FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 23, 2013 –
By Steve Marschke
West Sacramento city staff have begun plans to upgrade and rehabilitate a couple of the town’s connections with the Sacramento River. At a September 9 public meeting, about a dozen members of the public showed up to listen to staff’s ideas, and share their own, about the Raley’s dock and the Rice Mill Pier.
The “Raley’s Landing” dock was dismantled by the city almost two years ago after deteriorating into a navigational hazard. Accessed by a ramp behind the ziggurat building, north of the Tower Bridge, the dock was formerly a home for the paddleboat “Elizabeth Louise” and later as a stop for the “River Otter Taxi Service.” It was originally built as a private dock for the Raley’s corporation, founded by the late Tom Raley.
The City of West Sacramento now has a lease from the State Lands Commission for use of the dock and gangway.
Tentative plans call for the dock to be rebuilt to modern, disability-compliant standards, and provide a lighted spot for public boats to dock temporarily. Construction would use existing pilings and new concrete floats. With a 430-foot overall length, the new dock would include a berthing dock (downstream) that is 60 feet long and 25 feet wide, and an upriver stretch that’s 370 feet long and eight feet wide.
Further downriver is the site of the existing – but closed and fenced-off – “Rice Mill Pier,” which juts onto the Sacramento River in West Sacramento’s Bridge District. According to a city staff report, a rice storage and milling facility was built at this waterfront (not far north of the U.S. 50 freeway bridge) in 1918. A later owner, the Rice Growers Association, obtained permission for “wharfage” in 1982. The site is now owned by Smart Growth Investors II, LLC, led by Mark Friedman. That company is spearheading development of the mixed-use “Bridge District,” located between the Tower Bridge and freeway on West Sacramento’s waterfront.
The 30-year “wharfage” lease expired in 2012, and the City of West Sacramento is now applying for a new pier lease.
City officials are drawing up plans to “rehabilitate the existing pier for public access” and repair the pier’s substructure. The new pier would offer pedestrians hand rails and lighting as they view the water from above.
Planners hope to obtain grant money from the state’s Department of Boating and Waterways to pursue the pier and dock projects over the next several years.
Last month’s public presentation at city hall was co-hosted by John Sneed of the Public Works Department.
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