SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento's waterfront was a transportation hub for the Gold Rush and a key to the birth of the city.
While the development of Old Sacramento created a key historic destination for visitors, access to the water was has always been difficult. The levee and the rail line connected to the Railroad Museum are physical barriers that make it hard to connect with the water.
City officials long ago knew it was an issue for a riverfront city.
A promenade south of Old Sacramento ends at an empty lot, extended only by a bike trail headed south. To the north, the Powerhouse Science Center is under construction and plans for an iconic bridge across the river are well underway.
But large expanses of riverbank are unimproved.
"Working downtown, this is a nice getaway from the clutter of the buildings," said Steve Winter. "Come down and have some open space. It would be nice to see it revitalized a little more to make it more inviting."
Mayor Darrell Steinberg's $47 million plan for upgrading Old Sacramento takes ideas offered up in a design competition from several firms.
The plan announced Thursday night would include a festival lawn where visitors can enjoy a view of the water, a new freight depot with shops and restaurants, a history museum deck that will overlook the waterfront and a floating terrace to get visitors and diners right on the water.
There will also be access to the water for water sports and for the less adventurous, a signature water fountain feature that will be lit up at night.
The $47 million comes from the city's hotel tax.
Before the project can actually begin, the city council must first approve the funds.