By Steve Marschke
There’s been a city master plan in place for the “Bridge District” for over 20 years. But with the exception of Raley Field and the Ironworks subdivision, most of the work in the planned 188-acre riverfront district has thus far been at soil level – or below.
That’s changing. The district’s major developer, Fulcrum Properties, is gearing up, and last week’s saw an official groundbreaking of an affordable housing project in the district. This may be the decade in which the Bridge District really grows up.
Officials from the nonprofit BRIDGE Housing organization joined West Sacramento officials and others to celebrate the groundbreaking of “The Rivermark” on Friday. The complex will offer 70 units of housing at 959 Bridge Street, near 5th Street. That’s a spot near the river, between Raley Field and the U.S. 50 Pioneer Bridge.
Cynthia Parker, president and C.E.O. of BRIDGE Housing, promised that the new residents it brings will be “active members of the community. . . engaged with the rest of the city.”
The project is designed to offer rents that are affordable to people up to the 35 percent level of median income in the area.
“If you’re a single mom making $29,000, and you have two kids, living here would make a difference,” said Parker. She added that by saving money on rent, the same mom could help stimulate the local economy:
“A mother who has a disposable income can shop at the store, and can make a difference in her kids’ lives. Without that, it’s just struggling.”
Mayor Christopher Cabaldon told the assembled crowd at the groundbreaking that The Rivermark offers a valuable part of the planned “diversity” of the future Bridge District. The master plan also allows for market-rate housing, offices, restaurants and parks.
The project will offer a place for people such as a coffee-shop barrista or a preschool teacher to call home, said the mayor. Or a ballplayer:
“It’s no accident we’ve located this in the Bridge District,” said Cabaldon. “Many of the minor league players who play on the River Cats will live here during the season. They’re not making four or five million dollars.”
Rents for The Rivermark will range from $370 to $925 depending on income, household size and apartment size (according to Bridge Housing, which can be visited at www.bridgehousing.com).
The mayor and Eugene Lee of the California Housing and Community Development both gave credit to the state’s taxpayers for helping to prep the old industrial area for its coming reuse. Those Bridge District challenges have included getting rid of rid of old rail spurs and replacing old infrastructure. City officials used to call the district the “Triangle,” because it was bordered by the river to the east, the U.S. 50 freeway to the south, and the Tower Bridge approach to the northwest.
The Rivermark is about 20 months away from a grand opening, said Parker.
Behind her, earth moving machines were already underway. Despite an official ceremony on Friday involving local officials with shiny gold shovels, the ground had most definitely already been broken.
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