To describe Crocker Park in downtown Sacramento as a “park” may be a bit too generous. Instead, city officials and the Crocker Art Museum refer to the 3-acre parcel across the street from the city’s premier art museum as “unimproved land.”
That’s likely to change in the years ahead. The Crocker Art Museum announced Thursday it had selected Seattle architect Olson Kundig and San Francisco landscape architectural firm SURFACEDESIGN INC. to design a $40 million renovation of the park.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg called the plan “an extraordinary opportunity for the city of Sacramento and the Crocker Art Museum to collaborate on another transformational public project that will strengthen civic pride.”
While still in the early stages, the plans for the project will very likely include a parking structure with about 400 spaces, along with event and art gallery space. Crocker spokeswoman Christine Calvin said the gallery would likely be large enough to draw visitors on its own and would likely house ceramics and other artwork that tends to not be environmentally sensitive.
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The reshaping of the park could also include an amphitheater, public gardens, sculptures and a playground. Crocker Park currently only has two picnic tables and trees.
Alan Maskin, the principal and owner of Olson Kundig, said in a statement the project “is a chance to create a beautiful and much-needed amenity, while at the same time reimagining the ubiquitous yet often overlooked urban typology of a parking garage.”
The Crocker is raising money for the project and has set a goal of beginning construction in the fall of 2020.
“Not since I-5 punched through downtown has there been a more compelling vision to better connect the Crocker Art Museum to Capitol Mall and the Sacramento River,” said Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents downtown. “This project represents an evolutionary step for our arts community and a giant leap for the city’s effort to bring more life to the waterfront.”