$125,000 will kickstart fundraising towards $5 million first goal; total Arroyo trail project estimated to cost $37 million
Published : Tuesday, February 6, 2018 | 6:39 AM
Despite an attempt to have the funds kept in the Public Works budget, the Pasadena City Council ultimately approved a request by the Arroyo Advisory Group for $100,000 to launch fundraising efforts for $5 million to support one of two proposed demonstration projects in the Arroyo Seco, as part of creating a long-term, end-to-end trail system throughout the Arroyo.
The approved money will be kept and maintained by the Rose Bowl Operating Company, a City entity.
Following a comment by a resident that the Rose Bowl Operating Company was a “Good old boys club,” Councilmember John Kennedy immediately proposed that upon approval, the requested funds would be kept by the Department of Public Works. Councilmember Tyron Hampton seconded that motion, which was defeated 6-2 before the original recommended motion was passed unanimously.
Co-chair and former Mayor Bill Bogaard and co-chair Doug Kranwinkel introduced the proposed plan to the Council in a presentation. The concept was created by consultants HR&A Advisors and Rios Clementi Hale Studios for a 22-mile, end-to-end trail system in the Arroyo.
Since August, Rios Clementi Hale Studios has been developing preliminary trail design concepts and cost estimates, while HR&A Advisors has been preparing guidance about public and private financing opportunities for the trail system, according to a City staff report.
Kranwinkel emphasized to the Council that the City should seek out Federal, State, and municipally-available funding wherever possible, and told the Council that Arroyo Advisory Group would be reaching out to local environmental groups throughout the fundraising and project process.
The Arroyo Group has estimated that the final project will cost $37 million total.
Kranwinkel also praised the work of the Arroyo Seco Foundation, whose leadership has been skeptical of the plan.
The $125,000 — $100,000 from City Council and $25,000 left over from last year’s initial funding — will go towards developing a fundraising apparatus that can raise $5 million for one of two demonstration project concepts, focusing on special habitat restoration areas within the Arroyo.
Referred to as the “Woodlands Loop” and “Streamside Walk,” the first is located to the North, just under the Devil’s Gate Dam, and the second is located to the South, adjacent to the soft bottom and low-flow stream areas in the Lower Arroyo.
According to Kranwinkel, the public will ultimately decide which project is to be constructed.
Arroyo Seco Foundation Managing Director Tim Brick continued to seem unswayed over the project, saying, “I’ve heard this all before.”
Brick told the Council that his Foundation was interested in three elements with regard to the Arroyo: Emphasizing the stream, and not just the arroyo; keeping the arroyo natural, and emphasizing relationships with other agencies, including the Santa Monica Conservancy, Los County, and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
“The Arroyo is more than just this section in Pasadena,” Brick said. “It starts at Red Box Canyon and goes all the way to Downtown LA. Talk to the engineers who are restoring the LA River. That’s what we’re doing.”
Resident Ann Scheid also voiced concern over the proposed demonstration project areas, saying that both projects are in the Arroyo’s “most fragile areas.”
Charles Thomas, director of Outward Bound Adventures, told the Council that his Muir High School-based group, which works with at-risk youth and nature, is available to help in any way it can.
City Manager Steve Mermell reported to the Council that the Arroyo Group will return to the Council in six months to provide an update.