Some of Sacramento’s most talented urban planners are brainstorming ways to attract crowds to the city’s riverfront. They’re exploring traffic flows, park development and possibly building a large monument in Old Sacramento that would be our version of the famed Gateway Arch.
A 13-year-old girl from North Natomas blew them out of the water on Tuesday.
Summer Santich, entering her freshman year at Inderkum High School, confidently strode to the podium in front of the City Council and presented the city’s elected leaders with a fresh idea for Old Sacramento: a show resembling the “World of Color” show at Disney California Adventure Park in which images are projected onto water being shot high into the air from a series of fountains.
Santich said she thinks Old Sacramento’s version of the show should pay homage to the Gold Rush. And with water being used in the show, the attraction would present a natural connection to the Sacramento River.
“People want to see the story of Sacramento and who we are,” Santich, a local-history buff, said in an interview.
Councilwoman Angelique Ashby – Santich’s representative at City Hall – praised the idea. Ashby, the senior member on the council, has heard her share of presentations on the riverfront over the past seven years, but said Santich’s was the best.
“I hope we add it to the list of contenders,” Ashby said. “This is a real concept I think we can get behind.”
The city may establish a committee tasked with exploring ideas for a monument in Old Sacramento. And Santich may have secured a spot on the panel.
“Summer, you’re appointed,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said.
Santich’s proposal was presented during a briefing on ideas to inject life into the river, with most of the focus on Old Sacramento.
Richard Rich, the city’s riverfront project manager, provided a list of projects that could be constructed within two years of a $10 million to $15 million investment. The ideas include placing an adventure playground and carousel in Old Sacramento’s Waterfront Park; redesigning the pedestrian tunnel under Interstate 5 to make it more welcoming; and adding colorful lighting to the district.
Steinberg asked Rich to return to the council within 90 days with specific financing plans for the potential projects.
“It’s time to start matching our dreams with the capacity to be able to deliver on our dreams,” the mayor said.