The Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District was established August 31, 1959. It was formed as the Del Paso Recreation and Park District, named for the surrounding Rancho Del Paso, which had previously been a world-famous thoroughbred breeding center. As an independent special district, the park district has an elected five member board serving four-year staggered terms.
The district is located in the north central section of Sacramento County including portions of Arden-Arcade, North Highlands, Carmichael, and Foothill Farms. It is bounded by Madison Avenue on the north, Manzanita Avenue on the east, Cypress Avenue and Winding Way on the south and Watt Avenue on the west. The five square mile district has approximately 23,000 residents.
In the district's early years the large property lot sizes and a small population in the area led the Board to adopt a long-standing policy on establishing neither parks nor recreation programs. In fact, by the late 1960s, the Del Paso Recreation and Park District was unique among the state's 100+ park districts as the "park district without parks." This policy continued until 1971, when the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Sacramento County detached the northern 1/3 of the district and transferred it to the neighboring Citrus Heights Recreation and Park District (which did offer parks and recreation services. The district fought the Board of Supervisors decision in court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which found in 1973 that the County was justified in reducing the size of a 'non-park district.'
Even before the case had finished working its way through the legal process, the Board of Directors had gradually had a change of heart. In 1971, the Board hired Rick Janecke as its first part-time employee to begin a recreation program and appointed a ten-member committee to evaluate the park and recreation needs of the district. As a result, the Board adopted a Park Master Plan in May 31, 1972 which called for the acquisition and development of park sites situated throughout the district.
On June 5, 1974, the Board of Directors changed the name of the district to the Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District. Within months, the Board had hired Rod McKenzie as the first full-time Administrator for the district. McKenzie developed the first policies for the operations of the district and hired staff to maintain the new park land.
From the mid-1970s to 1990s, the district acquired and developed the park system through phases as grant money and land dedication funds became available. The current district facilities include;
• Oakdale Park, a 10 acre neighborhood park (agreement since 1973),
• Hamilton Street Park, an 18 acre community park (1975)
• Arcade Creek Park, a 12 acre neighborhood park (1984), and
• Jo Smith Nature Area, a 10 acre trail along the Arcade Creek between Arcade Creek Park and American River College (1992).
Since 2000, the availability of new land for additional parks has declined and the work of the district has focused on the construction of new features and maintenance of existing amenities. In 2017, the Arcade Creek Park saw the addition of a new dog park with separate areas for large and small dogs as well as a nearby “doggy drinking fountain” that provides [separate] drinks to both canines and their humans.
In fall 2018, the district constructed a pedestrian bridge over Arcade Creek, connecting the mile long Jo Smith Nature Trail to the American River College campus. This project was completed in cooperation with the Sacramento Area Sewer District, Los Rios Community College District, and California State Parks’ Recreation Trails Program.
Today, now in its seventh decade, the district is working hard to provide local residents with safe and clean venues for the outdoor activities that many so missed during the public health "Stay at Home Orders" during the COVID-19 pandemic.