The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

New community brings neighborhoods together

A new neighborhood is in the making as the Petrovich Development Company transforms the vacant lot east of Hughes Stadium. Matthew Blackburn | [email protected]>,

The Feb. 15 groundbreaking of the 72-acre lot that neighbors City College brought the campus one step closer to becoming a bridge between the Land Park and Curtis Park neighborhoods.

The vacant lot east of Hughes Stadium and the Union Pacific rail line, which once served as a rail yard, is being transformed into a neighborhood by Petrovich Development Company. The new community will be called Curtis Park Village, a residential and retail development featuring a pedestrian bridge connecting it to the City College light rail station.

“On the north side, it’s going to be single family housing, parks, low-income senior housing, apartments and condominiums,” said City College Vice President of Student Services Robert Martinelli. “The southern portion [connecting to Sutterville Road] is going to be retail.”

According to Martinelli, the retail area is planned to include a movie theater, coffeehouse and a Safeway grocery store with additional retail space and a parking lot.

A bridge with a stairway and bike ramp will ascend from the area between the City College light rail station and the parking garage.

The City College parking garage and the lightrail stop has been blueprinted for a bridge , stairway and bike ramp. Matthew Blackburn | [email protected]

A suspension span over the light rail and Union Pacific rail lines will connect to the Curtis Park Village retail area where an additional stairway and ramp will descend.

“The bridge is going to be done in 2013 to 2014,” said Martinelli.

Currently, Curtis Park residents must use the narrow sidewalk on Sutterville Road’s bridge to access the City College campus, light rail station or other western points of the neighborhood.

“That would work out fairly well for me,” said Mark Taber, a Curtis Park resident and City College art major who crosses the busy Sutterville bridge with art equipment in tow.

Some students, as well as Martinelli, had concerns about an increase of foot traffic on campus.
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“Maybe it would be good for entertainment, but there would be random people coming onto campus,” said Nelly Figueroa, major undecided.

Martinelli said funds for the construction of the bridge were secured by a federal grant obtained by the city of Sacramento. A portion of the funds will be used to build a sidewalk on the north side of Twelfth Avenue, adjacent to the city water tower to connect pedestrians and bikers to city sidewalks along the north end of campus to Freeport Boulevard.

“We had some issues and concerns about not wanting people to come across that bridge and come through the middle of the campus as their way out to Freeport [Boulevard] to catch a bus,” Martinelli said. “It’s a public place, you are never going to stop that, but we wanted to at least provide an alternate means.”

Controversy has dogged the project for years, especially from residents in the area who raised health concerns about the soil. The 72 acres located behind City College have been dormant for decades because of toxins left behind from railroad maintenance. Amid contention in the community, the Sacramento City Council eventually approved plans in 2010 for Petrovich to develop the land after clean-up measures were taken.

According to Martinelli, the first phase of the Curtis Park Village construction will begin in May or June, installing roads and housing. The addition of the retail area will provide more options for students to find affordable places to eat within walking distance of campus.

“I think that will be a good idea if they are going to have more options to go and buy food,” said Efrain Martinez, a psychology student who uses light rail and the bus to get to City College. “The prices [on campus] are so expensive, especially when you are a student.”

Dental hygiene student Bee Thao, a commuter from Natomas, recognizes the opportunity and challenges Curtis Park Village may bring to the neighborhood.

“I think traffic is already bad as it is,” said Thao. “Economy-wise, it’s going to help Sacramento out with jobs. It will give us a bigger variety than just the cafeteria [food] to munch on during lunch hour.”

Martinelli is hopeful that Curtis Park Village, in addition to the completion of Hughes Stadium and the Performing Arts Center construction on campus will help the neighborhood’s economy—bringing patrons from the community to sports games and plays as well as students to the surrounding community.

“The condos and apartments might benefit students who go to school here,” Martinelli said. “There would be jobs associated with the retail outlets. I do think that having a development like that with houses for sale, apartments, condos, even low-cost senior housing would be beneficial to, if not students, a lot of the faculty who want to work here at City College.”

See Express 2010 coverage of the City Council’s decision to allow development at Curtis Park Village at

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