Curtis Park Village
(from the City of Sacramento Web page)
Curtis Park Village is a mixed-use in-fill development consisting of neighborhood serving retail, neighborhood serving commercial, multi-family housing, affordable senior housing apartments, and single-family residential units on an in-fill site in Sacramento. The project is surrounded by the established neighborhoods of Curtis Park to the north and east, Western Pacific Addition and Hollywood Park to the south, and the Land Park neighborhood and Sacramento City College to the west. The project site once housed the railyard and operations center for the Western Pacific Railroad (WP) in Sacramento, California.
Note: Description of the project was provided by the project applicant in December 2009.
HPNA and the Curtis Park Village Project
By Traci Verardo-Torres, Past HPNA President
(November 2009 Herald Newsletter)
Several times in the last few years, HPNA members have received information about the proposal to turn the dormant Union-Pacific Railyard property into a mixed-use development project. Since the project was proposed in 2004, Hollywood Park residents have heard presentations from the developer and have received information about other groups’ opposition. Over this summer and into the fall, the board has discussed this issue during several board meetings, HPNA convened a special meeting in late August to hear the latest on the project and the October HPNA board meeting included a presentation from members of the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association, who strongly oppose the project. To date, HPNA has not taken a formal position on the Curtis Park Village Project, proposed by developer Paul Petrovich, and does not have plans in the near future to either formally support or oppose it. As a principle, we strongly support infill development. We would rather see open, vacant land that could attract undesirable activity converted into productive use. Even more specifically, we believe there are much better uses for the more than 72 toxic, Superfund acres that sit essentially abandoned just to the north of our neighborhood. While not perfect, the developer has modified the plan several times to balance commercial, residential and recreational uses on the site. He added plans for affordable housing, including senior housing, a move that was supported by the HPNA board in 2008. And again, in principle, the idea of additional retail or professional services located closer to our neighborhood, cutting down on driving out of the area for various amenities, is an attractive one.
But in projects like these, it is the details that matter. On the other side of the attractive qualities of this particular project are lingering questions. Is the size of the project that’s been proposed really appropriate for older neighborhoods like ours, Curtis Park and Land Park? Could there be negative impacts to the businesses in our own neighborhood – businesses that we want to continue to see thrive and provide services to all of us? What will the impacts be to traffic on 24th Street, already a main north-south thoroughfare through the neighborhood? Given the current economic climate, and the fact that there are many stores and businesses in our neighborhood that are currently vacant, is this the time to break ground on a 250,000 square foot shopping center? These are questions we don’t have the answers to, and are unlikely to find definite resolutions, regardless of the number of meetings that may be convened or scores of documents that may be reviewed. There is clear debate on these questions by the project proponents and opponents, and our interactions with both sides have not yielded any clarity that would move HPNA to a formal position. Are we dodging the question? Taking the easy way out? No. We are upholding our commitment to you, our neighbors, to put the concerns of Hollywood Park first when we’re considering these thorny issues. We recognize there may be conflicting benefits and impacts even within our own universe of 1,500 households. Those to the north, off 24th Street, Sutterville or Freeport Boulevard, could bear the brunt of increased traffic from our own neighborhood and out of the area. Some of our businesses, including our new Business Members, could face stiff competition from national retailers.
The character of our neighborhood, traditionally a relatively quiet hamlet, could be overshadowed by a massive multiplex of large, big box-type retailers. Yet overall, residents through the neighborhood could benefit from access to new retail offerings, closer professional services, potentially increased home values, and possible opportunities for jobs and economic growth in our area. These are strong competing issues and it is difficult to simply declare one facet more important than the other. So for now, we are specifically staying neutral on the project, and expressing both aspects of our concerns to all those interested in the project. We hope that as the City’s Planning Commission and eventually the City Council deliberate and decide on the project, they will take these concerns into consideration.
But just because HPNA is neutral doesn’t mean you can’t express your views. If you have an opinion about this project that you’d like to express, contact Councilmember Jay Schenirer and/or Mayor Kevin Johnson directly. You can find their contact information on the Elected Officials Web page.
Note: The last paragraph has been updated to reflect the election of Jay Schenirer as the Councilmember representing Hollywood Park (effective December 2010).