Community weighs proposed safe ground parking lot at Sutter’s Landing Park

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento citizens are once again voicing their concerns about places to stay for the homeless population who live in their cars and RVs.

City leaders announced plans for safe parking sites at Miller Park and Sutter’s Landing Park.

Many homeowners in the Sutter’s Landing area told FOX40 they are frustrated the city is even thinking about placing a parking lot for the unhoused there.
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While people disagree where it should be, everyone agreed on one thing: Something needs to be done, and soon.

A community discussion on how to respond to homelessness in midtown and East Sacramento happened at McKinley Park Saturday morning. 

“This is the only solution I have been able to come up with,” explained Sacramento city council member Katie Valenzuela. “If you offer people a real solution, they will take it.”

The question with no easy answer: Where should the city move people experiencing homelessness?

Residents near the proposed Sutter’s Landing Park safe ground parking lot shared their concerns during the discussion.

“It’s next to an established, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sacramento,” one resident told FOX40. “Why put it there? Why put it next to the river? We have environmental concerns here, and there’s no environmental concerns about the homeless camp next to the river. It’s nonsensical.”

People said they were concerned about the enforcement of various laws and regulations, and above all, public safety.
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“Will Sac PD respond to drug use at the transient camps?” asked Nick Kufasimes, the vice president of the East Sacramento Improvement Association.

“Questions regarding to us responding to drug usage or drug sales, we will respond, but what I do ask is we have specificity,” responded a Sacramento police official.

“The biggest problems we have, we drive by X and Y, and we don’t want that in our neighborhood. And until you inspect your model out there, and shine that object up, don’t come back to us to sell us something we don’t want,” Kufasimes added.

The proposal at Sutter’s Landing Park is one way the city is hoping to provide a place where unhoused people and their families can stay without the risk of being towed.

The city will soon open a temporary safe ground site at Miller Park near the Sacramento Marina. A new 60-tent site will accommodate approximately 80 unhoused residents.

“We all want solutions, and we all want those solutions to help and improve the safety and well-being of everybody in the community,” Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela, who is proposing the Sutter’s Landing lot, said the issue isn’t going away and will require sacrifice from everyone.

“What I heard a lot today, a lot of people who have differences of opinion on the how, but we all share the common goal, that we don’t want what is happening on the street to continue the way it is, and we want real solutions as soon as possible,” Valenzuela said.

For the Sutter’s Landing proposal, environmental evaluation still needs to be done before an official decision is made. Miller’s Park should open soon.

City officials said one of their goals is to offer parking to the unhoused population at a recently-purchased Sacramento Job Corps site in the Meadowview area, but it could take several months before that location is ready.

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