Council Approves One Arroyo Project Demonstration Project Launch

Foundation will form non-profit, begin major fundraising efforts

Published : Wednesday, August 22, 2018 | 5:16 AM

The “One Arroyo” project is go for launch.

The Pasadena City Council Monday approved the final recommendation by the Arroyo Advisory Group (AAG) to secure initial funding for two demonstration projects as the first step in the “One Arroyo” project.

The projects are the beginning of a long-term strategy to preserve and protect the Arroyo Seco, the City’s largest natural preserve.

The effort was begun more than a year and a half ago by Mayor Terry Tornek who, in his “State of the City” address, as he challenged local leaders to develop such a plan. From that challenge, the AAG was formed to develop the “One Arroyo” project.

“This is another step in a very important direction that has been identified, said City Manager Steve Mermell, “a path that we might pursue to help develop the resources necessary to reinvest, to properly maintain and enhance the Arroyo.”

“The Arroyo Seco is a unique and extremely valuable asset for all Pasadenans,” said AAG co-founder Doug Kranwinkle, in his presentation to the Council. “It’s truly become a regional park, and deserves regional funding.”

As co-founder and former Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard told the Council, the group but will raise an initial $7 million for two Arroyo demonstration projects on its own through County and State grants and private funding, and hopes to build the two demonstration projects—the “Woodlands Loop” and the “Streamside Walk” with those funds. Kranwinkle explained that the group will form a public/private partnership to raise those funds.

It won’t be easy. It will be a slog raising that money” said Kranwinkle, “but Mr. Bogaard and I are dedicated to raising that money, and we will.”

As Bogaard explained to the Council in his presentation, “A transition is taking place in regard to our efforts to preserve and protect this natural area, the Arroyo Seco.”

According to the staff report, the AAG commissioned a fundraising assessment study and has begun the process of forming a proper nonprofit Foundation focused on the fundraising, construction, and maintenance of the trails.

The group’s fundraising study was conducted by Dr. James Erickson, a retired professor and vice chancellor of the University of California, with over 50 years of experience in advising charitable institutions, on behalf of the AAG, the report noted.

The AAC will now move from a City-commissioned task force to a community tax-exempt foundation, The One Arroyo Foundation, said Bogaard. The Foundation will be independent, but will work closely with the City, as “an ongoing mutual effort to support the Arroyo Seco,” Bogaard said.

As part of its next steps, said Bogaard, the Foundation will officially file with the State as a non-profit 501-3c, tax-exempt organization, form a full board of directors, and then launch its private fundraising efforts.

The foundation will then perform a “Full City review,” including public comments” of the two demonstration projects. The Foundation will also work with other community groups, and continue to look for new opportunities to improve the Arroyo Seco, said Bogaard, as well as create an annual “One Arroyo Day.”

“This is good work,” Vice-Mayor John Kennedy said of the presentation, “and will be great work, particularly if the fundraising mechanism materializes.”

But Kennedy also noted the original presence of the Gabrielino, Tongva, and Hahamongna native tribes in the area, and called into question historic remarks at the time by President Teddy Roosevelt, who was responsible for helping to create the official Arroyo Seco land area.

Roosevelt is pictured on the inside cover of the group’s official report.

As Kennedy described it, Roosevelt criticized the local Indian tribes, saying “I supposed I should be ashamed to say that I take the Western view of the Indian. I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indian is a dead Indian, but I believe that nine out of every ten are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth. The most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian.”

Kennedy suggested that perhaps naturalist John Muir would have been a better choice to be depicted in the report.

“In terms of the community at large, (The Arroyo Seco) is an incredible resource,” said Councilmember Steve Madison. “We talk a lot about social justice, and this is an opportunity to provide that resource to more people without diminishing the quality of life of the neighbors. It’s really a win-win.”

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