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Old Sacramento businesses on city's $5M plan: 'We’re only talking about a Band-Aid right now'

This plan comes after Old Sacramento consistently made headlines over the summer, with a new shooting every month for three months.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento City Council approved a plan for how it'll spend its American Relief Plan money on Tuesday night.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Tuesday marks the beginning of a Sacramento "comeback."

“This is a real shot in the arm here; that’s what we are doing here today. This investment, I hope, will be a booster. It will speed up the comeback," Steinberg said.

Here's where the city says the money is going:

  • $5 million for Old Sacramento and downtown core for security cameras, more flexibility for street and alley closures
  • $1.5 million for youth violence prevention programs
  • $8.2 million to support small businesses across the city
  • $2 million for supporting outdoor dining with the city's al fresco dining program
  • $250,000 for the city's e-gift card program, allowing the cards to be offered at a discounted rate
  • $700,000 for grants to help attract special events and attractions
  • $375,000 for business recruitment in older corridors
  • $41 million to go toward the city's $100 million comprehensive homeless siting plan

Safety and lighting were key priorities for Old Sacramento business owners.

Nestled in to the corner near Front and K Streets, among dozens of other shops in Old Sacramento, the smell of kettle corn floats into the streets from Sacramento Sweets. The shop has been in Jason Minow’s family and in the heart of Old Sacramento for nearly half a century

He says, after years of working on getting things like better lighting outside of his business, these proposed safety improvements have been a long time coming.

"I mean, if we get some real infrastructure like lighting, security, whether it’s cameras or just the ability to make more eyes on the ground here, that goes a long way," he said.

But he worries that a $5 million investment may not be enough. 

"What’s going to happen tomorrow when we don’t have another million dollars for outreach or to follow-up or trash cleanup or maintenance?" he asked. "I mean, we’re only talking about a Band-Aid right now, but it’s an important one."

The plan comes after his area consistently made headlines over the summer, with a new shooting every month for three months.

“I mean it is a great place to come. It’s a great family atmosphere, but you add in all of the other elements, with lighting and everything else that’s going on, you kind of want to stay away from it to avoid it," said Daniel Craft, a local to Sacramento.

That’s why the city is also setting aside $1.5 million for youth violence prevention programs to proactively tackle some of the violence they’ve seen in Old Sacramento. 

Other business owners like Janie Desmond Ison, queen of the Candy Corn Latte at Steamers, said she hopes the safety improvements attract more employees and customers.

"Once that starts to take hold, I think you’ll see a lot of businesses, myself included, stay open past dark. We want to. The people are here, (and) they want to come here," Desmond Ison said.

Part of this funding is also going toward the $100 million comprehensive homeless plan.


City Council promised $5M in investments for Old Sacramento. Here's how they'll spend it.