OLD SACRAMENTO — Old Sacramento is always a popular spot for tourists, but often it’s overlooked by local Sacramentans.
But Mayor Darrell Steinberg and other city council members hope to change all that, possibly even rebranding Old Sacramento. However, some businesses believe the fix isn’t in the name but instead the infrastructure.
The entertainment in Old Sacramento is often better for those who are visiting from out of town.
“Well I think things are changing though,” said Sacramento resident Sandra Chadbourn.
But in the 81 years she’s lived in Sacramento, Chadbourn admits she’s only been to the historic core of the state capital three or four times in the past 10 years.
“Very impressed with what I see down here. I wish we had come down more often,” Chadbourn said.
That’s a changing attitude Mayor Stienberg and other city leaders hope spreads to more who live in the Capital City. Nothing’s official yet, but there been talk of rebranding Old Sac’s name, and even adding in attractions such as an artificial waterfall off the Tower Bridge.
“I don’t know if that’s enough,” said Robert Smith, who manages the Delta King restaurant on the Sacramento River.
He believes there’s an easier fix the city can do to get locals to come.
“I think people purposely don’t come here because there’s not place to park,” he said.
With meters now going until 10 p.m., and garages only offering a flat rate, Smith believes it’s easier for people to go out downtown. Still, he says the majority of his business in the winter time, lives within a 20 mile radius.
While the Golden 1 Center is bringing crowds to that part of the city, getting from there to Old Sac is made all the more challenging on game nights.
“When we have that stuff, you can’t get here… Plenty of roads, but half the time they’re closed off,” Smith said.
Other business owners say locals may return if new stores move in, ones that don’t cater exclusively to tourists.
“We get a lot of school kids up here, but you don’t see business from the school kids,” Smith said.
The Sacramento City Council will be hearing a report from a new city riverfront project manager about revitalization ideas for Old Sacramento. That will happen in April, during a meeting where financing will also be discussed.