A new city park in downtown Pasadena got the thumbs up from the City Council on Monday afternoon and many locals couldn’t be happier.
The 2/3-acre park will run along the north side of Union Street between El Molino and Oak Knoll Avenues, at the sites of a parking lot which will be retained and improved and a former Banner Bank, which was razed.
During Monday’s meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a $4 million contract with Norco-based Act 1 Construction Inc. to carry out the work with the instructions that city staff encourage the contractors to hire local businesses and residents as part of the work allocation for subcontractors.
Plans call for landscaping and other improvements, along with a refurbished 48 parking spaces car park.
The concept of a parklet in what was then called the Playhouse District had been discussed since 2012. The city approved the purchase of the land and the adjoining parking lot for $3.15 million in early-2018.
“I’m thrilled,” said Jonathan Edewards of the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association. “This has been a very long time in the works, I think 10 years or more.”
Edewards said the city had been very supportive and that the Playhouse Village Association had “really carried a lot of water” on the project.
Pasadena City Councilman John Kennedy of District 3, where the park is to be built, said it was good to finally see the project becoming a reality.
“This is a commitment that the City Council made — not only to District 3, but all the districts in the city of Pasadena — that we will build a park because we are park deficient,” he said.
“It’s actually coming to fruition where we will see a real pocket park in a part of our community that needs it, where people live in mid-rise apartments and condos and townhouses that just simply did not have enough recreational space,” Kennedy said. “So I’m very happy that we’re on the right track.”
Kennedy added that he hoped to see construction underway by the end of the year.
“This is just an extraordinary occasion for not just the Playhouse district, but for all of Pasadena,” he said. “I’m grateful that the staff has worked very hard with the Playhouse [Village] Association. And we’re going to get this done.”
The Playhouse Village Association has long sought a park and been involved in the community planning process for years, according to group President Brian Wallace.
“So this is the culmination of many years of discussions, visioning and planning. And most recently, a few years of stakeholder-led design efforts from the community and city staff,” he said.
“As an organization, we’re really excited to see the project finally coming to fruition in a final design phase. And we anticipate groundbreaking this August,” Wallace said.
One the park, which was yet to be named, is built, “we look forward to partnering with the city on making sure the new park and the parking lot are clean and attractive,” he said. “The benefit of having the Playhouse village association as a partner will mean that the community gets involved in really making sure it’s a top-notch new urban park for the neighborhood.”