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Arroyo Seco Foundation

News of the Arroyo


Arroyo group unveils new ideas, including a museum and new restaurants for Arroyo Seco in Pasadena





July 27, 2017 - The Arroyo Advisory Group, appointed by Mayor Tornek and the City of Pasadena to plan a new vision for the Arroyo, held their first public meeting on Tuesday to mixed reviews on the projects and vision the group presented. Should the vision emphasize the nature of the Arroyo or fill it up with a lot of new recreational venues?


Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune


Pasadena Star-News


Bruce Sutherland, of Pasadena, looks over the City of Pasadena's Arroyo Seco map during the inaugural meeting of the "One Arroyo" group on Tuesday night, July 25, 2017 in Pasadena. It was formed by Mayor Terry Tornek to find out how to improve the area that stretches from JPL to beyond South Pasadena. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

PASADENA >> The ideas came pouring in: a fine dining restaurant designed in the arts and crafts style; a coffee bar serving cyclists and joggers on the Rose Bowl loop; an amphitheater for staging live theater or showing movies; converting float-decorating warehouses during summer months into indoor soccer pitches.

These were just some of the amenities the mayor’s Arroyo Advisory Group proposed for the central Arroyo Seco Park, unveiled for the first time Tuesday night in front of more than 100 people at the Pasadena Convention Center.

And for the most part, the ideas did not find a warm reception.

During the open mic portion, a majority said they wanted less commercial activity in the Arroyo, not more. Many said more events would only bring more traffic to the surrounding neighborhoods.

But most spoke of restoring the Arroyo Seco, a natural stream that begins in the mountains. It flows — slower — through concrete channels near Brookside Golf Course and the Rose Bowl and into the South Arroyo, pass the archery range, La Casita del Arroyo and under the La Loma Bridge now called the John Van de Kamp Bridge, eventually joining the walled-in Los Angeles River that flows to the ocean.

“I’ve been advocating a watershed approach. My concern is that this plan might emphasize too much on economic activity,” said Jonathan Frame, an engineer and Pasadena resident.

Most of the ideas came from Don Hahn, a group member and Hollywood movie producer whose house overlooks the Arroyo. Hahn’s short video showed artist renderings of several of the concepts, all up for grabs but not set in stone.

Plans should capture the legacy of the Arroyo, including famous Pasadena residents through the ages, such as Gen. George S. Patton, naturalist John Muir, Jackie Robinson and Julia Child. He proposed the new restaurant be called “Julia’s at Brookside” and wanted a single Arroyo Muir Trail to tie the 22-acre area together for walkers, hikers, equestrians and bicycle riders.

“I see a story. I see a legacy we can lean into and grab onto. A legacy of sports and of statesmen and women, of great, accomplished people,” he told the audience.

Hahn envisioned a museum, he said, to tell the story of Pasadena, from summer haven for Midwestern industrialists to the historic Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl sporting events and legacy concerts. For example, in 1994 both Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones played at the bowl and more recently the megagroup U2. He also proposed turning half of the stadium into a kind of Hollywood Bowl for outdoor opera and classical music concerts.

It would be similar New York’s Central Park, which stages Shakespeare in the Park and outdoor concerts, Hahn said.

“I love using the Central Arroyo as an arts venue,” he told the group.

Planning Commissioner Felicia Williams said there needs to be better access in the area, especially for walkers and bike riders.

“If we develop alternative access to the Arroyo we can reduce the negative impacts to the neighborhoods,” she said.

The city had previously drawn up plans for $80 million in amenities to the Arroyo and Hahamongna Watershed Park. Most were not completed due to limited funds, Bill Bogaard, former mayor and co-chair of the group, said during his presentation.

Doug Kranwinkle, co-chair and a member of the Rose Bowl Operating Committee, said it was easy to suggest new amenities but harder to fund them. Funding may come from charging higher rents to arroyo tenants, an assessment district or a new fund-raising organization focused on the Arroyo. The group will also go after grants from corporations and governmental entities.

Kranwinkle said starting with modest projects may be the best approach, such as improving the 22 miles of trails, adding new way-finding signs and restoring habitat for plants and animals.

“I believe we can find sources for funding for this if we can make a strong case for it. This great city deserves a great park,” he said.

The group will hold a “One Arroyo Day” on Nov. 18 to further publicize the effort. It hopes to release a report with recommendations to the Pasadena City Council in December. To learn more, go to




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