Sutter’s Landing Park is an amazing example of transformation. It has changed from the 28th Street Dump to a place where urban dwellers can experience nature. Our neighbors at Sutter’s Landing Park include several protected species, such as the Swainson’s Hawk, the White-tailed Kite Hawk and the Burrowing Owl. The “Mound” is the kitchen for the wildlife that lives at Sutter’s Landing Park. A sea lion has also taken up resident at Sutter’s Landing Park this year. For Midtown dwellers, Sutter’s Landing Park is our gateway to the American River. For me, the greenbelt around the American River sets Sacramento apart from other California cities. We have managed to designate a 23-mile stretch of land that is not paved over. Extraordinary measures are being taken by the city of Los Angeles to reclaim its river, and Sacramento is lucky enough not to have to go down that path. The federal government and the city of Los Angeles could spend between $444 million and $1.06 billion to reclaim portions of the Los Angeles River. Expanding Sutter’s Landing Park westward will cost considerably less and not require the extraordinary measures the city of Los Angeles is undertaking.
It is unfortunate that a push is underway to pave over sections of Sutter’s Landing Park. To the east, we have McKinley Village – the 328-home project that will take park land, create “A Street” and bring about 1,500 cars per day into the park. Phil Angelides has not addressed any concerns that have been expressed regarding the habitat issues raised by his project. To the west, Caltrans is proposed a 49-acre train maintenance yard that will pave over land that could be incorporated into Sutter’s Landing Park with the right vision and resources. There are other industrial places to put a train maintenance yard. Why must we pave over land right next to the American River? How does that impact the wildlife? The wildlife cannot speak for itself, so we must speak for it. We need to develop a long-term plan for Sutter’s Landing Park that will preserve some land for the natural habitat.
I’m amazed by the amount of people walking, jogging and just enjoying our American River every day. I see many people from River Park, Midtown and East Sacramento using this precious space every day. Sutter’s Landing Park provides a rare opportunity to create a natural green space in the heart of the city with access to our beautiful American River. Now is the time to begin planning, developing and preserving the park for the enjoyment of future generations. Let’s not destroy it. Once it’s gone, it will be extremely difficult and expensive to replace.