By Charly SHELTON
Twenty-seven billion dollars. That is how much was raised through a fee called a Development Impact Fee levied on all development in Glendale. Charged by the square foot on property built or demolished in the city limits to anyone who is building a new structure or adding footage to an existing structure, this is no small amount of money. The City of Glendale is using that DIF to enrich parks and libraries. The parks component is much larger and therefore more can be done with the allocated funds. But what to do? A DIF Community Outreach Meeting was held by the city last Thursday to gather information on what the public wants to see in park improvements.
The meeting was held by Sam Gennawey of Katherine Padilla & Associates, the consulting group hired by the City to organize such events. Three events were held throughout the city over the last month, with the most recent being at the Pacific Community Center in Pacific Park. Ideas were thrown out from all corners of the Glendale area, including adding official pickleball courts, a butterfly garden and a bike park. One suggestion on how to spend the money came from Stuart Byles of the Stone Barn Vineyard Conservancy in La Crescenta.
“When we’re working in the vineyard,” said Byles, “the question we get all the time is ‘When are they going to open the barn? What’s in the barn? What are they going to do with the barn? Can we get in the barn right now?’ This is something I hope they can get done because we don’t have a place like this for community meetings. I know that the city has great plans for the interior of the barn. It would just be nice to have it done.”
Another concern for some residents at the meeting was Rockhaven.
“[Rockhaven] is enormous and … it would make a beautiful historic park. There is some space there which can be used for other measures as well,” said a resident who voiced interest in the local landmark.
“There’s lots to be done there, you could add a small pool,” said another resident. “You could [keep some of the area inside available] so it becomes a community area, and a community center as well. It’s going to be utilized because we don’t have a community center at all in North Glendale. There’s nowhere for us to go.”
Further suggestions were made for Rockhaven and the Stone Barn, with varying uses suggested for each. One resident pointed out that the funds for those projects were redirected to other uses within the city.
“Trader Joe’s lease money was supposed to go to the rehabilitation [of Rockhaven and the Stone Barn] and it’s been redirected to other places in the city so I think it’s only fair that some of the money should come back.” voiced one resident.
The data from all three meetings will be compiled by KPA, and then presented to the City for decisions on next steps.