One Arroyo Group Readies Demonstration Projects for City Council, Asks for Funds Tonight
Group will be asking for $125,000 from City, Rose Bowl coffers to begin major fundraising for Arroyo Seco restoration and maintenance
|February 5, 2018 - The Arroyo Advisory Group, formed a year ago to give shape to Mayor Tornek's call to enhance the Arroyo, will make their presentation tonight to the Pasadena City Council.|
Just over a year since Mayor Terry Tornek spearheaded the creation of the Arroyo Advisory Group to develop “One Arroyo,” a cohesive vision for the Arroyo Seco, as well as to raise private funds for the plan, the group on Monday will make its second presentation to the City Council, asking for $100,000 from the City’s general fund to begin the major fundraising effort.
The group will also request an additional $25,000 from the Rose Bowl Operating Company, a city entity.
The overall plan of creating an end-to-end trail system with amenities and maintenance throughout the Arroyo has been projected to cost $37 million in total. Former Mayor Bill Bogaard, a leader of the project, said Friday that the Arroyo Advisory Group “wants to take this process step-by-step first of all in raising funds.”
“We don’t expect significant new spending by the city,” said Bogaard.
“Secondly,” he added, “there will be opportunities in the months ahead to review the plan in detail and offer comments on what exactly should be done in the year when funding is available. The city’s resources are short and so our job is to find new sources of funding.
“The purpose of the new nonprofit,” continued Bogaard, “will not include maintenance responsibilities at this point in time, but we’ve seen in other situations where a private nonprofit has been formed to support public parks and over time, their duties have been expanded as they have proved the ability to raise money and to handle other responsibilities relating to the park.
In 2017, the Rose Bowl Operating Company engaged the services of HR&A and Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCHS) to develop the concept plan for an improved end-to- end trail system. Since August, RCHS developed preliminary trail design concepts and cost estimates, and HR&A prepared guidance about public and private financing opportunities for the trail system, including the importance of addressing significant deferred maintenance, according to a City staff report.
Working together and with the Arroyo Advisory Group and City staff, three key trail objectives were identified in support of the One Arroyo vision:
The first is “Connect,” which would constitute the minimum improvements to create a unified One Arroyo Trail; “Enhance,” which would entail improvements that further enhance the user experience along the trails, and finally, “Inspire,” which would be additional “inspirational designs that foster a deeper connection to the Arroyo and Arroyo watershed.”
According to the staff report for the Council, the Arroyo Advisory group recognized that it could take a generation or more to bring the entire One Arroyo vision to fruition. As such, according to the staff report, the AAG is recommending that the program be implemented in phases, beginning with a demonstration project to catalyze fundraising and serve as a proof of concept.
The consultant team has prepared two demonstration project concepts that focus on special habitat restoration areas at key connection points within the Arroyo, at transition points which separate the major sections of the Arroyo.
Referred to as the “Woodlands Loop” and “Streamside Walk,” the first is located to the North, and just under the Devil’s Gate Dam, and the second is located to the South and adjacent to the soft bottom and low-flow stream areas in the Lower Arroyo.
Though the principals in the project—Bogaard and Doug Kranwinkel—are optimistic about the project and its future potential, at least one Arroyo thought leader and activist believes that the project may not be thinking “environmentally” enough.
“I don’t see a lot of vision with regards to real environmental restoration and really treating it as the unique environmental resource that it is,” Tim Brick, Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, told Pasadena Now on Friday.
Brick’s group successfully challenged the LA County Flood Control District’s massive plans for a dredging project behind Devil’s Gate Dam last year, and has been working on conservation of the Arroyo for at least two decades.
As Brick, who strongly supports the idea of connecting trails in the Arroyo, explained, “In terms of the work that (the Arroyo Seco Foundation) has done, (One Arroyo) is going to call Monday night for the formation of the new corporation that’s going to raise money for the Arroyo, which we’ve been doing for 20 years, and they don’t seem to acknowledge it. They’re also going to call for an organization that’s going to promote more volunteer activity in the Arroyo. We’ll, we’ve been doing that for 30 years, and again, they don’t seem to acknowledge that, either. So, I just think they’re taking a rather narrow approach towards what it really means to improve the Arroyo.”
As Brick summarized, “The message of the Arroyo Seco Foundation is very simple. It contains three different thoughts: The first is that we want to see a natural Arroyo that really emphasizes the environmental values of the Arroyo.
“The second,” said Brick, “is that we want to see spring restoration. And the third part of it is that the City of Pasadena really needs to work more positively with the partners like the Arroyo Seco Foundation and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the US Army Corps of Engineers and even the County of Los Angeles.”
Still, Kranwinkle was upbeat as he explained Arroyo’s goals.
“[The community] told us they liked the Arroyo Seco,” he said, “and that they like the naturalness of it, most of all, but said that it could use some additional amenities, and some additional programming, and that it above all else needs a lot of maintenance, which it hasn’t been getting until quite recently. They also want it to be kept quite natural and not turn into a Disneyland.
Keeping his optimistic tone, Kranwinkel concluded, “I truly think the community’s going to like what we’re proposing. We’re not proposing to change in any way to the detriment of the community what is already there. We’re proposing to make it better and make it more usable and accessible, but without destroying the naturalness.”
One resident who saw a preview of the presentation wrote to the group, “Congratulations on a great proposal. The Arroyo has become a fraying remnant of a natural paradise, and I had anticipated a slick brochure calling for a gilding of the golden enterprises around the Rose Bowl and a patching of tattered trails at both ends, the inertia model based on tight budgets. But this offers a way to make the Arroyo, again, a worthy destination in itself.”
Arroyo Seco Foundation, 570 W. Avenue 26 #450, Los Angeles, CA 90065-1011
PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326 email@example.com