Twin Rivers Housing Complex Getting Make Over

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The City of Sacramento is taking the next step in breathing new life into the River District-Railyards neighborhood. The Twin Rivers Public Housing development will be torn down and completely replaced.

“It looks kind of crazy out here,” said Alina Bustillos, who lives in Twin Rivers. “They need to clean it up.”

Twin Rivers lies just south of Richards Blvd. and many residents see it as detached from the rest of Sacramento.  The city hopes the transformation will better connect residents with the rest of Sacramento and this week city officials will review design plans for the new construction.

“It’s time for it,” said Cecilia Reyes, who has lived in the neighborhood for years. “It’s been around since the 1940s and it’s time for change.”

Back in 2012, the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency received a $300,000 grant from the federal government to revitalize the area.  Ever since, the city has been slowly working up to getting the project off the ground.

Over two-hundred units will be torn down to make way for new mixed-income housing.  But first, more than 400 people living in the homes will have to move out temporarily. Construction is expected to last for two years.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Oliver Francis, a resident. “I’m not really sad to be moving, I’m actually going to be happy to move but I want to move back. I want to come back to the new facility that they build.”

The new complex will include a new pool, a picnic area and play equipment for the kids.

“I barely let my son play outside because of all of the stuff that goes on around here,” Bustillos said, who has two young children.

She told CBS13 she tries to shield her kids from the fighting and trouble from visitors that goes on in the complex.

Francis has lived in Twin Rivers for six years and says he has high hopes the updates will turn the community around.

“To be honest with you, I think it should, I don’t know if would, though,” he said. “I mean, you know, it all depends on the people that they move back in. And, you know, how things develop afterwards.”

But Bustillos says she’s not sure that rebuilding the homes and adding amenities is enough to change the culture of the neighborhood for good.

“Probably won’t know until they start getting to it,” Bustillos said.

Residents in good standing will have the option to return to new housing units once they are complete.  But regardless of the outcome, after two decades in Twin Rivers, Reyes says she can’t see herself anywhere else.

“Being here so long, this is home for me,” she said.

On Thursday, the city’s planning and design commission will hold a public hearing to review specific design plans for the project.  Demolition of the existing units could begin as soon as January 2018.

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