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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

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It has been 18 years and 110 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council workshop of April 5, 2016 had 3 major issues up for discussion and direction by city council: the temporary West Branch Library; the pavement management program; and an introduction to the proposed new city owned arena manager.

Since I brought up parking for Heroes Park in my blog of April 5, 2016 entitled Glendale…fix the parking problem you created, it was definitely a topic of discussion. Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Libraries, stated that they are working on temporary parking. He did not address the issue of Park Rangers sending people to park in adjacent neighborhoods or the safety issue of people crossing Bethany Home Road or 83rd Avenue to get to the park.

The final direction of the city council was to move forward with a temporary, 7500 square foot modular building. This action, of course, removes all impetus to ever build a permanent library structure. So, we in west Glendale, once again, get less — a 7500 SF modular structure half the size of Velma Teague Library in downtown Glendale.

The second item for discussion and direction was the city’s pavement management program. Currently the city spends $10 million annually to repair and maintain the city’s streets. Staff requested an additional $5 million a year. Ms. Vicki Rios, Interim Finance Director, presented a series of slides during the discussion. I bring two of those slides to your attention. This first one shows the city’s current debt service. The red, dotted line is the city’s secondary property tax revenue that is used to pay this form of debt. Please note that as of this year’s (FY 16-17) budget there is new debt capacity available…perhaps to build the west branch library? The new debt capacity is the difference between the red, dotted line and the sold green block depicting debt payments.

Current General Obligation debt

Current General
Obligation debt

Not so fast. Look at this second slide. It depicts current debt plus new, proposed debt.

Current debt plus new debt

Current debt
plus new debt

Note the Series 2016 debt depicted by the brownish square in the legend. That Series 16 debt is the $32 million the city is issuing next week to pay for the land and to construct parking on it to satisfy the city’s obligation to provide adequate parking for Cardinals’ football games. The orange, olive and blue areas above the brownish parking debt represent $5 million dollars a year in new debt for the pavement management plan. Note the red, dotted line which are funds used to pay the debt. Now there is no debt capacity available until Fiscal Year 21-22. With council’s approval of two items: the issuance of $32 million in debt for Cardinals’ parking and the $5million a year ($15 million total) for the pavement management plan there is no debt capacity to do anything else including building a permanent west branch library. The significance of these decisions is that there will be no debt capacity to build a west branch library for SIX more years until Fiscal Year 21-22. We will have waited for the west branch library for 25 years. There is no word to describe this situation other than disgraceful.

The last item was a public introduction of AEG as the proposed new manager of the city owned Gila River Arena. There was no mention of the Coyotes who continue to declare that they will move to some magical, undefined new facility somewhere else in the Valley. The reality is that AEG, as arena manager, the Coyotes and the city will have to come to terms in the meantime. I continue to believe if the Coyotes and AEG can come to agreement for a few years, why not long-term?

Under council requests for future workshops only one councilmember spoke, Sammy Chavira. He requested that the city present its travel policy and compare it to other Valley cities. What was more interesting is that Sammy, largely invisible these days, was cornered by an Arizona Republic reporter and questioned about his trips. Sammy’s only response was, “I want to stick to the policy to find out from now on – so next time, if you look at your policy, if you see anything, that you know that’s what we’re adhering to. What I want to do is I want to put something in concrete.” Say what? What did he say? Here is the link to the full story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/04/06/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-requests-review-travel-policy-after-council-trip/82631826/ .

I can see it now. Sammy’s defense is that he followed city policy. OK, so now it’s the city’s fault? Where is Sammy’s ethical and moral compass? In essence he is admitting that he took advantage of a policy. It’s the same as if there were a policy that said, thou shall not steal. Since the policy is so vague an argument could be there is no definition of the word “steal.” Sammy is playing word games but they won’t work this time. He is accountable for his actions. He should voluntarily reimburse the city for the nearly $25,000 he spent for trips to see the Pope, his buddy sworn into Congress, his excessive baggage claims and rebooked flights, and his two highly suspicious trips to California. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

© 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 109 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

HeroesParkbutton

Prior to the first Cardinals football game held at the University of Phoenix stadium as your Yucca district councilmember I insisted that senior management create a “Neighborhood Protection Plan” for neighborhoods adjacent to the stadium. I, and the residents, worried about game day parking on neighborhood streets and cut through traffic to get to or to leave the stadium. Such a plan was created and implemented. Many of you in adjacent neighborhoods may remember the Resident Placards distributed to every household adjacent to the stadium. After years of attendance most of the fans have been trained and do not park in neighborhoods or cut through them anymore. Barricades at the entrance to adjacent neighborhoods are still used on game days just to remind fans to park elsewhere.

This time the city has created its own parking mess, not adjacent to the stadium but rather in neighborhoods adjacent to Heroes Park, located at the northeast corner of 83rd Avenue and Bethany Home Road.

Despite the lack of amenities at the park for there are only a few basketball courts, a splash pad, a tot lot and ramadas, the park is still heavily used and loved, especially on weekends. So, what’s the problem?

There are not enough parking spaces at the park. As a result, people park in the dirt along the periphery of the park, especially along 83rd Avenue.

The city, in its wisdom, decided this would never do. Instead of creating more parking spaces, direction was given to park rangers to tell people that such parking was prohibited and they would have to move their vehicles or suffer their vehicle being towed away.

Where did the park rangers tell people to park? They told people to park in an adjacent neighborhood on the south side of Bethany Home Road. Last weekend over 75 vehicles parked in that neighborhood. There were so many cars that neighbors came out of their homes to see what was going on while seeking an explanation for all of the cars lining their streets.

To make matters worse, the city has created a major safety issue. Park visitors often with children in tow, having parked in the neighborhood, now have to cross a major arterial street, Bethany Home Road, to get to the park. Bethany Home Road has a lot of traffic at all times of

Street identification signs

Street identification signs

day and night. Vehicles traveling eastward approach the pedestrian crossing area from a hill with a curve providing no sight line to see pedestrians. There is no signage, no crosswalk, and no markings for vehicular traffic warning of heavy pedestrian crossings. Quite frankly, it is just a matter of time before a pedestrian is injured or killed trying to cross Bethany Home Road to get to the park.

What was the city thinking? The city has a policy that does not allow Cardinals game day parking in adjacent neighborhoods yet now is directing park patrons to park in an adjacent neighborhood? Why?

Instead of creating a permanent solution by developing, at the very least, temporary parking

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

spaces on 60 acres of unused dirt and weed-filled Heroes park property, it directs park patrons to park in a neighborhood? Is it because, once again, a problem at this park in west Glendale is not a priority? It is ironic that the city could throw $32 million at its Cardinals parking problem but appears to have neither the motivation nor the money to fix a relatively minor parking issue.  Is it a reflection of the city’s reluctance to spend any money on infrastructure improvements in west Glendale? Or was it through sheer incompetence that such a wacky solution was created? If this situation occurred in north Glendale it would last about 30 nanoseconds.

Where is Councilman Chavira? He had been told of the problem by local residents. Why hasn’t he demanded that this parking problem and safety issue be solved? Once again, we have an invisible councilmember who is not listening to his district residents much less advocating for an immediate remedy. Our district deserves better representation than it has received from Sammy Chavira during his term of service. Oh wait, Sammy doesn’t appear to serve his community interests…only his own. Is it because there isn’t any money to be made for Sammy in creating a parking solution?

Glendale…fix the parking problem you created.

© 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 105 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In the March 31, 2016 edition of the Glendale Star there is a Letter to the Editor written by Bob Gonzalo. It was unsolicited and I am grateful for his expression of support for my candidacy as your Yucca district councilmember. Here is the link but I have taken the opportunity to reprint his entire letter:

http://www.glendalestar.com/opinion/article_b401961a-f5f3-11e5-8a1e-d769cdc773b5.html

Bring back a fighter who cares

“The City of Glendale has done extremely well with this city council in correcting the mistakes of Mayor Scruggs and all her cronies. Their spending habits put the city in an untenable situation. However, this next election is extremely important in voting the right people in to continue to improve the character and ethics of the city.

“My suggestions are to vote Sam Chavira out of the council. Every time you look in the newspaper, his character is being questioned. Look at the questions about his expense account. Look at the fact that he was investigated for breaking open meeting laws.

We have no library, no O’Neil pool, Hero’s Park is still not done and what has Chavira done? Voted for millions for the Coyotes. If this is the best the fire unions have to offer, we are in deep, deep trouble.

“I would vote for Joyce Clark, someone from the past, who has never stopped fighting for the Yucca district.

Read her blogs. She is intelligent, well versed in the law and truly cares about her district. She will fight for a library in Yucca, she will help open O’Neil pool, and she will improve our roads. More importantly, she will communicate with her community, unlike Chavira.”

Bob Gonzalo

Mr. Gonzalo is correct in his assessment of the choice facing Yucca district voters. He is correct regarding Sammy’s abuse of your taxpayer dollars and that Sammy was investigated for alleged violations of the open meeting law. Sammy in the past year has been absent quite frequently from city council meetings and workshops. He has also been late to meetings as well. Sammy is the Yucca district’s “invisible man.” His only claim to fame is his vote for a $12 million annual arena management fee payment to IceArizona.

There is a more serious question to consider. Mark Burdick, Glendale’s former Fire Chief, is running for mayor and at the same time Sammy, a fire fighter, is running for council. Ask yourselves, do you really want the Glendale fire union to run this city? Make no mistake. Each of these men has an agenda and that is to move more city money into the Fire Department budget. Unfortunately, the only way it can happen is by taking money away from other city departments.

Mr. Gonzalo is also correct when he states that I will fight for the people of the Yucca district. He is correct when he says I will fight for the reopening of O’Neil Pool, the completion of Heroes Park and the building of a permanent West Branch Library. Glendale’s south and west districts have been ignored, especially by Sammy, for the past four years. I will also restore honesty and integrity to the office of Yucca district councilmember. I can provide the leadership that our district has been without for the past four years. I will be accessible to all. I have never shied away from using my home telephone number as a point of contact for the people of the Yucca district. I was a good councilmember and I intend to be one again.

So, thank you Mr. Gonzalo for your letter of support.

© 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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HeroesParkbutton

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 71 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The City of Glendale is hosting a meeting on Saturday, February 27, 2016 to receive citizen input on two proposals for a branch library serving west and south Glendale. Here is the link to the information about the meeting: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Library/WesternAreaBranchStudy.cfm . It will be an Open House at Desert Mirage Elementary School, 8500 W. Maryland Avenue, Glendale, AZ between 10 AM and Noon.

I am attending and I am telling them not just “no” but “hell no.” Why? For 18 years we, in west and south Glendale, have been promised not a make-shift facility but a full-fledged branch library. Senior staff and the city council would be off the hook by throwing us a bone– a make-shift facility. That removes the pressure on all of them to fulfill a long standing 18 year promise. What are we? Chopped liver? Is it only other areas of Glendale that receive the financial resources to provide high quality amenities for its citizens? By the way, have you checked out the ramadas at Heroes Park lately? They are really dirty and in need of major maintenance. But again…it’s west and south Glendale…not Arrowhead.

The most dismaying concern is that Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing was able to find General Fund debt capacity to cover a $32 million dollar bill for land and to develop parking adjacent to the University of Phoenix Stadium but he is reluctant (or stubborn?) to find General Fund debt capacity to fund the building of a west branch library promised over 18 years ago.

People are offended and angry. Some will say but this is better than nothing and we have had nothing for a very long time. What they do not realize is this token removes the pressure from staff and from council to ever build a permanent branch library. The next time a request is made for such a facility their rationalization will be but you do have a branch library. It’s not as if the need is pressing. There are other needs that take precedence.

I encourage people from the Yucca and Ocotillo districts to attend Saturday’s Open House and to tell staff that neither a token, symbolic library branch in the Media Center nor a small, modular building in Heroes Park fulfill Glendale’s promise to its residents. Let them know it’s time to fund the branch library promised over 18 years ago.

© 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 21 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

In 1990 Glendale’s population was approximately 151,449. Two years later, in 1992, Glendale implemented a full council district system of representation with 6 council districts of approximately equal populations. At that time each district would have had about 30,000 residents. The geographical size of the districts varied to accommodate equal population distribution.

A little history is in order. In the late 1970’s to mid 1980’s the Hunt brothers, billionaires from Texas, had acquired most of the land we know today as Arrowhead. They intended to master plan and develop the entire area. In support of their plan Glendale built a water treatment plant to accommodate the anticipated population growth. Disaster struck. The Hunt brothers attempted to corner the precious metals market, especially silver. Paul Volker, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, brought their scheme to an end and by the late 1980’s the brothers were convicted of manipulating the market.

What was Glendale to do? It had invested a great deal of money in a water treatment plant now sitting idle. It took on the task of master planning the area and investing millions in developing the infrastructure of the area while ignoring the needs of the rest of the city. It also reserved a substantial parcel of land for what would become Foothills Park. It paid the Hunt brothers for the water treatment plant it had built. In essence Glendale paid twice for the very same plant.

Developers began building homes in the area. With the mayor of Glendale residing in the Arrowhead area it didn’t take long for resources to flow into development of Foothills Park and within 8 years the area also had its branch library, the Foothills Library. In 1998 the Foothills Aquatic & Recreation Center and the Western Area Regional Park had been placed on the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Southwest Heroes Park

Southwest Heroes Park

By 1998 the city has made a commitment to a Recreation & Aquatic Center in Foothills Park and the development of the Western Area Regional Park (known today at Heroes Park) with a branch library, its very own Recreation & Aquatic Center, baseball fields, an urban fishing lake, a dog park, ramadas, basketball courts and a skate area. By 2007 Foothills Park had its Recreation & Aquatic Center. What did the Western Area Regional Park have? It had $6 million dollars diverted from building its branch library to building the Public Safety Center. It had some basketball courts and a

Northeast Heroes Park

Northeast Heroes Park

zero splash pad. The skate area and ramadas were built after 2007. The skate area sits idle…vacant…growing tumbleweeds. The ramadas were built because they generate rental income. They are used heavily. Since its arrival in 1998 on the city’s CIP there is no branch library, no Recreation & Aquatic Center, no baseball fields, no urban fishing lake, and no dog park. Only 20 acres of the total park acreage of 88 acres has been developed.

Skate Court at Heroes Park

Skate Court at Heroes Park

Splash pad

Splash Pad at Heroes Park

Make no mistake…I am as mad as hell. Over the past 18 years there has been a deliberate and concerted agenda by previous city councils to ignore the development of this park. Today with the exception of Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Turner it remains ignored and neglected. Through Mayor Weiers effort to call attention to this park this year 83rd Avenue north of Bethany Home Road (the western boundary of the park) will see road improvements in the form of curb, gutter and sidewalk. A bone to be sure but it is something. At some point a modular building will be erected, one tenth the size of the planned branch library, to serve as this area’s library. Another bone to be sure.

Senior staff is also responsible. This park is not part of their agenda either. When the city very recently decided to buy the Pendergast land for $22 million dollars not surprisingly Tom Duensing, Interim

Ramadas at Heroes Park

Ramadas at Heroes Park

Assistant City Manager and Director of Finance, found the debt capacity to accomplish this purchase. When it comes to this park’s development he wrings his hands and says there is no money and no debt capacity. I call on him to be financially creative and to find a way to increase the city’s debt capacity to cause further development of this park. I call on this city council to make meaningful development of this park a priority. One sixth of the city’s population remains ill served without any of the amenities that can be found throughout the rest of the city. To this day only 20

In the shadow of the University of Phoenix Stadium at Heroes Park

In the shadow of the University of Phoenix Stadium at Heroes Park

acres of the total park acreage of 88 acres has been developed. It is a travesty, shameful and embarrassing that the city has a major, regional park three quarters of which grows tumbleweeds.

 

 

 

© 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 ‘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 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 17 years and 263 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

At its annual August retreat, the Library Advisory Board supported the concept of a manufactured or modular library building at Heroes Park in the Yucca district (west Glendale). Bless their hearts for their moral compasses were in the right place with their recognition that the Yucca district is sadly lacking in amenities, such as a branch library, found in other areas of the city.

If you have noted at the beginning of every blog I announce how long it’s been since the city promised to build a west branch library in the Yucca district to serve west Glendale. The count as of today is 17 years and 263 days.

I am tamping down my anger at the concept of a glorified trailer as our west branch library. I understand the city is feeling guilt over never having built the west branch library but offeringfoothills a sop to the citizens of west Glendale is, in truth, insulting. Where, oh where, will we put the Dale Chihuly type art? Or the Magic Doors opening into the magical children’s reading room? Foothills library (Cholla district) patrons received a building replete with original art to enjoy during their visits. Oops, I forgot. Foothills Library is in former Mayor Elaine Scruggs’ district. Yucca district seems destined to remain bare bones. After all, that’s always been what the city has decided west Glendale merits. Except. Except… wait for it…an arena “destined “to propel former City Manager Ed Beasley and former Mayor Scruggs into the national limelight.

Otherwise when it comes to the Yucca district the city always falls back on the rationale that “there is no money.” That excuse only comes into play when a major city building for the use and enjoyment of its citizens is proposed for the westside of Glendale. It isn’t a consideration when approval is given to build a $50 million dollar plus parking garage at Westgate to satisfy the demands of the Bidwills.

The lack of amenities for westside Glendale residents is appalling and has been for many years. Of the 58 small and neighborhood parks (10 acres or less) owned by the city only 5 of them are in the Yucca district (the district’s east boundary is 75th Avenue and west boundary includes all incorporated west to Sarival Avenue; Northern Avenue on the north and Camelback Road on the south).

Of those 5 parks, 3 are joint city/school neighborhood parks with limited hours of access during the school year. They are: Desert Mirage Park at 87th Avenue and Maryland Avenue; Discovery Park at 79th Avenue and Maryland Avenue; and Orangewood Vista Park at 79th Avenue and Orangewood Avenue. Two neighborhood parks are entirely city owned: Pasadena Park at 87th Avenue and Pasadena Road and Sycamore Grove Park at 86th Lane and Emil Rovey Parkway.

What about Community Parks of 10 to 80 acres? Don’t look for any, for there are none in the Yucca district; in the only district that has large portions of vacant developable land.

Of the 6 Regional Parks in Glendale there are 2 listed Regional Parks in the Yucca district: the Grand Canal Linear Park and Heroes Park. Let’s take a closer look at both. The Grand Canal Linear Park was built with the city kicking and screaming all the way. It is part of the Maricopa County Flood Control District and the county district paid the lion’s share of its construction. If the County had not initiated the project there would be no linear park.

Heroes Park contains a splash pad, 4 basketball courts and rental ramadas…that’s it. The majority of the land in that park grows a wonderful annual crop of tumbleweeds. Forget the X Court (skateboard facility). It was closed years ago. Gone is the Master Plan that included baseball fields, a dog park, a west branch library, an urban fishing lake and a recreational center. None of those have been acknowledged for years. Look at the proposed temporary archery range. Have you seen it? I haven’t.

If for no other reason, the city should be providing amenities in west Glendale to encourage development in this slow economy. What employer wants to locate in an area where there are few, if any, amenities for its employees who wish to recreate close to where they live and work? An employer, in order to attract top quality employees, relies upon its location within a city and what a city offers in terms of recreational and cultural opportunities to potential employees/residents. The lack of amenities can be the deciding factor between Glendale and any other Valley city.

So what should be done? Build a glorified trailer in Heroes Park? I say no. What makes far

Courtesy City of Glendale

Courtesy City of Glendale

more sense is to utilize the mostly empty Glendale Media Center at Westgate. The first floor contains all of the city’s media facilities and equipment and should remain. But there is the second floor and third floor, underutilized, that could make one heck of a west branch library. It would be sited where it would enhance the existent surrounding development. How about parking you may ask? As for parking, there isn’t adequate parking at Foothills Library and it doesn’t appear to be a detriment. A west branch library facility could use the parking garage at Westgate by offering library patrons vouchers for parking. It is a city owned parking facility run by the Renaissance Hotel but it is our facility and we do set the rules for its use. This library site would require either an enclosed elevator or escalator on the outside of the building thereby removing the need for the general public to access the media facilities located on the first floor as well as preserving as much space as possible for library use. Certainly the  the retrofit would be on par for a “trailer” whose destiny is to morph into an insufficient library.

Libraries of the future will be different from those of the past. A west branch library at the Media Center should be heavy in two areas that reflect that: technology and lots of it (with media equipment on the first floor it seems that its fiber optics would be first rate); and the children’s area. Up to the minute technological access is critical. Libraries are our best and greatest system of introducing books and the habit of reading to our youngest little ones. It is a habit to be encouraged. Childhood literacy is the foundation of a well educated work force.

Then what about Heroes Park? Do we continue to allow it to languish and grow annual crops of tumbleweeds? No. Two major amenities must be built there and not in another 20 years. It is time for the city to commit its resources to this park. One is an Urban Fishing Lake. The other is a Performing Arts Center/Art Gallery/Art Center which would be within easy access of the Loop 101. A performing arts center/art gallery/art center is an amenity that Glendale has sadly lacked for many years. It is an amenity that helps to define the very character of a great city. It is an amenity that fosters “community.” It is an amenity that this council needs to plan for and build…now…not 20 years from now.

We’ve tried turning the city into a sports mecca and failed miserably. Why not focus our time, talents and resources into creating a point of pride that will be useable and available to all of Glendale’s residents? It’s time to turn Heroes Park from a dusty, woe begotten piece of derelict land into a site of cultural vitality for all of the people of Glendale. It’s time, long overdue, to mete out some justice and equity for the people of west Glendale.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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