Mayor Kevin Johnson was not a soccer fan. He found the game foreign and silly, a bunch of people kicking a ball around and rarely scoring. Not like basketball. But Johnson was the first Sacramento politician to embrace the idea of bringing Major League Soccer to the Downtown railyards.
He saw the possibilities. Forget the game, he said. This is about economic development.
Trees are the first to go. About 3 acres of valley oak and slightly more than one-tenth an acre of Fremont cottonwoods are being cut down and chopped up as crews strengthen the Sacramento River levee from Pocket to Broadway. That means about 153 trees pulled out, with another 178 trimmed back.
“This represents a relatively small amount of vegetation in proportion to existing trees and shrubs,” says a report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Broadway. Some call it a diamond in the rough. Others say it’s eclectic and on the rebound.
Once known as Y Street, Broadway leverages its proximity as the southern border of Downtown. It was once home to Sacramento’s midcentury baseball team. The old city cemetery still operates as a tourist destination. The weekend farmers market sells its produce under the freeway. And there’s the iconic Tower Theatre and Tower Cafe.
People talk. They share rumors. Some of the most interesting chatter in Little Pocket last year involved Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen.
Rumors placed Hansen at several meetings with about 40 residents who own property along the Sacramento River levee. The meetings were private, the rumors said. Hansen instructed his audience to write nothing down. No emails.
Since 1911, the I Street Bridge has faithfully carried trains and cars and people and bicycles on its slender, double-deck span 400 feet across the muddy Sacramento River.
The bridge is an old-timey mechanical marvel. Giant gears pivot the decks sideways, like a sword on a spindle, when tall boats approach. Mark Twain would have loved it, but he died in 1910 and missed the grand opening by a year.