Another View: McKinley Village will be an asset to Sacramento

Published: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 10A

In 1992, when I represented midtown and east Sacramento on the City Council, I worked with my neighbors to stop "Centrage," a massive high-rise development proposed for 48 acres just north of McKinley Park. At the time, neighbors and I overwhelmingly wanted a project that looked and felt like our surrounding neighborhoods.

There were subsequent proposals, such as a big-box retail center and denser residential projects, that stalled because of their intensity or uncertain economics.

And now, a project consistent with the character and density of our neighborhoods – McKinley Village – has been proposed. Yet some vocal opponents are working to derail the proposal, making it clear that they really oppose any development in this location. ("Problems with McKinley Village proposal begin with geography," Viewpoints, Aug. 14.)

There is much in the proposed McKinley Village to warrant our support.

McKinley Village is consistent with the character of east Sacramento and midtown, and the city's vision to encourage infill development, reduce vehicle miles travelled, and improve air quality. It will provide housing near jobs – the Cannery Business Park is next door, major hospitals are nearby, and downtown is just minutes away. It's within blocks of schools, shopping, restaurants and services. It will offer energy-efficient homes with modern amenities and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms that will meet the needs of local residents and provide more housing choices in our urban core.

The community's design – tree-shaded streets, front entries and porches on the street, a recreation center and pool, attractive parks and green spaces – will create a pedestrian-friendly environment like our own neighborhoods. I ride my bike everyday. My neighbors and I look forward to the bikeways and walkways that will stitch together the neighborhood and connect McKinley Park, McKinley Village, Sutter's Landing Park, and the American River Parkway.

Throughout the past century, our neighborhood has retained its character as it evolved and as "new" areas were built out – McKinley Park itself, the Wright and Kimbrough subdivision now known as the fabulous 40s, Meister Terrace, River Park, and California State University, Sacramento, to name a few. Each of these new "parts" made the "whole" better.

McKinley Village is a great project and the right course for our neighborhood. Rejecting this proposal would send a terrible message about our commitment to responsible development. We should work constructively with the city and the development team to responsibly plan and build McKinley Village as the newest, most positive addition to east Sacramento and midtown.

Josh Pane formerly served on the Sacramento City Council and the Sacramento County Board of Education. He is a partner in Pane and Pane Associates Inc., a state governmental advocacy firm.

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