Congresswoman Matsui Requests Federal Funding for Waterfront Reconnection

The project, championed by Downtown Sacramento Partnership, advocates for neighborhood restitching

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (May 21, 2024) – Downtown Sacramento Partnership announced today that there is growing momentum towards a catalytic Riverfront Reconnection Project, thanks to the leadership of Congresswoman Doris Matsui. As part of the FY 25 federal appropriations process, Congresswoman Matsui submitted a request for up to $5 million in direct federal funding to support the City of Sacramento and the Downtown Sacramento Partnership in the initial planning of the Riverfront Reconnection Project.


The Riverfront Reconnection Project is a plan to create a park that reconnects downtown Sacramento, a Federally-designated Promise Zone, with the underutilized natural resource of the Sacramento River and invests federal dollars in communities that have been physically separated and socially damaged by interstate highway infrastructure. The grand vision of the project is to deliver a signature public commons park linking downtown to the Sacramento Riverfront, reclaiming more than 4 acres of continuous park space and flexible infrastructure. The Riverfront Reconnection Project sets the stage for a dynamic calendar of community-oriented event programming ranging from wellness classes to artistic activations to musical concerts.


With Old Sacramento Waterfront and the promenade separated from downtown Sacramento by a 10-lane, below-grade section of Interstate 5, funding will support project-specific design and focus on green space development, active transportation mobility, linkages between existing and future civic amenities including the Crocker Art Museum and Park, and our city’s namesake river.


“There are unprecedented grant opportunities available through federal funding to support the creation of dynamic reconnection projects which link portions of neighborhoods together that were physically separated in the past and have served as divides to the health of our communities ever since,” said Scott Ford, Economic Development Director of Downtown Sacramento Partnership, “Reclaiming this space for the people of Sacramento will create a signature public commons at the gateway to California’s capital city capable of hosting both special events and passive recreation, and will serve to enhance the quality of life and social connectivity of everyone in the region.”


The Riverfront Reconnection Project supports active transportation connectivity between Sacramento’s urban center and the existing Sacramento Riverfront Promenade, and creates a multiacre, dynamic public gathering area adjacent to Capitol Mall. The original neighborhood where I-5 now sits was part of Sacramento’s historic West End and near the Japantown district, both of which were largely removed during the 1950-1964 redevelopment era when the City of Sacramento was physically separated from its central riverfront by Interstate 5 when it opened this section in 1964.  This removal of ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in numerous sections of Sacramento’s central city accelerated practices of segregation and have resulted in the underutilization of riverfront properties on the large portion of the Sacramento waterfront. This project represents the first step in a series of key opportunities to enhance connectivity and spur future infill residential and civic uses in the vicinity.


Identified as the first of several phases, Downtown Sacramento Partnership is excited to continue working on this and future projects that center on fostering active mobility, community wellness, and innovation in the downtown core, positively impacting all who call the Sacramento region home.


More information can be found here.