Foundations being laid for new mixed-income housing project north of downtown

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — It was 10 years in the making, but Sacramento city and county officials celebrated the laying of the first streets in a downtown housing project that replaced a rundown, low-income housing complex.

Those residents were relocated and will be moving back.

After years of planning and financing hurdles, streets and foundations are being prepared for nearly 500 units on Richards Boulevard near 12th Street.

“This housing will be part of a complete community that will offer residents more than just four walls and a roof over their head,” said La Shelle Dozier, the executive director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

The project replaces the old Twin Rivers housing project built in the 1940s. It’s no coincidence that it was built on the other side of the tracks in an industrial area, in a district Councilman Jeff Harris represents.

“Where the poor people lived and it was truly an economic segregation back when it was built in the ‘40s,” Harris said.

Instead of replacing the project with more of the same, SHRA came up with a neighborhood concept that provided new homes for the residents who were temporarily relocated, but also included affordable workforce housing and higher-end units to complement a rebirth of the city’s River District just north of downtown.

In addition, the new soccer stadium, Powerhouse Museum and the Railyards development are within a mile of the housing project. 

Harris said the project fits the times.

“To break down systemic racism, a part of that has to do with income, segregated income,” he said. “Mirasol Village will become a truly integrated-income community.”

A new light rail station will be built near the site and the 12th Street Corridor project will allow for biking and walking to downtown.

Environmental grants for solar power and planting trees were part of the complex financial scheme to get the project built.

When residents were told of the key grant five years ago, they were more than happy to replace their rundown units.

Harris has talked with displaced residents.

“They’re excited to come back,” the councilman said. “They know they’re coming back to a product they know will uplift their lives, and to me that’s awesome.”

City officials hope residents can begin moving into the new complex in about a year.

The project will be completed in phases. Meanwhile, the nearby Township 9 housing development — also on Richards Boulevard — is expected to provide badly-needed affordable housing for the city.

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