By Mary O’KEEFE and Charly SHELTON
New lighting, new fields, partnering with Glendale Unified School District, walking trails, biking trails, community rooms, a handball court and a park at Rockhaven were just a few of the suggestions that came from Saturday’s meetings for local park improvements.
It all started when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors reached out to community members to ask them their opinions on local park improvements. These outreach meetings have been taking place throughout the County and on Saturday it was the unincorporated L.A. County/La Crescenta and the City of Glendale’s turn to submit ideas.
Crescenta Valley Town Council led the discussion in the morning at Rosemont Middle School.
“We are making a wish list,” said CVTC President Leslie Dickson. “We are looking at [things] like, ‘Do we need more lighting or [maintenance]?’ as well as future projects.”
Dickson gave examples of past projects like the CV Dog Park that was created about 10 years ago, and the CV Skate Park that is due to open in May.
“We cannot ask for programs, no classes or security,” she told the audience regarding the county’s guidelines for suggestions.
Dickson added the CVTC had been gathering ideas over the past several months from organizations like the lacrosse team, CV Little League, AYSO, the La Crescenta Woman’s Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and local schools.
That information was compiled and each suggestion was placed on a sheet of paper. Many at the meeting added their suggestions, which included a handball court and bike and walking paths. These submissions were voted on by the audience on Saturday.
The suggestions were added to an already long collection that included enlarging and updating the CV Park community room, creating a special needs park, adding lighting at the parks and asking the County to purchase vacant land around town including the northwest corner of Rosemont and Montrose avenues, the southeast side of Sunset Avenue and Foothill Boulevard and the vacant lot at 3040 Foothill Blvd. This land, Dickson said, could be a potential pocket park or senior park. There were also ideas about partnering with GUSD to create a park/soccer/football field at Rosemont Middle School, similar to how the district has partnered with schools in Glendale to create parks.
The group even looked beyond the unincorporated area and included suggestions for parks to be created at the Verdugo Hills Golf Course within the City of L.A., which is presently being reviewed for development, and Rockhaven Sanitarium within the City of Glendale, which is also being reviewed by developers.
Both of these projects were also mentioned at a meeting at Sparr Heights Saturday afternoon that was hosted by the City of Glendale.
Similar suggestions were made at that meeting, which included ideas for Rockhaven and Verdugo Hills Golf Course, establishing walking and biking paths and utilizing vacant lands for pocket parks.
City officials also mentioned a partnership with GUSD; however, the school mentioned for the park partnership was not in far north Glendale.
There was strong support for a Rockhaven community park, which would include community rooms and an education center.
At each meeting participants were given 10 green dots, which they used to cast their votes for each proposal. They could place all on one project or spread the dots throughout 10 projects. At the Glendale meeting, Rockhaven filled about two pages with green dots.
The top 10 projects/improvements that garnered the most votes for the City of Glendale were a community building at Fremont Park, the purchase of a parcel on Foothill Boulevard between Boston and Lauderdale avenues, lighting at Montrose Park, batting cages at Montrose Park, a Verdugo north bike path, lighting at the baseball field at Montrose Park, the completion of the Les Mesnager barn at Deukmejian Wilderness Park, Verdugo Hills Golf Course, a pedestrian path at the Verdugo Wash and Rockhaven.
The CVTC did not announce the results of the voting at the Rosemont Middle School morning meeting. Both the City of Glendale and the CVTC will prepare and present reports to Michael Antonovich at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors by the end of February. The County will have its findings completed in May.
There are no actual funds available for any of the projects voted on; this was a “wish list” as Dickson stated. The outreach was a way for the public to understand how important parks are and how often the parks are used.
RPOSD (Regional Park and Open Space District) was created after voters approved Proposition A, The Safe Neighborhood Parks Act, in November 1992. This authorized an annual assessment on all parcels of property within L.A County. However, on June 30 the authority to levy assessments under Prop A sunsetted. It was extended with another vote in 1996 that extended the assessment to June 30, 2019.
Prop P was placed on the ballot in November 2014 and would have extended the Safe Neighborhood Parks Act, but did not get the two-thirds vote required. If it had succeeded it would have extended the funding through an annual $23 per parcel special tax for 30 years.
CVTC and the supervisor’s office feel the failure to pass Prop P is due to a lack of understanding of what the special tax was for and that it was not a new special tax but a continuation of Prop A. In addition to gathering information, the meetings are a way to reach out to the public about the Safe Neighborhood Parks Act and find out what community members want at their local parks.