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Sacramento to pursue eminent domain to extend river parkway trail

Six private property owners who own land between Garcia Bend Park to Arabella Way have refused to sell rights to the city.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The City of Sacramento will move forward with eminent domain proceedings in an effort to seize private property in the Pocket neighborhood to complete the Sacramento River Parkway Project.

“It will acquire rights needed allow the city to construct a 1.85 mile trail segment along the top of the levee,” said project manager Adam Randolph at a May 21 city council meeting.

The Sacramento River Parkway project began in 1969. Since then, the city has sought to complete a paved pedestrian and bicycle trail that would extend for 45 miles along the Sacramento River and American Rivers, according to the American and Sacramento River Parkway Plans of 2012 (see page 4).

The city has acquired recreational easements from numerous property owners during that time. Those easements allow the city to pave a 20-foot-wide path for miles on the levee along the Sacramento River.

As the city moves forward with the central pocket levee portion of the trail, six private property owners who own land between Garcia Bend Park to Arabella Way have refused to sell rights to the city.

Donald Murphy is one of those property owners. His home and adjoining properties sit on 9 acres.

Credit: ABC10KXTV
Donald Murphy is one of six property owners refusing to sell rights to the City of Sacramento.

“It’s like a sanctuary here,” Murphy said.

He’s concerned about the privacy and security of his home. Murphy points to the issues of homelessness and illegal camping along the American River Parkway.

“It’s very important to maintain the integrity and the privacy of this place,” Murphy said.

Some neighbors along the parkway have even place fences along the levees that restrict access to the public. Members of the Sacramento River Parkway Coalition argue the levees should be available for public access.

Jim Houpt joined the coalition after he saw those fences. He is supporting the city council’s plan, but he's also urging homeowners to sell before it turns into a fight.

“Nobody is crazy about the use of eminent domain, I wish people would sell voluntarily,” Houpt said. “But if it takes eminent domain to finish what is a badly needed transportation route in this neighborhood, then we have to use eminent domain.”

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