The Sacramento City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to create a public trail along Sacramento River levees in the Pocket and Little Pocket neighborhoods.
The action directs city staff to purchase public access easements from willing property owners along the levee. Some of those property owners maintain fences across the levee that block public access to the riverfront.
The city has no money to buy easements now. But the council allocated $100,000 from an existing parkway development fund to pay for research to start the process.
"For me, it's good public policy, and it's good for all," said City Councilman Darrell Fong, who represents the Pocket area.
About 40 people addressed the council on the issue. Riverfront property owners expressed concern about increased crime and loss of privacy if the levee is opened to the public. Recreation advocates said that, as taxpayers who support levee maintenance, they have a right to use the levee and will help keep it safe by watching for trouble.
A Police Department official told the council that, along the American River Parkway, the River Park neighborhood does not see a higher crime rate because of its proximity to the river path. In fact, crime in that neighborhood is down 25 percent since 2007.
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