By Mary O’KEEFE
During July’s Montrose Shopping Park Assn. meeting on Thursday morning, Jess Duran, director of Community Services and Parks, and Chris Peplow answered board questions concerning the recent clearing and planting of areas along Honolulu Avenue.
The board’s overwhelming concern was the long barren areas along the avenue where plants had been taken out and brown dirt is now exposed.
“We thought we had reached out,” Duran said of efforts to discuss planting issues with the MSPA. “We wanted to take this opportunity to evaluate and to make modifications [to the planting].”
The vegetation is being taken from areas throughout the City of Glendale and Montrose as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order concerning the drought. Part of that executive order announced in April requires the State Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory water reduction in cities across the state. They are required to reduce water usage by 25%.
To do this cities are replacing vegetation along medians and shopping areas, like Montrose, with drought-resistant plants. The only vegetation that is spared is that which is nourished by recycled water.
The City of Glendale has been busily responding to this executive order. The MSPA board did not question the motive behind the change in decorative vegetation but questioned the desert color palette that replaces the torn out plantings.
Peplow told the board he understood its concern and was actually waiting to hear from them before moving forward with any more planting.
“At this point we don’t have a palette yet,” said KoKo Panossian, Glendale senior parks service manager.
In several areas of the city mulch has been used to replace grass and add some color. There are some areas along Honolulu Avenue where mulch has been used and the MSPA would like to see more; however, there are some issues.
“We [have used] mulch in some locations but Montrose is unique, we can’t use [mulch] in some areas because there are no curbs to hold the [mulch in],” Panossian said. “There is a lot of foot traffic in that area and we are limited in options.”
He did add that as part of the request from MSPA and Montrose Chamber of Commerce they would be adding more plants, some with color.
The city’s conservation efforts started long before a drought was declared. There are several areas throughout the city that use recycled water. To meet the required conservation percentage required by the governor, the city has to cut its water use by 8%. This is why it is looking at local parks, medians and decorative plantings throughout the city because maintaining landscaping uses a large amount of water. Crews have cleared most of the areas already but still have some stretches of grass that need to be addressed.
The MSPA board voiced its appreciation with Duran and the city in their efforts to include its opinions and concerns about the overall look of Montrose. Peplow is even looking into drought-resistant plants that can be planted at the Vietnam Memorial that will be colorful and work within the memorial’s design.
“We are called Montrose Shopping Park,” said Gigi Garcia, MSPA vice president. “We want to keep the park feel.”
Peplow and Panossian will be meeting with MSPA board in the future with a suggested drought-resistant planting design.