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  • Jose Luis Villegas /

    Opponents and supporters of the proposed McKinley Village project gear up a week ahead of the City Council vote.

  • Jose Luis Villegas /

    Residents listen as Sacramento City Council Member Steve Cohn hosts a town hall forum on the proposed McKinley Village development Monday evening in McKinley Park. Cohn opposes the housing project.

  • Sacramento

  • Jose Luis Villegas /

    Cohn discusses the McKinley Village plan, which calls for 336 new homes, with residents at Monday’s forum.

  • Jose Luis Villegas /

    Travis Silcox, a resident in midtown Sacramento, listens as council member Steve Cohn hosts a town hall forum on the proposed McKinley Village development project. Silcox lives near the intersection of 28th and C Streets. "Half the cars coming from McKinley Village will dump into that intersection. The amount of congestion create an unsafe environment for everyone."

McKinley plan draws two crowds

Published: Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 - 10:56 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Apr. 22, 2014 - 1:02 pm

Foes and fans of McKinley Village gathered at dueling meetings Monday intended to firm up support for their sides and perhaps sway a few votes on the Sacramento City Council, which is scheduled to vote on the plan next week.

“I believe this project enhances this neighborhood,” Catherine Taylor, 55, of East Sacramento, told a gathering of about two dozen backers in front of the Clunie Community Center in McKinley Park at noon Monday. She said its housing designs and grid of tree-lined streets would blend in well with the existing neighborhood.

Developers, led by former state Treasurer Phil Angelides, propose building 336 homes on 48 acres sandwiched between the Capital City Freeway and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The project is on a site commonly called Centrage, after a failed highrise development from the early 1990s. The awkward slice of land, hemmed in by elevated railroad tracks and the Capital City Freeway, and strong community opposition have defeated the plans of several developers over the years.

Later on Monday, about 100 opponents packed the Grand Hall of the Community Center. Some of them shouted down a speaker whose viewpoint diverged slightly from the consensus that the project shouldn’t go forward without a vehicle entrance at Alhambra Boulevard.

“Without this access, we all unite in opposition,” said Heather Sullivan, speaking on behalf of a half-dozen neighborhood groups from midtown and east Sacramento. They included Sullivan’s own group, Love East Sac.

Angelides has said that requiring a vehicle entrance at Alhambra is a red herring meant to kill the project.

Current plans call for two vehicle entrances, at 28th and 40th streets, both relatively quiet residential avenues. Alhambra is a busy commercial boulevard near freeway entrances, but developers say it would be far too costly to put a vehicle tunnel there under the tracks.

Angelides’ group said it would like to build a pedestrian and bicycle tunnel at Alhambra, but even that may not be feasible, the developers now say.

Speaking at the evening meeting, Paul Noble, head of the East Sacramento Improvement Association, told the crowd his group would also like a vehicle entrance at Alhambra but could live with at least a bike tunnel.

He was shouted down by some in the crowd.

Councilman Steve Cohn, who led the meeting, asked for quiet. Cohn, too, opposes the plan, but whether he can persuade other council members to vote with him remains doubtful.

The City Council is scheduled to hear the McKinley Village plan for the first time next Tuesday. It has already been the subject of dozens of contentious town hall gatherings and meetings of the city’s Planning and Design Commission. Planning commissioners unanimously endorsed the project March 27, and the council will now have to choose whether to accept their recommendation.

Call The Bee’s Hudson Sangree, (916) 321-1191.

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