Hahamongna Grows

Hahamongna Watershed Park is thirty acres larger today. On Tuesday, June 14, 2005, the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) unanimously approved the sale of a thirty acre parcel in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains to the City of Pasadena.

The scenic oak woodland, located immediately south of Jet Propulsion Laboratory and adjacent to Hahamongna Watershed Park in the far northwest corner of Pasadena, contains Los Angeles County Fire Camp #2, the Rose Bowl Riders equestrian facilities, Tom Sawyer Camp, and the former US Forest Service Ranger Station.

MWD bought the property from Pasadena in 1970 to use for a major water treatment plant, but as the years passed MWD's plans changed, and the Southern California water giant no longer needed the property. Pasadena and MWD worked together for several years to develop a long-term lease , but in January the MWD board rejected that lease and instructed staff to sell the property. Some fears were expressed that the sale might open up the scenic site to development or inappropriate uses, but California's surplus property act requires that public agencies must give a priority to park and open space uses in the sale of such property.

Mayor Bill Bogaard attended the MWD meeting Tuesday and told the board that Pasadena was pleased to complete the transaction to ensure that the unique parcel will be preserved.  The $1.2 million purchase agreement contains an open space and park easement which requires a permanent dedication of the property to open space and park uses and a provision to protect the existing trail network through the property. Mayor Bogaard and City Manager Cynthia Kurtz have indicated that they do not foresee any immediate changes on the property, and that future plan will be determined by a public planning process. The County Fire Camp has a fifty year lease on its site, which was renewed in 2003. The US Forest Service Ranger Station, which has now been abandoned, offers the most significant opportunity for expanding nature and recreational uses as part of Hahamongna Watershed Park.

Tim Brick, Pasadena's MWD Director who championed the transfer of the property to Pasadena for seven years, said, "This is a fantastic deal for Pasadena and for the Arroyo Seco. The price is reasonable, and the purchase terms guarantee that the property will become an integral part of Hahamongna Watershed Park for the enjoyment of future generations."