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Monday, March 27, 2023

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$10.4 million in funding approved for new 2.9-mile trail in Citrus Heights


A pedestrian bridge in the Arcade Creek Preserve will connect with a larger 2.9-mile trail project in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Phillip Pesola–
More than a dozen people spoke during a council meeting last week, as the City Council voted 4-0 in favor of spending more than $10 million to construct a 10-foot-wide, 2.9-mile trail through the city.

The lowest bid for construction on the project exceeded they city engineer’s cost estimate by $1.7 million, bringing the total cost to $10,374,135 for construction and related expenses. A number of factors were cited as causes for the increase, including inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues.

According to a staff report included in the meeting’s agenda packet, the project intends to construct a trail nearly three miles in length between Arcade Creek Park Preserve and Wachtel Way. The trail is planned to connect to the new trail in Mitchell Village and provide access to eight parks, as well as Sunrise MarketPlace, and Woodside K-8 School. It also includes a small portion of Orangevale where the trail passes through Sundance Park.

Following public comments and their own discussion, the council unanimously passed six resolutions related to the project, with councilwoman Jeannie Bruins recusing herself due to a conflict-of-interest with her living within 500 feet of a portion of the project. Resolutions included an $8.4 million contract with Central Valley Engineering & Asphalt, with additional 10% contingency funding of $846,600.

Funding was also allocated for $135,000 to go towards tree planting, $41,720 for tree mitigation, $823,000 for construction management and $61,000 for construction design support services. While most funding comes from grants already secured by the city, a funding shortfall was resolved with council action to approve a $2 million zero-interest loan from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), which is to be paid back without general fund money.

During the meeting, which was broadcast on the city’s YouTube channel, one resident expressed her appreciation for the city’s involvement and communication with residents during each stage of the project, and her hope that it would continue.

Dave Mitchell, district administrator for the Sunrise Recreation and Park District, said the district was “very excited for the trail system to go in.”

Resident John Barth spoke in support of the project, saying while he initially had concerns about a prior trail on Old Auburn Road being added near his home in 2014, the reality has been “it’s kept up, it’s clean, it’s well-lit.”

See trail map in prior story: click here

Other residents had concerns about certain aspects of the project, including the number of trees to be removed, changes to an entrance at Sundance Park, lighting, and plans to raise an existing bridge at Sundance Park.

Neil Anderson, a retired civil engineer, told the council that the bridge at Sundance Park can be upgraded and does not need to be replaced. City Engineer Leslie Blomquist responded that a combination of FEMA and ADA requirements mean that the bridge must be raised, and simply upgrading the existing structure is not feasible.

Tom DiGiacomo, president of the Woodmore Oaks Neighborhood Watch, raised concerns which arose among his neighbors, including a lack of street lighting on Highwood Way and Woodmore Oaks Drive. Another concern involved a request for lighted stop signs at the intersection of those two streets, as well as another nearby intersection, due to a lack of visibility.

After hearing from the public, council members discussed the project, seeking clarification on particular points. It was confirmed that a new crosswalk with flashing lights will be installed on Woodmore Oaks Drive near the 7-Eleven, which is outside the city limits. Blomquist clarified that Sacramento County is aware of the concerns regarding the stop signs along Woodmore Oaks Drive, but was unaware of any specific plans on their part.

Prior to voting in favor of the project, Councilman Bret Daniels suggested cutting costs by redirecting the trail to bypass Sundance Park, eliminating the need for a new bridge. He said the bypass would mean a break in the trail, instead traveling along Fair Oaks Boulevard and Woodmore Oaks Drive for six-tenths of a mile. No other council members spoke in favor of his suggestion, although Vice Mayor Tim Schaefer said he was “very concerned about the financial obligation” involved with the project and expressed support for looking into reducing the cost.

Mayor Porsche Middleton said she was hopeful that input from the meeting would be taken into consideration by staff as the project moves forward, although acknowledging “it’s not going to check everyone’s boxes.” Thanking those who attended the meeting and spoke, she said “understand that we hear you, we respect everything that you’ve said tonight, and we’re gonna do the best that we can.”

According to an update posted on the city’s website, construction of the trail is expected to begin this fall.

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