Sidewalks, alleys, parks and trails throughout the city will become cleaner, greener and more beautiful with a $16 million boost from new Clean California grants announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom this week.
The five approved projects chosen for the Caltrans grants include alley cleanup and beautification in North Sacramento’s Dixieanne neighborhood; art installations and new public spaces along Florin Road; funding for public art along the planned Del Rio Trail; improvements to the Robert Matsui Park along the Sacramento River; and new sidewalks, shade trees and other amenities that will make it easier and safer to walk for students at Ethel Phillips Elementary School.
“We didn’t expect that they would all be funded, but they were all great projects and we didn’t know exactly what Caltrans might be looking for, so we decided to submit them all,” said Lucinda Wilcox, program manager in the City’s Department of Public Works. “This was a lot of work by numerous City staff and our community partners, so we are elated to get five out of the six, more than any other city.”
Mayor Darrell Steinberg said he was pleased to see money going to some of the Sacramento neighborhoods that need investment the most. “I want to thank the Transportation Secretary Toks Omikashin for working with us to make sure that projects in our most under-resourced neighborhoods would qualify for funding. I’m proud of our City staff for putting together a list that will deliver tangible benefits for Sacramento residents.”
One of the largest awards, $4.86 million, will go to the Dixieanne Clean & Green Alleys project in North Sacramento. More than 3,000 linear feet of unpaved alleys that are now strewn with illegal dumping and abandoned vehicles will be cleared, paved and lined with trees.
To the south, a $1.76 million grant will be used to widen the sidewalks and plant trees and other vegetation along 21st Avenue from the Highway 99 to Ethel Phillips Elementary School. The project also includes artistic bus shelters, waste containers, lighting and cultural murals by local artists on buildings along the route.
Another $1.22 million would be used to clean up Florin Road between Tamoshanter Way and Franklin Boulevard and create new public spaces showcasing the culture and diversity of the Meadowview community. They will include art installations such as banners, murals, interactive structures, landscaping, public seating and signage for Sojourner Truth American Heritage Museum.
“We are thrilled to receive the Clean California grant funding to improve and beautify the Florin Road corridor through South Sacramento,” said Councilmember Mai Vang, who represents Meadowview. “In partnership with community partners, local artists, and our Meadowview residents, we have the opportunity to make a difference and uplift our community. This investment – in one of Sacramento’s most under-invested areas – will make a huge impact on the nonprofits, minority-owned small businesses, and residents that make Florin Road an incredibly vibrant and diverse community.”
The largest award, $5 million, will be used to install a water retention swale, do landscaping, clean debris, and fund up to 10 public art installations along the planned Del Rio trail, which will occupy a five-mile-long, abandoned railway corridor running through south Sacramento from Sutterville Road to Pocket Road. Construction on the trail is expected to begin this year.
Councilmember Jay Schenirer, who worked for years to make Del Rio Trail a reality, cited its many potential benefits for residents’ health and the environment. “Kids can use it to ride to school, adults can leave their cars at home and use it to ride to work, and everyone can use it for recreational bike riding, walking and running.”
The final award — $3.2 million — will go to improve Robert T. Matsui Park just south of the new SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity and to help fund a planned cherry blossom park — called a Hanami Line — along the Sacramento River.
The Sacramento Tree Foundation is leading that project and says it will break ground this fall on an iconic park that brings together nature, art, and culture. The Foundation will announce a public capital campaign in April, where they will share more information. Visit sactree.org for updates.
“I’m really grateful for this opportunity to get started on the Hanami line at Matsui Park,” said Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, “We’ve been trying to get funding for this project for years so it’s exciting to see it moving forward courtesy of the Clean California grant. I’d also like to thank the Sacramento Tree Foundation for all their hard work on this exciting project. I can’t wait to see how beautiful this grove will be once it’s finished.”