develop the Front Street area between J and I streets.

Capital District Superintendent of Capital District State Museums and Historic Parks Catherine Taylor explained that the project will educate visitors on the Gold Rush era. The underground ruins will feature active archaeological digs and exhibits and the above street level will showcase the reconstructed buildings of the 1860s and 1870s.

The plan also includes waterfront development, in which the existing sunken ship will be lit up for viewing. Taylor said they would also like to bring in a 19th- or 20th-century ship that can be docked in the area and/or have a water taxi for tours. She said that each of these exhibits would be a great way to allow people to reconnect with the river.

Taylor said they want to expand the excursion train operation to the Hood neighborhood.

Upon completion, there would be two train rides. The first would run from Old Sacramento to the Sacramento Zoo, stopping at the Crocker Art Museum, Miller Park and the town of Baths. The second would begin in the Pocket/Meadowview area and extend into Hood and would include a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta trip with dinner or brunch or other themed excursion rides.

Several Planning Commission members applauded the presentation, including Anna Molander, who said, “It is a fantastic vision and I can’t wait to see it implemented.”

Taylor and Allen Folks, AECOM planning consultant for the project, said they want to finalize the plan by spring of 2012.

The general plan has been in the works since the summer of 2010.

Taylor and Folks told the Planning Commission that they have worked hard to incorporate the voices and opinions of the local community, especially those directly affected by the potential changes to the area.

Since last October, three public workshops were held to gather input.

Folks said that during those workshops, the public expressed support for the Gold Rush, transportation and commerce themes, but were also concerned about the physical adjustments being done to the area.

The plan will therefore address issues such as bike trail improvements and minimal use of trains through the Land Park and South Land Park neighborhoods, he said.

The preliminary plan will now go through public review once more before being submitted for approval by City Council.

For more information on the project, click here.

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