A bridge from West Sac

Land Park can work with its neighbors to make entire community better

If you would like to weigh in on the proposed bridge between West Sac and Land Park, you are invited to a public forum at the next Land Park Community Association meeting on Wednesday, August 18, 6:30 p.m., at the Eskaton Monroe Lodge, 3225 Freeport Boulevard.
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno. His column, Greenlight, appears weekly in this space.

Eskaton Monroe Lodge

3225 Freeport Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95818

(916) 441-1015

I love living in Land Park. The large trees create a wonderful shady canopy during the summer. The houses each have their own special personality. And there is Vic’s Ice Cream parlor nearby, which provides a wonderful way to celebrate a soccer goal, a friend in town or a hot summer day.

When I moved to Sacramento 21 years ago, my sister Rebecca Sturges told me I could live in any neighborhood, as long it was Land Park. God willing and wife willing, I would love to spend another 21 years living in Land Park. But the Land Park Community Association is making me crazy.

I am especially frustrated by its recent opposition to the proposed bridge connecting West Sacramento to Land Park. A bridge is critical if we are going to encourage increased development in West Sacramento. By creating high-density housing only a few miles from downtown Sacramento, we will be able to significantly decrease commute times and avoid developing much-needed farmland.

Although I have never been a member of the Land Park Community Association, I appreciate its efforts to support our schools and to help clean up the parks. But I first heard about the association when it was protesting the idea of having a minor league baseball team play at Sacramento City College. It wanted to prevent Sacramento from having a team and the college from having additional revenue because of traffic and parking concerns. It was disappointing.

Then I heard that members of the group were angry about a proposed expansion of the zoo. When my children were small, we loved to spend a lazy day wandering around the kid-friendly grounds. I would hope the association could work with the zoo to help them expand in Land Park.

But for them to fight the bridge proposal is a more significant matter. Yes, a bridge from West Sacramento will create more traffic in Land Park. But perhaps some of the now-empty buildings will once again house thriving businesses. Maybe some of West Sacramento’s new residents will come over to our neighborhood and spend their money.

The people in Land Park make more money than residents in most other neighborhoods. We make more political donations, we vote in local elections, and it seems like there are a lot of attorneys on the sidelines at our local soccer games. This money and political and legal access help make it likely that Land Park will get its way.

This is not right. Decisions should not be rigged from the start. Instead, we should work with the neighborhoods around us to make the entire community of Sacramento a better place. Living in a great neighborhood should not make us small. Let’s expand our vision to work for the greater good of our entire community.