File - Members of the the Pasadena Roving Archers in the Lower Arroyo Seco Park in May 2011. A new proposal will go before the Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 aiming to resolve a conflict between the Pasadena Roving Archers and other outdoor recreationists in the Lower Arroyo. Walt Mancini — Staff photographer, File
By Lauren Gold, Pasadena Star-News
POSTED: 12/02/13, 7:06 PM PST
PASADENA>> A slightly revised proposal for the Lower Arroyo Archery Range will go before the Parks and Recreation Commission Tuesday after an initial plan sparked controversy and caused the City Council to send staff back to the drawing board.
The new proposal aims to resolve a long-standing conflict between members of the Pasadena Roving Archers (PRA) club and other archers and other outdoor recreationists in the coveted Lower Arroyo.
The city’s previous contract with the PRA, which offers classes at the range, expired in 2010. The range, which local archers tout as the oldest in the world, has occupied the space between the La Loma and Colorado Street bridges for more than 75 years.
“I’m relatively recent to Pasadena, but I’ve been an archer my entire life, and I’m surprised how animated the discussion has got at times. And personally I’ve heard wild accusations on both sides,” PRA President Gary Spiers said. “I would have thought that Pasadena would want this as potentially a draw to bring people into Pasadena.”
The Sept. 16 council meeting saw lengthy public comment, with speakers on both sides and a heated council discussion that stretched into the early-morning hours. The council took no action and asked staff to report back with a new plan.
The new proposal is largely the same as the one that went before council in September with a few minor changes. It designates the range exclusively for archery, rather than allowing hikers or others to use it, as some had proposed in the past. The Parks and Recreation Commission has twice rejected a mixed-use proposal for the range.
“The recommendation that we are making to the Recreation and Parks Commission is the same. Some of the detail in the report has changed,” Public Works Administrator Charles Peretz said. “We weren’t directed that our proposal was insufficient before, the council just asked for additional information and asked that we bring it back to the Parks and Recreation Commission for additional review, and I feel confident we’ve done that.”
The new agreement with the PRA has been slightly altered to require the nonprofit to provide safety training classes to anyone who wishes to use the range, and the income from the classes will be divided depending on the percentage of participants that are Pasadena residents.
The city will also require the PRA to provide a membership roster as well as program participants. The organization will also be required to remove a storage area from part of the range and provide members with information about off-site parking and carpooling.
The agreement also states that if the city finds another location to move the range, the single-use designation for that portion for the Arroyo could be revisited.
Spiers said the club has an issue with the requirement to turn over their membership list, something Spiers says is not asked of any other club or organization in the city.
“If you consider the fact that if the city wants to contract with us to provide archery services, that would be like the city asking another organizations to provide the addresses of its employees,” Spiers said. “It is not clear to me why the membership list is being asked for.”
Spiers said the request may also be against a federal court ruling, but Peretz said the city “has been assured” that the requirement is not illegal.
Those who oppose the PRA’s use of the range also voiced some concerns about the slightly revised proposal. In a letter to the Parks and Recreation Commission, resident John Fauvre said it does not address concerns about arrows flying into neighboring yards and said he thinks the PRA should still pay some portion of range operating costs.
“The plan has improved but some issues remain unexplained and some call for special consideration,” Fauvre said.
The Parks and Recreation Commission will vote on the agreement today and the issue will ultimately come back to the Council for a final decision.
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