City Hall got personal with residents this week, asking the question: “Tell us about one of your happiest urban experiences.”
That question is part of an online survey aimed at giving Sacramento city officials a better idea of how to mold the central city into a place where thousands more people will want to live and play in the coming decade or two.
It’s part of an effort, launched two years ago, to find ways to add 10,000 housing units to the core area in the next decade, turning an often quiet midtown and downtown into a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented place on nights and weekends.
To do that, officials say, the city needs policies that will make the area more attractive for potential residents and an easier place for developers to build housing.
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“We’re trying to get an idea of what is missing, what do people want to see more of,” planner Greg Sandlund said. “What amenities and where? Housing will follow the amenities.”
The downtown specific plan survey is available online through next Friday. City planners will hold a community workshop in the City Hall lobby March 20 to review the survey results and to talk about actions, including zoning changes and infrastructure financing efforts, to speed the already ongoing modernization of downtown. The survey is at www.downtownspecificplan.com/survey/.
The survey asks people where they like to hang out – and why – when they come downtown, and what it would take to get them to live downtown.
The early stages of Sacramento’s downtown renaissance have been underway for more than a decade, starting with small housing developments in midtown, followed more recently by a revival of the moribund Downtown Plaza site with the Golden 1 Center sports and entertainment arena, an upcoming hotel, new restaurants, a smattering of K Street housing, as well as a major Kaiser Permanente building under construction. Hundreds of new housing units have been built in midtown over the past decade.
City officials say the area needs housing at all income levels. Affordable housing, though, has been hard to finance. With Bay Area housing costs and rents skyrocketing, Sacramento faces a major challenge in finding a way to bring more affordable housing downtown.
Sandlund and other city officials point to one notable project on the horizon specifically designed to provide moderate-priced rental units: Units at 19J, a planned apartment building at 19th and J streets, will be small and parking will be limited. Some monthly rents are expected to be below $1,000.
Developer Nikky Mohanna said her goal is to provide midtown housing for people in their 20s who don’t want the expense and hassle of owning a car.