Levy Bike Path and Hiking Trail Fences Spark Debate

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SACRAMENTO-

In both the Big Pocket and Little Pocket neighborhoods along the Sacramento River, there’s an ongoing debate between two groups of people, those like runner Jim Geary who want fences along the river’s levee removed and those like homeowner Larry Forman who want them to stay.

“There’s a perfect way to scope out every activity that we’re doing into our bedroom,” Forman said.

“If you look along (those fences) you’ll see there’s all sorts of different types of fencing that have been taken away, washed away and put back up,” Geary told FOX40 while walking along one of the 8 fences put up by residents to keep people out.

So far the city is siding with Geary.

“For me it’s about opening the parkway,” said Darrell Fong, Sacramento City Council Member for District 7.

Fong, who is also an assembly candidate, is behind a $14.5 million bike trail from Freeport to Discovery Park, which would cut into about 110 riverfront properties.

“It’s about having the easement, that will go across the top of the levee and will open it up,” Fong said.

The city is offering Pocket residents $55,000 apiece for their levee rights and 77 thousand for the larger Little Pocket properties.

But 50-year resident Rosalene Walker said she won’t sell.

Her biggest concern is safety.

“From the top of the levee, to our yard you could in 15 seconds someone could grab a child or run into the house,” Walker said.

Walker remembers what things were like before the fences.

“There was a gang of teenagers and one would walk the levee with a walkie-talkie and he would guide the other ones into their homes to rob them,” Walker recalls.

But Fong believes letting the public in will also give law enforcement easier access and create more witnesses.

“Me being a retired police officer, there hasn’t been an increase in crime, we’ve looked at the numbers. And having people on the levee will reduce crime,” Fong said.

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