Featured, News

Pasadena Residents Rally Saturday to Save Civic Center and Surrounding Trees

 

Marsha Rood (right, holding megaphone), former Pasadena development administrator, pointed out that the proposed development would also necessitate the removal of several protected city trees. – Photo by Terry Miller

Marsha Rood (right, holding megaphone), former Pasadena development administrator, pointed out that the proposed development would also necessitate the removal of several protected city trees. – Photo by Terry Miller

 

By Terry Miller

Dozens of Pasadena residents joined forces Saturday morning in the publicly-owned park facing city hall (100 N. Garfield Ave.), for the clear and definite purpose of saying “no” to a proposed give-away of one of the city’s two most recognizable parks.

The small parkland in question was purchased through a 1923 bond, specifically designed to complete the City Beautiful Bennett Plan, anchored by the Pasadena City Hall and plaza (the backdrop for the “Parks and Recreation” TV show, as well as many Hollywood films), extending north and south to include the City’s Public Library and Civic Auditorium.

It was not purchased to be given away to a hotel developer, in order to restore the old YWCA building, an architectural landmark designed by Julia Morgan, the architect of Hearst Castle, nor to bring in City of Pasadena General Fund money to help the city pay off the bad investments of CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System).

Using a bull horn, residents, including long-time community activist Crystal Balvin, shared memories of the Civic Center, while others stood under a “For Sale for Free” real estate sign and filled out post cards which were delivered to the mayor and city council. The postcards ask that the city create a new RFP (request for proposals) that allows citizens to weigh in on the future use of this land and no longer condone the private or developer-organized meetings that until now have characterized this project.

 

Residents in attendance submitted hand-written postcards of protest to Mayor Tornek and the Pasadena City Council. – Photo by Terry Miller

Residents in attendance submitted hand-written postcards of protest to Mayor Tornek and the Pasadena City Council. – Photo by Terry Miller

 

According to organizers, “this project has operated outside of the normal rules of transparent decision making and community participation that have long been the cornerstones of development and city planning in Pasadena. The city council did this behind closed doors … ” former Pasadena Development Administrator Marsha Rood said.

Rood added, “We as citizens should not have to sue the city to follow its own rules and the laws of the State.”

Like many other California cities, Pasadena is looking for ways to fund its obligation to CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System), whose bad investments have left the fund without adequate revenue to meet its obligations. It is now passing that responsibility on to individual cities.

In Pasadena, residents claim the city did not conduct community-wide meetings requesting public input on this proposed give-away of the Civic Center Park, which contains two nine-foot bronze sculptures of Pasadena native-sons and sports heroes, Jackie and Mack Robinson.

Residents say the city should look for other sources of funding and avoid setting a precedent of giving away its most valuable and recognizable publicly-owned park space to facilitate over-sized commercial developments.

August 8, 2016

About Author

Pasadena Independent Our team focuses on delivering you the most informative and interesting articles from a variety of sections to keep you well-equipped with everyday knowledge!


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Pasadena Residents Rally Saturday to Save Civic Center and Surrounding Trees”

  1. Christle Balvin says:

    Wonderful article by Terry Miller who so concisely grasped the main points of the protest at the Pasadena Civic Center. To give away public land, purchased by the people of Pasadena for a park, is against the intent of the people. In this age of Climate Change where every tree has a value in absorbing the onslaught of carbon in our air, no hotel is worth the demolition of this park and its trees. So residents have a last chance to speak out before the Pasadena City Council at 6:30 p.m. next Monday night, August 15th. Hope to see you there.
    Christle Balvin

  2. Steven S. Lamb, Society of Organic Architects says:

    It is TOTALLY surrealistic that Pasadena could have become so craven to developers that this project that would destroy its sacred secular space be considered in any way other than laughing it out of the Building Department. This parkland is literally at the heart of the city, is a respite for shoppers, people doing business with officialdom, office workers and residents. From the start it was planned to be so. In a City whose population is spinning out of control and rapidly reaching complete build out, MORE Parkland, MORE public space, not the subtraction of those are desperately needed. Hotels not so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial