City Beat

Land Park amphitheater, midtown dog park to get big cash boost

The city of Sacramento is pouring more than $600,000 into its parks system, including a six-figure investment into the renovation of the historic amphitheater in Land Park.

A committee was formed in 2013 to begin raising money for a renovation of the William A. Carroll Amphitheater, a Great Depression-era Works Progress Administration project that hasn’t been rehabbed since the 1960s. The amphitheater is best known as the site of an annual Shakespeare festival.

The fundraising effort has limped along and a city staff report pegs the construction costs of the project at $2 million. Supporters are seeking to add restrooms, more comfortable seating, better sound and lighting systems, and dressing rooms for performers.

The City Council approved a proposal Tuesday night to move $100,000 from a trust fund of fees collected on special events in Land Park into the renovation project. The money also establishes the renovation as an official city project, potentially making it easier for the city to receive grants and other funds for the work.

“This is an investment in moving the project along, but it also tees it up (to receive grant money),” said Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents Land Park. “It’s really a deficient facility and we’re trying to make it a place that is better used and better appreciated.”

Some longtime Land Park residents pushed back against the proposal at Tuesday’s council hearing, arguing attention should be paid to maintenance issues in the park, including irrigation systems and bathrooms.

“There are so many other crying needs in the park,” said resident Dale Claypool.

In midtown, the council voted to spend $400,000 to finish construction of Brooks Truitt Park, a dog park and public plaza planned for the corner of 19th and Q streets. The City Council last year allocated $800,000 for the park’s design and construction, but the additional $400,000 is needed to finish the work after bids for the project came in higher than expected, Hansen said. Work should begin immediately after the money is approved.

City staff also received approval to spend $75,000 to work with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and develop concepts for a “play/art sculpture” for children in downtown’s Cesar Chavez Plaza. The park hosts weekly farmers markets during the spring and summer, but has never been considered a destination for families with children.

The parks department determined there was not enough room for a traditional play structure in the park, despite “a strong desire” to build one there. Instead, “the best approach is to create a play/art sculpture piece that will function as a play piece for children,” according to the staff report.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis