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Documenting History Before Planning the Future

710 Advisory Group outlines proposed Historical Report

Published on Thursday, November 16, 2023 | 6:42 am

Imagine the opportunity to build a whole new neighborhood from the ground up. New architecture and a new look, new street design, new infrastructure, even a new name. 

Such is the immense and enviable mission of the City’s Reconnecting Communities 710 Advisory Group, a 16-member committee which will help to devise and implement the unknown number of elements eventually needed just to help devise the eventual Master Plan, leading to the creation of a neighborhood to replace the one leveled in the early 60s, to extend the 710 Freeway.

The Reconnecting Communities 710 Advisory Group is now charged with developing those overall plans to once again establish the area as a new and viable neighborhood, essentially building a brand new community where there has not been one for decades. 

The committee has previously noted that the new neighborhood will require some type of Specific Plan, which is derived from a City’s overall General Plan. A Master Plan could take from five to ten years.

On Wednesday, the Advisory Group met with principals from the Architectural Resources Group (ARG). Katie E. Horak, Principal in charge and Project Manager Elysha Paulszek outlined their Historical Task report, which is being used to develop a historical context for the Master Plan. 

The Historical Task Report is one of three tasks requested in the Advisory Group’s original request for Proposal (RFP).

According to the Group’s proposal, the historical report “will document the history of freeway construction in Pasadena and the displacement of the community resulting from the construction of the SR 710 and SR 210. The project also includes an oral history component, which will bring a crucial community perspective, and an examination of the ways in which freeway construction has impacted demographics and segregation in the city.”

The second task proposed by the Advisory Group would be to create an Oral History Report, along with a third report on the “Impacts of Freeways on Segregation in Pasadena.” 

Tasks Two and Three are being undertaken by other consultants who will be presenting to the Advisory Group early in the new year.

Taken together, the reports would create an overall perspective on any plans to come, as the Master Plan is created, long before any construction would begin.

 Paulszek told the advisory group that ARG “will be researching and documenting the history of freeway construction in Southern California in general to give sort of an overview and background for the report and then in Pasadena, specifically related to the 710 and the 210.” 

In addition, said  Paulszek, ARG will be documenting the Eminent Domain process that Caltrans undertook for the construction of those freeways. ARG will then “document and illustrate the demographics of those displaced by the construction of the freeways, the individuals and businesses displaced by the construction,” she said. 

ARG will also be documenting where those individuals and businesses were relocated, said Paulszek. 

“We’re anticipating looking at sources that will include Caltrans records, census data, city directories, and fire insurance maps from the 1950s and sources like that to aid our efforts,” she said. 

“All of that information will be then compiled into a series of reports that will lay out all of that and discuss the history of freeway construction related to the 710 and the 210, and the displacement process,” said Paulszek, “as well as the efforts by the communities in those areas to oppose the freeways. 

“The report would also include some background and contrast to the opposition efforts that happened in surrounding communities and in the ways that those efforts had very different results,” she said. 

According to Paulszek, ARG is looking at a timeline that will be “between 10 and 12 months.”

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