From Comstock’s Magazine.
Once upon a time, Sacramento lived and died by its rivers. As the last outpost of good society on the way to the Gold Rush foothills, Sacramento was nestled conveniently at the confluence of both the American and Sacramento rivers. Eventually, prospectors’ shanty tents pitched along these rivers turned into a thriving boomtown — ultimately becoming the capital of the newly-minted state of California and home to millions in the Sacramento Valley.
But what about now? It’s been well over 150 years since shouts of “Eureka!” echoed along the region’s riverbanks, and today’s connection to the water that once brought opportunity and prosperity seems to have ebbed with the tide. Are our rivers even a part of Sacramento’s identity anymore, or are they just a feature of the land we occasionally glance at, while driving along Interstate 80?
That’s a question Kimberly Garza and Andrew tenBrink of Atlas Lab, a design and research lab, are trying to answer, and a dismissive attitude they’re determined to change. The young entrepreneurs recently won MetroEdge’s “Pitch for Change” contest with “The Dune” project, which was selected as the favorite proposal by attendees of the Emerge Summit in March. The 2016 Emerge Summit, sponsored by MetroEdge, was the third annual day-long conference for young entrepreneurs in the Sacramento area to connect, collaborate and create; however, this was the first year that the Pitch for Change contest occurred at the summit.
Though there’s no confirmed location yet, and the project is still in the early planning stages, Garza and tenBrink conceived an idea to reclaim a section of unused (and often unloved) riverbank and build an unusual urban park: a slice of land and sand, sloped at a slight angle with a flat space at the base that can be used for events, sports and community gatherings. The walls of The Dune will be formed from a shipping container, and will provide a space for fliers, art and maybe a concession stand inside. The sloped seating area will be perfect for movie nights, events or even just viewing the river from a different point of view, tenBrink says.