Success Story Description
The town of Locke, located in the Sacramento Delta 30 miles south of downtown Sacramento, is the only rural Chinese town left in the United States. Locke is unique in time and place. Since the California Alien Land Act prohibited Chinese from owning real property, the Chinese built the town on land they leased on a month-to-month basis. The town was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in August 1970, and became a National Historic Landmark in 1990. Locke consists of 50 buildings on 10 acres and has a low- and moderate-income population.
During the 1990s it became clear that Locke had a severe sewage problem which caused the viability of the town to be called into question. The landowner at the time lacked the finances to replace the failing system. The State threatened to close the system, and therefore the town. Additionally, many of the town's buildings were in need of stabilization and deemed unsafe. Building owners were unable to access conventional public and private financing for rehabilitation due to the lack of land ownership.
The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), working with the local community, coordinated efforts to acquire the land, thereby qualifying for USDA, EDI and CDBG funding to install a new sewer system. SHRA also used CDBG funds to stabilize many of the buildings, subdivide the land into individual lots, work with the building owners on a disposition plan, and establish a nonprofit entity to own and manage the town's common areas.
Due to the threat of fire, SHRA is using CDBG funds to install external fire suppression sprinklers to all buildings. SHRA will begin the process to legally transfer ownership of the subdivided land to the building owners in fall 2004, thereby ensuring the town's survival for years to come.
Content Archived: April 20, 2011