By Ted AYALA
Residents of South Glendale have long complained over the area’s lack of open public spaces. Glendale City Council on Tuesday took a step to rectifying this problem, approving a proposal for a 28-acre park that would cover sections of the 134 Freeway.
According to a city report on the project, dubbed “Space 134,” northern and central sections of the city average 3.35 to 6.67 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents. In South Glendale that ratio drops to .017 to .64 per 1,000.
“The freeway [cap park] would help resolve the inequity in park space,” the report stated.
The report laid out the proposal for the project that would be unfurled in three stages, a process that will be estimated to take about 20 years to reach completion.
“We have to be realistic here,” said Councilmember Dave Weaver. “This isn’t going to happen very quickly. This is a good report.”
Space 134, which would sprawl across Glendale and Central avenues, would serve as a community hub for area residents. Included in the project would be mass transit stops, exercise equipment, hiking trails, and charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as park land.
The project will be designed with the cooperation of the Meléndrez urban design firm of Los Angeles.
Similarly designed parks already exist elsewhere in Southern California. A local example can be found in La Cañada Flintridge’s Memorial Park. A portion of that park, which is approximately 1½ acre, stretches over the 210 Freeway.
“We’re a big city and we’re a great city,” said Councilmember Laura Friedman. “There’s no reason we can’t have an amenity like this. We love the idea.”
The initial funding for the project was provided by the Southern California Association of Government’s “Compass Blueprint Grant Program.” Those grants are used for projects that create public spaces that invite walking as well as promoting interconnectedness of these communities through mass transit.
Though an initial grant to move the project forward has been made, the project’s future hinges on obtaining more funds to complete Space 134.
“There’s $280 million in Measure R funds that are available for our region,” said Councilmember Ara Najarian. “I’m not saying that that’s where we’ll spend those funds, but there is money out there. In general, I do support this idea.”
“I think that this will happen in my lifetime,” said Mayor Frank Quintero about the project’s completion. “I think it is feasible. Certainly worth pursuing without question because it adds a lot to the city. It certainly will be a park that will provide a lot of open space and commercial opportunities.”