We agree with this assessment of plans to build a major new office building near the Parkway in this Sacramento Bee editorial, as the suggested alternatives do not impact the Parkway viewshed and traffic as the Parkway location would.
The agency leading the project—Joint Operations Center Relocation Project—is the Bureau of Reclamation and the link to the project’s environmental documents is here.
An excerpt from the Bee editorial.
“Federal-state cooperation in the Sacramento region on flood and water issues has been a model for more than a decade. A joint operations center on El Camino Avenue brings together three agencies involved in predicting severe weather, managing dams and coordinating daily operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.
“For 15 years, the center has been in a leased building shared by the California Department of Water Resources, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Weather Service. That 20-year lease ends in June 2015.
“Rather than renew the lease, the agencies want to build a new $140 million to $165 million campus.
“To begin, the agencies need to do a better job of explaining to the public why this important center with all of its sophisticated equipment needs to be moved.
“In a Wednesday interview, agency officials explained that they have simply outgrown the site. Some staff are downtown, others in the surrounding shopping mall, some in storage closets. Since 9/11, they have been able to do some security retrofits – building a barrier gate, for example, to prevent truck bombs and other vehicle threats – but these measures, they say, are not sufficient. They seek a 70- to 100-foot safety perimeter.
“Assuming the overcrowding and security threats are real and a new center is needed, where should it go?
“One proposed site is in the American River channel, adjacent to the American River Parkway and the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, eight miles downstream from Folsom Dam. That’s a nonstarter…
“The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution this week opposing the site as “adverse” to the “policies and purposes embodied in the American River Parkway Plan.” The supervisors support other proposed sites…
“There are good alternatives. The draft environmental impact statement indicates a site at Mather Field would accommodate the desired expansion and safety perimeter. It has a 100,000-square-foot building shell that could be built out, plus extra space where all environmental review requirements have been met. The site is next to the California Emergency Management Agency operations center, a big plus.”