Monday, August 3, 2009

This Wednesday, August 5, Sacramento's Preservation Commission will hear an update on the "Underground Sidewalks" survey project. This survey has explored much of Sacramento's surviving underground sidewalk structures, and is preparing a detailed report on their current condition and historic context. An earlier meeting, held in March, outlined what the survey would do(as discussed in this Sacramento Press article) and this meeting will present the initial findings of the survey team and report their progress. The final report on the underground sidewalks should be completed by September of this year.

The meeting will be held at Sacramento's City Hall, 915 I Street, in the City Council chambers on the first floor. The meeting starts at 5:30 PM and the Underground Sidewalks survey will be the first of several staff reports presented at the meeting.

A complete agenda of the Preservation Commission meeting can be found on the Preservation Commission's Web site.

Sacramento's underground sidewalks are a side effect of a massive street-raising project, executed from the 1850s to the 1870s and intended to keep downtown Sacramento above water during the region's frequent floods. Brick walls about 12 feet high were built at the street edge and filled with dirt, but the spaces between the buildings and the street were left open, and were the building owner's responsibility to cover and fill. Over the past 130 years, many of these spaces have been filled in or demolished by subsequent development, construction and sidewalk repair.

This survey, funded by a local nonprofit and a matching state grant, is intended to document all of the surviving "Underground Sidewalk" spaces in downtown Sacramento and research the methods used to build these structures. The survey will have many potential uses, possibly including the creation of a historic district, or facilitating an "Underground Sidewalks Tour" program similar to that found in Seattle and other cities. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments to the Preservation Commission and the consultants conducting the survey.

The City Preservation Commission was created by the City Council. Its powers and duties include: to develop and recommend to the City Council preservation policies appropriate for inclusion in the General Plan and other regulatory plans and programs of the City and to provide oversight relative to the maintenance and integrity of the Sacramento Register of Historic and Cultural Resources; to review, nominate, and make recommendations to the City Council on properties eligible for listing in the Sacramento Register as Landmarks, Historic Districts and Contributing Resources as set forth in the Historic Preservation Chapter, Title 17, Chapter 17.134, of the City Code; to review and approve preservation development projects of major significance and appeals of Preservation Director decisions per the Historic Preservation Chapter, Title 17, Chapter 17.134, of the City Code.

Meeting location: New City Hall
915 I Street- 1st Floor, Council Chambers
August 5, 2009 - 5:30 P.M.

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