• people sitting at a round table with a map on it

      Attendees at the Community Meeting for the Playhouse District Park (Photo – Jonathan Edewards)

      The City of Pasadena and its park development consultant, MIG, held the second of three community workshops the evening of November 12 at Pasadena’s Presbyterian Church.

      By Mike Pashistoran

      About 60 people attended the workshop including Brian Wallace, Executive Director of the Playhouse District Association, a former Pasadena city manager, the president of the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association, Playhouse District business and property owners and residents. A third meeting will be at 6:30 on December 4, at Pasadena Presbyterian which time MIG will present more formal concepts in advance of a presentation to the Recreation and Parks Commission for approval prior to submission to the City Council.

      Pocket Park

      The final perimeter for the “pocket park” is comprised of various City purchases and contributions for a footprint of up to 28,955 square feet (0.665 acre). The Banner Bank site at the corner of Oak Knoll and Union was purchased by the City in January 2018 for $3.15 million. The City is contributing a City-owned lot of 0.063 acres, and on March 11, 2019, the City approved the transfer of half of the City’s Union/El Molino parking lot for park use utilizing $2.5 million in Residential Impact Fees. The remainder of the parking lot (48 of the existing 101 parking spaces) will be redesigned for integration with the park space for future event programming, according to Evan Mather of MIG.

      A cose up of a park map

      Discussing ideas for the Playhouse Park (Photo – Jonathan Edewards)

      Refining community feedback

      The purpose of the second workshop was to refine the raw ideas and community feedback presented at the first workshop. Kris Markarian of Pasadena Public Works provided an opening overview of the process, following by presentations from MIG’s Evan Mathers and Esmeralda Garcia describing the possible key elements for the park and the design principles to be applied to those elements. The design principles include a safe space with adequate lighting, an inviting environment engaging the surrounding neighborhood, a flexible place responding to a variety of uses and programming, easy maintenance, and “a space that is a delight and pleasant surprise for all who use it.”

      Groups and ideas

      After the presentations, the attendees broke up into groups to further focus on the elements to be included in the park – and those that would not be included – as well as the design, size and location of each element. The attendees used die-cut cardboard pieces to place the various elements into a table-sized representation of the loosely triangular-shaped park. Consideration was given to a passive lawn area, children’s play area, pet-friendly area, BBQ and picnic areas, water feature, public art, bike accommodation, a basketball court and a restroom.

      Although a restroom is not required by City regulations according to Hayden Melbourn of Pasadena Public Works, ideas for a restroom included a one stall Sansiette self-cleaning restroom, a two stall Exeloo self-cleaning restroom, a two-stall modular restroom and a City of Pasadena standard restroom.

      Group of poeple in groups and map displays around them

      Community Meeting for the Playhouse District Park (Photo – Jonathan Edewards)

      Summarizing issues

      Following the group meetings, Esmeralda Garcia of MIG summarized the consensus of the groups on some issues: the green area of the park should not be too small, the dog park should be kept some distance from nearby residences, the parking lot should be adaptable to other events (e.g. farmers’ markets) and there should be shade trees.

      Because this is the Playhouse District, an overriding concern was that the park reflect its location and be “artistic” in its design. One resident summarized, “The park should be art.”

      Mike Pashistoran is a contributor to ColoradoBoulevard.net. He’s a member of DPNA and a past member of Pasadena Museum of History and Pasadena Heritage.


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      Comments

      1. Janice Helmer says:

        I’ve been to these type of community meetings and there is always a “plant” at each table to steer the table to a predetermined result. The plant can be from the consulting design firm or staff from the Planning Department at City Hall. My guess is the guy in the blue dress shirt, with no tie, sleeves rolled up, is the plant.

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