To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at email@example.com
Friday, March 29, 2013
JPL parking lot, soccer field project to be removed from Hahamongna Park
A trail running along the
eastern fence of Jet Propulsion Laboratory is temporarily closed while
construction of a new parking structure continues at Hahamongna
Watershed Park in Pasadena on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.
PASADENA -- Jet
Propulsion Laboratory is preparing to remove its ecological footprint
from neighboring Hahamongna Watershed Park, which also will be freed
from a controversial soccer field plan if the state approves a change in
grant funding. Both projects are being welcomed by open space advocates
who have taken a keen interest in Hahamongna.
The JPL project involves building a new parking structure on the east
side of its campus. Workers will park there instead of the east lot in
the middle of the Arroyo Seco, which will be torn up and renovated as
Construction on the new parking structure is expected to last about
18 months, and JPL has temporarily closed a trail that runs along its
eastern fence to provide enough space for the work. The trail is lightly
used, and a JPL spokeswoman said there haven't been any calls in
response to closure signs that went up last week.
Pasadena officials asked JPL to remove the lot as part of its
Hahamongna conservation master plan, and will use the open space as a
spreading basin for groundwater replenishment. A small part of the
existing parking lot may be saved for recreational use.
"That's a particularly important area," said Arroyo Seco Foundation
director Tim Brick, describing it as a transition area from the mountain
wilderness to the open plains of the arroyo basin. "It really has a lot
of value in terms of habitat, and it has a lot of value in terms of water - we're really pleased that JPL is moving ahead with that. "
Conservationists are also pleased the soccer-field project is moving
away from Hahamongna to a proposed location at Muir High School, where
it would be combined with an existing softball field.
Plans for a soccer field created controversy for about two years, and
Pasadena officials are now trying to rush the revised Muir project
through the governmental process so it can keep about $1 million in
state grant funding.
The city's Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee approved the
new concept on Thursday, and the city is encouraging people to submit
support letters to the state before seeking approval in about two weeks,
project manager Loren Pluth said.
However, it isn't clear yet if the high school's neighbors would sign off - a key consideration for the state.
"If the support simply isn't there, we can't move forward with this proposal," Pluth said.
The grant funding has a deadline of July 2015 for the soccer field's completion.
The Hahamongna area that was previously slated to become a sports field will instead remain open space.
"That area has been recovering for the last 10 or 15 years," Brick
said, noting that Pasadena's Hahamongna master plan didn't recognize
those natural improvements because it was drafted in 2003. "Things have
changed, conditions have changed since it was degraded. That area has
kind of been healing itself. "
Pasadena has several other Hahamongna improvement projects in the
works, though the city is underfunded by about $3.2 million, according
to a Thursday staff report. A small improvement project at Sunset
Overlook, a trailhead point on the west side of Hahamongna, is nearly
The Arroyo Seco Foundation also helped secure an additional $3.3
million in state funding last year as part of a water management program
implemented through Proposition 84, a water conservation bond program
approved by California voters in 2006.
Those funds will go toward the Arroyo Seco Canyon Project,
rehabilitating intake structures and water habitat in the area to the
north of the JPL east parking lot.