McClatchy Park, at the heart of the Oak Park neighborhood, has long had a reputation as unsafe.
Now, city officials are trying to change that image by investing thousands of dollars to spruce up the 15-acre, tree-shaded park.
The City Council is expected tonight to approve funding the final stage of a popular farmer's market inside the park. The project would include two large shade structures and electrical outlets for vendors.
The $332,000 needed would come mostly from fees collected from developers, according to a city staff report. Construction is expected to wrap up by April, in time for the market to reopen for the season.
Beyond the farmer's market upgrades, McClatchy Park has been the site of considerable attention in recent months.
A disc golf course was built as a result of a volunteer effort. What's more, the city recently obtained a $2.8 million park development grant for a long list of improvements at the park.
Those upgrades will include a new jogging track around the park, new playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, a skate park, improved picnic areas and a revamped irrigation system. City officials said those changes are expected to be completed by the summer of 2014.
"We're getting a lot more use of the park by neighborhood residents, which is clearly what we want," said Councilman Jay Schenirer, who represents Oak Park. "I think we're on our way to having a really fabulous facility."
The farmer's market has grown in popularity since moving from a nearby lot on Broadway. In addition to its vendors, the market is also the site of regular health-related outreach programs. Yoga sessions were held at the market last August.
Schenirer said the improvements at McClatchy Park are part of a broader transformation in Oak Park that also includes steady work at a housing and retail project on Broadway just a few blocks from the park.
While neighborhood residents said they feel more comfortable in McClatchy Park than they have in the past, the area is not without crime.
A Sacramento Police Department crime database shows there was a robbery on Fifth Avenue near the entrance of the farmer's market location last month. The robbery, according to the police, was reported at 10:19 a.m. on Nov. 24.
Michael Boyd, the president of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association, lives less than a block from the Fifth Avenue entrance of the park. He said five years ago the park "was spotty," but that he now isn't afraid to walk his dog there.
"Because the park is being used more, you don't feel isolated," Boyd said. "You feel like there are always people around."