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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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It has been 18 years and 117 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The city council meeting of April 12, 2016 had a lot of green shirts with the logo “Heroes Park –Finish It” in attendance. Citizen speakers spoke about the need to finish the park, long

Green shirts in city council chambers

Green shirts in city council chambers

overdue; about the density of homes in the proposed residential development south of the Grand Canal; and the need to reopen O’Neil Pool. City council did take notice and several spoke about the park during council comments. What were heard were platitudes. Some said there was recognition of the need to finish the park but none offered a solid commitment to make that happen. Others recognized the need for more parking at the park and punted saying that more temporary parking would be created when the temporary modular library branch was installed.

None of the non-solutions are satisfactory. That means the work of the citizen group led by Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district is not done. Continual pressure by the citizens’ group must continue. They will not succeed with a one day show of

O'Neil Pool abandoned

O’Neil Pool abandoned

citizen force. Pressure must be applied on the city council to allocate the money needed to complete this park.

Please contact Glendale’s city councilmembers at the email addresses listed below and tell them you want Heroes Park finished and it has been far too long.

  • Mayor Jerry Weiers at mayorweiers@glendaleaz.com
  • Vice Mayor Ian Hugh at ihugh@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Bart Turner at bturner@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff at ltolmachoff@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Ray Malnar at rmalnar@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Jamie Aldama at jaldama@glendaleaz.com
  • Councilmember Sammy Chavira at schavira@glendaleaz.com

Or call the city council assistants and leave a message for each councilmember:

  • Mayor Weiers office at 623-930-2260
  • An army

    An army

    Council assistant Ryan Lee for Councilmembers Turner and Tolmachoff at 623-930-2250

  • Council assistant Adam Maynes for Councilmembers Hugh and Aldama at 623-930-2878
  • Council assistant Van Ornelas for Councilmembers Malnar and Chavira at 623-930-2016

If, after 18 years, you want Heroes Park to be completed it requires your involvement. One tiny ant can’t do very much but an army of ants can move mountains. You need to become a member of the ant army and actively voice your support for the completion of this park.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 18 years and 102 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

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Tom Traw of the Yucca district and Norma Alvarez of the Ocotillo district have joined forces and are calling for Yucca and Ocotillo district residents tired of seeing a dirt and weed filled park. They are calling on all Yucca and Ocotillo residents to go to the next Glendale City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 12,2016 at Glendale City Hall in the Council Chambers. I applaud their effort. I plan to attend that evening.

There is more than one issue to be concerned about but we’ll get to the others later. Let’s talk Heroes Park first. The park is 88 acres and classified as a city regional park. The only other regional parks in Glendale are Thunderbird Park and Sahuaro Ranch Park. They are completed and convenient to those who live in central or north Glendale. The city plan for Heroes Park calls for:

  • A permanent 35,000 SF branch library to serve residents to the south and west of Grand Avenue. The current proposal to place a 7,500 SF modular building to serve as a branch library is a travesty. It will be 1/5 the size of the Foothills Branch Library (35,000 SF) and half the size of Velma Teague Branch Library in Murphy Park (approximately 15,000 SF). It removes the city’s urgent need to fulfill its commitment to build a permanent West Branch Library at Heroes Park.
  • A major recreation and aquatics center similar to Foothills Recreation and Aquatic Center.
  • An urban fishing lake.
  • Ball fields.
  • A dog park

What is in the park now? Several basketball courts (heavily used and loved), a zero depth

Closed X Court

Closed X Court

splash pad, a tot lot with some tables and benches, a closed and abandoned X Court (for inline skating) and ramadas (for rent). That’s it. The balance of 66 acres sits desolate with dirt and tumbleweeds.

This park has been in the city’s plans since approximately 1988, over 18 years. In 1998 this

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

park was on the verge of disappearing. The city seriously considered selling the park land to a developer for nearly 500 homes. It took a massive show of citizens objecting to the sale to save this park. Over the years former Mayor Scruggs and the councilmembers who supported her have played games with this park and at her direction, along with a majority of councilmembers in 2006, $6 million for park development was diverted to complete the construction of the Regional Public Safety Training Facility. The most recent threat to this park’s development, prior to the Great Recession, was the city’s plan to build a new City Court House. Any money earmarked for the park would have been diverted to build the court house.

Since the Great Recession a plea to finish this park with its planned amenities has met the continual city mantra of we have no money. Oh really? The city could find $32 million

Northeast Heroes Park

Northeast Heroes Park

instantly to buy the land and to build parking to satisfy the Cardinals. They had to fulfill their contractual obligation to the Cardinals and so the parking will be constructed. Yet they can’t seem to find money to finish this park.

What other issues face the residents of the Yucca and Ocotillo districts? One is O’Neil Park’s swimming pool. Several years ago leaks were discovered and the pool was closed and has been closed ever since. It has disenfranchised over 2,000 children who live in the square mile from Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road, 59th Avenue to 67th Avenue. It has the densest population per square mile of any square mile in the city.  That square mile contains over 1300 homes and is ringed by 10 apartment complexes. Swimming pools per home is one of the lowest in the city. If I remember correctly, there is one residential pool for every 10 homes in that square mile. When we lived in that square mile we had no pool and our family relied heavily on the use of O’Neil pool.

Now the city wants to bulldoze the pool and “repurpose the land.” The city has a solemn obligation to repair or rebuild O’Neil pool. In the Capital Improvement Plan one of the criteria for deciding the merit of a project is the city’s obligation to repair and remediate existing city infrastructure. That is exactly what O’Neil pool is, existing city infrastructure.

The last issue of importance for the Yucca and Ocotillo districts is Jake Long’s (son of deceased John F. Long) request to put over 1,100 homes on the farm land between the Grand Canal Linear Park and Camelback Road, 83rd Avenue to 91st Avenue.  The plan’s housing proposal is too dense and many of the homes are requested to be built on 5,500 square foot lots. The city’s minimum single family lot size is R1-6, 6,000 square feet. Typically lots smaller than 6,000 square feet are reserved for attached homes and not for a single family home. Why would the city accept such a plan? Because it’s Jake Long asking?  Because that’s all that this part of town merits? I fought this fight the entire time I was on council and succeeded many times. For example under my leadership, Rovey Farm Estates’ smallest lots on its west boundary at 91st Avenue are 8,000 square feet and lots on the east boundary on 83rd Avenue are from 1/3 of an acre to an acre. Missouri Ranch has a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet and sits on the eastern boundary of the proposed Long development project. There are many streets in this area adjacent to the proposed development whose homes are on one acre lots with horse privileges. None of these residents are happy about having small, residential lots adjacent to them.

By now you should be angry and disgusted. I know that I am. These two districts, Yucca and Ocotillo deserve better treatment and a renewed laser-like focus by the city. No longer should we shrug our shoulders. It’s time we spoke out and demanded better. It’s time.

Think about it. Somewhere between 100 and 150 people showed up to oppose the sale of the Foothills Branch Library and they succeeded. An equal number of citizens showed up to protest Becker Billboards’ proposal to erect billboards in north Glendale. They, too, succeeded. A show of force, a show of citizens will cause city council to react.

Please plan to attend the Tuesday, April 12, 2016 meeting of the city council at 6 P.M. Citizen Comments are offered at the beginning of each city council meeting. You do not have to speak unless you wish to do so. Comments are limited to 3 minutes per individual. So take the time to plan your remarks. Others will be there to speak. We need numbers…hundreds of residents to show that we stand behind the speakers to these issues. Please commit an hour or two that night to back up the speakers and to demonstrate to city council that there are a lot of people who want this council to pay attention to and to fulfill commitments made. Please email Tom Traw at ttraw@aol.com or call Norma Alvarez at 623-934-0734 to let them know that you plan to attend and to support your district.

There are strong reasons to show your support:

  • Are you tired of a dirt and weed filled park that has languished for over 18 years?
  • Are your children now adults but when you moved here counted on a park and library for their enjoyment? A park and library that never came. An entire generation of children has grown up without benefit of Heroes Park and its branch library.
  • Are you tired of the city’s neglect of your neighborhood? Whether it’s code enforcement or poor streets or lack of maintenance of city infrastructure?
  • Are you tired of the city’s inaction and failure to fix O’Neal pool?
  • Are you tired of the city’s acceptance of proposed residential projects that do nothing to preserve your property values?
  • Are you tired of the city’s acceptance of proposed dense, residential projects filled with small homes on even smaller lot sizes?
  • Are you tired of the neglect that has become pervasive in the Yucca and Ocotillo districts?
In the shadow of the University of Phoenix Stadium at Heroes Park

Heroes Park. One can see the UofP Stadium in the distance (1 mile away)

Then please join us Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 6 P.M. at City Hall Council Chambers (at the intersection of 59th Avenue and Grand Avenue) for a show of force. Citizens are advised not to clap or shout during the meeting. The practice has become to raise your hands high when you approve of a speaker’s message. We will not be the silent majority any longer. We will make our presence known and our voices heard. I will be there. Will you?

Glendale City Council meeting

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 at 6 P.M.

Glendale City Hall Council Chambers

                                         At the intersection of Grand Ave. and 59th Ave.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

It has been 18 years and 90 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.
On March 15, 2016 the Glendale city council held a Budget Workshop meeting to discuss the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). As an aside, Councilmember Chavira arrived at 9:30 AM, a half hour late and offered not one original thought other than to thank staff for their presentations.
This can be a complicated issue but let’s try to break it down. The CIP is Glendale’s plan for future, major infrastructure projects. These are projects that cost more than $50,000 and have a useful life span of at least 5 years. Just a few examples are: fire and police stations, libraries, roads, flood control and the purchase of sanitation trucks to fire engines. It is a ten year plan but only the first five years of the plan have any money attached to the proposed projects because the funding for them has been identified. The last five years of the plan are a wish list and have no money earmarked to support them.
It is a very, very important component of Glendale’s budget and at times projects within it serve political interests. Each councilmember has the opportunity to advocate for a project that will be located within his or her district.
How are CIP projects paid for? Here are the sources to repay bonds issued for CIP project: 

  • Enterprise Funds are the largest component at 66% and this is because many CIP project are big ticket items related to water, sewer or sanitation;
  • next are General Obligation Bonds (GO) at 15% and are repaid through secondary property taxes that flow into the city’s General Fund;
  • Highway User Revenue Funds or HURF make up 5%. These funds are state shared revenue and come from the tax you pay on a gallon of gasoline;
  • then there is the Transportation Fund of 5%. This fund was born in 2002 when the voters of Glendale approved a small sales tax increase to set aside strictly for transportation related projects;
  • Grant funds make up 4%;
  • Occasionally the city will pay cash for a project and this makes up 2% as a CIP funding source;
  • Lastly are Development Impact Fees (DIF) at 3%. Not going into the weeds too deeply on this, these are assessments that are paid by new construction of homes and commercial buildings. It is highly regulated by the state as to the amount that can be collected and what projects can be funded.

To further complicate the issue the state has divided General Obligation bonds (GO) into two categories: 6% and 20%. 6% GO bonds can be used for economic development, a cultural facility, a government facility and libraries. 20% GO bonds are used for flood control, open space & trails, parks, public safety, streets & parking and water and sewer projects.
Now that you are thoroughly confused, what’s in Glendale’s CIP for Fiscal Year 2016-17, the upcoming fiscal year that starts on July 1, 2016? The big ticket items are Parking Lot P-1 in the amount of $6 million and Parking Lot P-2 in the amount of $10.5 million. These 2 projects will be funded with GO bonds repaid through the city’s General Fund. What are these parking lots? If you recall, the city paid $22 million for land adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium to be used for parking necessary to meet the obligations of an agreement between the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA),the Cardinals and the city. Parking Lot P-1 for $6 million will definitely move forward immediately. Parking Lot P-2 for $10.5 million will only be built if senior staff finds it necessary to completely meet the mandatory number of parking spaces to which the city is obligated to provide.

 

The two other big ticket CIP projects for FY 2016-17 are the Pyramid Peak Water Treatment Plant improvements for $15.2 million and the Arrowhead Water Reclamation Facility improvements for $25.4 million. These will be funded through Enterprise Fund revenue bonds. Lastly $7 million will be spent for street improvements funded through the Transportation Fund.
To review these are the projects in the Fiscal Year budget of 2016-17 that begins on July 1, 2016:
• Bond Construction Funds will cover $7 million to improve the city’s streets.
• DIF Funds will partially fund the temporary West Branch library in the amount of $600,000+.
• Enterprise Revenue Bonds will pay $15.2 million and $25.4 for water improvements
• GO Bonds will pay for two parking lots, in the amount of $6 million and $10.5 million. That’s it. These are the major infrastructure projects slated for FY 2016-17. There are lesser amounts for the scalloped street program and infill street light program as examples.
Criteria for determining whether a project is eligible for the CIP are extensive. However, there are 3 criteria worthy of mention:
• “Does a project support the city’s goal of ensuring all geographic areas of the city have comparable quality in the types of services that are defined in the Public Facilities section of the General Plan”
• “Does a project prevent the deterioration of the city’s existing infrastructure?”
• “Does a project encourage and sustain quality economic development?”
These criteria are noteworthy in terms of 2 ongoing issues: the Western Area Branch Library and O’Neil pool. In the proposed FY 2016-17 CIP funds are earmarked for a temporary branch library of 7,500 SF to serve south and west Glendale. It is a travesty. Northern Glendale has the Foothills Branch Library ( 34,000 SF) and central Glendale has the Main Library (64,000 SF). Downtown Glendale has the 15,000 SF Velma Teague Branch Library built in 1971, forty four years ago. A 7,500 SF modular building as a temporary library branch serving south and west Glendale does not even come close to meeting, “Does a project support the city’s goal of ensuring all geographic areas of the city have comparable quality…” What a joke. Nor does this temporary building meet “Does a project encourage and sustain quality economic development?”
Currently the area of major, economic development is the Westgate area in west Glendale. Exactly how does a temporary 7,500 SF modular library building (½ the size of Velma Teague, which is SMALL; ¼ the size of Foothills Branch Library; and 1/10 the size of the Main Library) enhance “comparable quality” and “economic development?” Not to mention Heroes Park in west Glendale. It is 88 acres in size with approximately 20 developed acres. The rest of the park is a barren, dirt and weed filled wasteland. How does this park meet those criteria? Have you seen the parks the City of Peoria has recently built? Not only are they numerous they are gorgeous and put Glendale to shame.
Another issue that surfaced was that of O’Neil Pool located at 6500 W. Missouri Avenue. The surrounding square mile is known as the O’Neil Ranch Area. Its population is one of, if not, the densest in the city. There are 2,000 children in that square mile attending William C. Jack Elementary School and Mensendick Middle School. Up until 5 years ago these kids had O’Neil pool as a major recreational opportunity. The pool developed some cracks and leaks and was closed. A Parks & Recreation study was then done to measure the attendance but by that time kids had to be bused to the Rose Lane Pool. Obviously, the recorded attendance was low and was used to justify a staff recommendation that the pool not be repaired and the area be repurposed. Another joke. O’Neil must be repaired and reopened to service those kids. This is not an affluent area of town and has often been ignored. An overwhelming majority of the over 1,300 homes and 7 apartment complexes in the adjacent area do not have swimming pools. The ratio of residential swimming pools is one of the lowest in the city. As city criteria states, “Does the project prevent the deterioration of the city’s existing infrastructure?”
There is one more piece of bad news associated with the CIP. It is not until 2022, 8 more years, that there is GO bond debt capacity for new projects. Yet Tom Duensing, the Assistant City Manager, recently found GO bond debt capacity in the amount of $32 million to buy land and building a parking lot to satisfy the Arizona Cardinals and AZSTA. It’s time he turned to the needs of our residents and found GO bond debt capacity for these much needed projects.
It is incumbent upon the current city council, Mayor Jerry Weiers, Vice Mayor Ian Hugh, and Councilmembers Turner, Tolmachoff, Malnar, Aldama and Chavira to insure that a comparable quality of amenities exist in all parts of our city, including south and west Glendale by building a permanent Western Area Branch Library (overdue for 18+ years), completing the development of Heroes Park (also overdue for 18+ years) and repairing and reopening O’Neil Pool (overdue for 5+ years).
© Joyce Clark, 2016
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

My hope is that all of the hundreds of Glendale library patrons who fought so hard to save Foothills Library will fight just as hard to demand that the West Branch Library become a reality.

With all of the recent discussion of the possible sale of the Foothills library building it’s a good time to review promises made by the city with regard to the construction of the West Branch Library.

In 1997 the city was considering reneging on its first promise to West Glendale residents by allowing land earmarked for a major regional park in the city’s General Plan document to be rezoned for homes. West Glendale residents were successful in defeating that proposal and insisted the city immediately purchase the land at the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 83rd for its promised regional park. The city did so and the land was acquired.

Major city facilities such as the construction of libraries and parks are placed within the city’s Capital Improvement Program or CIP. The first time we see the West Branch library appear in the city’s CIP is Fiscal Year 1998-99 when funds were allocated for Fiscal Year 2001-02 to design the library with construction slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2004. That was 17 years ago. Obviously, none of these scheduled events happened. Instead there was a steady erosion and slippage of dates.

  • From Fiscal Years 1998 to 2000 the scheduled completion of the library was 2004
  • From Fiscal Year 2002 to 2003 the scheduled completion of the library was 2005
  • From Fiscal Years 2003 to 2005 the scheduled completion of the library was 2006
  • From Fiscal Years 2005 to 2008 the scheduled completion of the library was 2009
  • From Fiscal Years 2008 to 2009 the scheduled completion of the library was 2010
  • From Fiscal Years 2009 to 2012 the scheduled completion of the library was 2020
  • From Fiscal Years 2012 to present the library has no funding allocated until after 2024

If the West Branch library had been built as promised, “by 2010 the West Branch Library will serve a population of approximately 50,000 in the western area of Glendale, and it is anticipated that more than 1,000 people per day will utilize the services of this branch” (quote from staff presentation at the September 16, 2008 city council workshop meeting). Nothing demonstrates the need for a West Branch Library today better than this quote.

The rationale for not building the west branch library can be attributed to the adoption by a majority of council mandating that there be enough new revenue in the General Fund to support the annual costs of opening and operating a new CIP facility. This criterion was not used to approve the Foothills library. It was crafted later by the former mayor and her coalition when there arose yet another discussion about approval for construction of the West branch library. In a span of 7 years, from the opening of the Foothills library in 1999 to the opening of the Foothills Recreation & Aquatic Center, north Glendale received over $20 million dollars worth of CIP projects. West Glendale received squat.

The majority of councilmembers that consistently voted in line with the former mayor for any CIP project but the west branch library were Eggleston, Frate, Martinez, Goulet and Knaack (all former councilmembers serving differing terms). In 2006 a majority of council diverted $6 million dollars of west branch library construction funding to assist in the construction funding of the Public Safety Training Facility.

Every time the west branch library was on an agenda the “gang” created a new rationale. Before the effects of the Great Recession stopped all CIP projects, they had pitted building a new courthouse against the west branch library and would have funded that first as a means of further delaying the library.

There was a time, in the early 2000s, when council realized the necessity and value in developing amenities such as a library, recreation center, baseball fields, a fishing lake and dog park in west Glendale that would attract high quality residential and commercial development but that evaporated with the advent of the former mayor whose agenda was to block construction of city amenities in west Glendale.

It’s time…17 years is a long time to wait to have the city make good on its promise…for Glendale residents to bring this issue to the forefront once again. It should be requested that as CIP funding becomes available, the West Branch Library must be considered a priority. West Glendale is “amenity poor” and it’s time that this city council redresses a wrong committed by others many years ago.

Oh, and while you are at it, demand that the city replace the O’Neil Swimming pool at Missouri Avenue and 65th Avenue. The city shut it down several years ago because the cost of repair was prohibitive. It was the only city pool west of 59th Avenue and it served some of the city’s poorest demograhic area.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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