By Brandon HENSLEY
Now appears to be the summer of Crescenta Valley’s discontent, worsened at the Town Council meeting July 15.
There, inside the community room at the La Crescenta Library, some residents were up in arms over the news of a possible remodeling that would be done to the La Crescenta Community Trail next to Two Strike Park on Rosemont Avenue.
Frank Moreno and Frances Yee of L.A. County Parks and Recreation presented a slideshow of what the proposed redesign would look like. Improved entrances – including newly-built steps with better landscaping – new facilities and eight-foot high fences were included in the presentation.
“It’s just basically an improvement of what’s there now, and to allow people to get better access there and then use it for recreational purposes within your neighborhood,” Yee told the audience. Costs for the project are estimated to be around $500,000.
The audience, however, was not entirely receptive. There is serious concern over new entrances that will be made. That has residents near the park worried about an increase in crime, something several people made clear in their public comments. The park has been an ongoing center for drug-related activity.
Resident Jim Lumsden, who did not attend the meeting but has been vocal about the project over the week and lives just north of the park, said, “We do not want additional ingress and egress avenues for the park. Bottom line. What do you think that area will turn into for drug use, drug transactions, during the night time?”
Other concerns included what opening more pathways might do to the area’s flood control. In addition, community members were displeased in the short amount of time given for notice of the meeting. Many were only notified of the issue, and the fact that it would be the point of discussion at the meeting, that same day.
“We were surprised this was being done and had been funded without anyone telling us at all,” said Mike Klaessens in his public comments.
The residents had to be reminded though that the plans are in the conceptual stages.
“This is a presentation to the community to get input and then they will go back and they will speak to [County Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s] office,” said CVTC president Cheryl Davis. “Obviously there’s a notification step that needs to be done, and then we will come back and present again.”
“This is supported by your community, this wasn’t something that we dreamt up,” said Moreno. That line set off a backlash of comments that not everybody supports this idea. Moreno later apologized.
“I should have clarified that by saying we’ve received some support,” and added that he was trying to be sensitive to the subject.
The council also touched on the ongoing issue of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree that sits on the Realty Executives property on the 2600 block of Foothill. The tree is in danger of dying when parking lot excavation will begin on the complex that is being built on the next door lot. The tree is over 100 years old, and a small vigil was held in protest next to the tree July 13.
Davis and councilman Frank Beyt met with the owner of the property under construction, and he told Davis and Beyt that when they get to the roots of the tree, they will consult with an arborist about what to do next.
“He does not wish to anger the community, he understands the concerns … he doesn’t want to kill the tree is exactly what he said.” Davis said.
The new building came as a surprise to the community. L.A. County did not notify the Town Council, nor did it have to. Plans were approved in April 2009, making it exempt from the Community Standards District, which was put into place last October. The CSD has a say in what new buildings will look like, architecturally and color-wise.
Davis was asked when the council found out about the project, and she replied, “I found out about it when the construction fence went up.”
Despite the hot weather, CV Water District general manager Dennis Erdman was on hand to report that the district had not yet gone into six million gallons of usage for a day. Erdman said in years past usage would routinely go into six or seven million gallons.
The next CVTC meeting will be held at the La Crescenta Library on Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.