City Beat

Old Sac monument? A 13-year-old girl has a Disney-inspired idea – and the city loves it

Teen proposes Disney-style light show for Old Sacramento

Summer Santich, 13, proposed a light and color fountain show along the Old Sacramento riverfront as an attraction to draw visitors.
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Summer Santich, 13, proposed a light and color fountain show along the Old Sacramento riverfront as an attraction to draw visitors.

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.

These landmarks tower over their cities to achieve iconic status. A new proposal calls for a grand monument, yet to be designed, for Old Sacramento that could match the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis or the Space Needle in Seattle.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg and old town business leaders say they want to turn the area into a bigger draw year-round – the kind of place Northern Californians will come to even when the in-laws aren’t in town. As part of this push, the city is consi

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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