Published : Tuesday, July 18, 2017 | 1:29 AM
Months after the Arroyo Advisory Group (AAG) was constituted on the basis of an agreement among City officials and community leaders that developing the Arroyo Seco, one of Pasadena’s best loved assets – often “over-loved,” as Mayor Terry Tornek puts it – should be a community effort, the advisory group received money for its mission.
On Monday, the Pasadena City Council allocated funds for the AAG so it could begin to pursue one of its main objectives for the Arroyo Seco: to put in place an “extraordinary end-to-end trail system” that will interconnect the many natural features of the Arroyo.
The initial project is in line with a preliminary vision statement that the AAG’s Vision Committee has developed and the whole Group has approved: “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, resources, and historic sites will be preserved, enhanced, and connected by an extraordinary end-to-end trail system, all anchored by a central hub.”
For Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Steve Mermell and Rose Bowl Operating Company General Manager Darryl Dunn recommended a $350,000 budget to fund the initial project.
An Agenda Report prepared by Mermell and Dunn shows part of the funds – $250,000 – will be appropriated from the Rose Bowl unappropriated fund balance to the Rose Bowl Operating Company’s Fiscal Year 2018 operating budget.
The remaining $100,000 will be reappropriated from Residential Impact Fees from the Central Arroyo Trail Realignment and Improvements Concept Study, a Capital Improvement Program project, to the “One Arroyo” Project as stated in the AAG’s vision statement.
Since January, the AAG has been conducting dialogues with several community groups in Pasadena, among them the West Pasadena Residents Association and the East Arroyo Residents Association, and made a presentation at a district meeting hosted by City Councilmember Margaret McAustin, to present the initial plans and solicit community proposals on how to develop the Arroyo Seco while preserving its natural beauty.
The AAG has also been meeting regularly since February, after its composition was completed. Former Mayor Bill Bogaard and Doug Kranwinkle were initially chosen to serve as co-chairs, and later meetings included the other members: Lorne Buchman,
William Chu, Robert Davidson, Jr., John Dean, Don Fedde, Michael Greene, Don Hahn,
Mic Hansen, Phil Hawkey, Patricia Keane, Peter Knell, Steve Mann, Tim Martinez, Sue
Mossman, Chris Rising, Dan Rothenberg, Martha Saucedo and Tom Seifert.
As recommended, establishing an end-to-end trail system throughout the Arroyo is intended to integrate the Arroyo as one, and serve as a unifying feature which will weave together the history, features and uses of the Arroyo Seco.
To move the process forward, the AAG will be needing a variety of professional services, including additional consultation with HR and A Advisors, a real estate and economic development consulting firm, towards developing a project package that would be suitable for presentation to potential funders and sufficient to perform the appropriate level of environmental review.
The AAG estimates the work scope would take six months to complete and cost approximately $350,000. After the six months, the consultant is expected to deliver a final summary trail concept and implementation strategy report. The firm has been advised to include up to three fully-developed trail concept alternatives, with associated estimated capital and operating costs, for later consideration.
In the Agenda Report, Mermell and Dunn broke down the funding requirements according to the following allocations: $265,000 for Trail Concept (including landscape architect and specialist consultants); $30,000 for outreach and engagement; $35,000 for project management and facilitation; and $20,000 as contingency.
Work on the trail concept itself will include development of an existing conditions study and report; three trail concept alternatives with recommendations to enhance the trail experience, such as landscape, facilities, signage, etc.; capital cost estimation; and funding strategy development for both operations and capital.
Apart from initiating with the funding process, the AAG has also organized itself into four working committees: a Vision committee, which finalized the preliminary vision statement; a Community Outreach and Engagement Committee, tasked with informing various Pasadena constituencies about the effort and receiving public input; a Financial Planning Committee, which will explore sustainable means of funding and develop the proposed budget to carry the effort through the balance of the calendar year; and a Projects and Priorities Committee that reviews possible projects to implement the new vision for the Arroyo.