New group seeks ideas for Pasadena's ‘over-loved' Arroyo Seco
|Pasadena Star News|
|In a January Pasadena City Council meeting, Mayor Terry Tornek, in one compound word, aptly described the dilemma facing the city’s greatest recreational asset: The Arroyo Seco is “over-loved.”|
And that’s on a normal day, when the magnificent canyon, which begins high in the San Gabriels and sweeps past JPL on its way to the confluence with the Los Angeles River is just filled with Hahamongna hikers, Rose Bowl loop runners, the swift peloton of professional-level cyclists, Brookside golfers, Kidspace kids, tennis players on the city’s best public courts, Aquatic Center swimmers and divers, park picnickers, casting pond fly fishers, archers, equestrians, frolicking dogs and coyotes, an armada of huge Canada geese whose goslings have just emerged in the spring hatch.
Whereas on a New Year’s Day when America’s greatest college football game is played in the hallowed stadium, or U2 fills the Rose Bowl for a rock extravaganza as the Irish band will on May 20 and 21, or the entire golf course is closed for the Arroyo Weekend music festival June 24 and 24, it’s pure pandemonium in the natural area that President Teddy Roosevelt once famously proclaimed “would make one of the greatest parks in the world.”
Guess what, ghost of TR? A century from your prediction, it is!
But loving is better than over-loving, and Pasadena’s leaders know they need to find a way toward some couples counseling in this otherwise happy relationship between people and place.
Being Pasadena, that means forming a committee of wise men and women, right?
Slightly wrong, emphasized former Mayor Bill Bogaard and Rose Bowl Operating Company board member Doug Kranwinkle when I met with them last week about the newly formed Arroyo Advisory Group, which they co-chair.
“The group is not a task force, and definitely not a commission!” Bogaard said with a laugh. “We want to underscore that this is just some citizen support at the grassroots level that the city played a role in instigating as well as providing some early funding. We are here, we hope, to help enhance and enlighten.”
The pair have known each other for over 50 years, since they were University of Michigan Law School classmates in the 1960s, and both have been instrumental in creating contemporary Pasadena. (You know what the five-term mayor did for the city. Kranwinkle, the former top lawyer for Univision and managing partner of O’Melveny & Myers, led the investigation into the City Hall $6 million embezzlement scandal.)
Now the pair, along with a stellar group of civic leaders and Arroyo enthusiasts, have been tasked by Mayor Tornek with creating a future vision for the complexities of the canyon, including: Plans by the National Park Service to add the Arroyo to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area; a potential habitat restoration by the Army Corps of Engineers that could include re-naturalizing the stream bed by tearing out the concrete; mitigating the effect of the county’s sediment-removal project behind Devil’s Gate Dam; looking at the long-term future of the 36 holes of golf and the Brookside Clubhouse, which might need to be fixed up in order to get more revenue out of its meeting rooms.
Both Bogaard and Kranwinkle are excited about the visual aid in creating a unifying vision the group is getting from member Don Hahn, the producer of “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast,” who has a studio on the East Arroyo’s edge. He’s created a visual presentation that imagines some of the Arroyo’s possibilities that will be shown Wednesday, May 3, at the annual meeting of the West Pasadena Residents Association.
And they both want to emphasize that their effort won’t be a top-down one over the next six months of meetings and outreach to the public. They want ideas as the group considers the Arroyo holistically in attempts to find a balance between the problems and the possibilities offered by so much love of place. A draft of the vision statement: “Pasadena’s great outdoor space, the historic Arroyo Seco, will become One Arroyo. From the headwaters in the north to the tributary waters in the south, its natural habitats and historic sites will be connected by an extraordinary end-to-end trail system, anchored by a central hub.”
Send me Arroyo dreams of your own, and I will pass them on.
Arroyo Seco Foundation, PO Box 91622, Pasadena, CA 91109-1622 (323) 405-7326 firstname.lastname@example.org