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Burbank has itself a Bud-ding park

Laura Sturza

Former city manager Bud Ovrom’s legacy lives on in Burbank --

including at a downtown crosswalk where his voice can be heard

telling pedestrians they are safe to walk -- and now his name will be

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heard when people refer to a park project he helped spearhead.

The City Council, on David Laurell’s last night as mayor, approved

his proposal to name the park for Ovrom with a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

Laurell and council members Dave Golonski and Marsha Ramos approved

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the plan and Vice Mayor Stacey Murphy and Councilman Jef Vander

Borght opposed it.

“Bud was the driving force behind the development of the [South

San Fernando Park project],” Laurell said prior to the meeting. “We

have an opportunity to recognize the man who has transformed this

city.”

The $6-million project, scheduled to break ground in September

2004, will include a community center, the school district’s

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Community School and an outdoor- recreation area. The two-acre parcel

of land runs along South San Fernando Boulevard between Providencia

Avenue and Cedar Street, one of Burbank’s most heavily populated and

economically disadvantaged areas.

Though Vice Mayor Stacey Murphy was so shaken by Ovrom’s departure

she found it difficult to speak at his farewell party, she opposed

naming the park for him.

“I think it’s much more appropriate to name it after a volunteer

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rather than a city employee,” Murphy said before the meeting, citing

Lundigan Park, named for former park board member Robert Lundigan.

Resident James Schad was among people at the meeting who agreed that

naming a park for a volunteer was a good idea, but added that “the

past city manager was well compensated for his time.”

Park, Recreation and Community Services Director Mike Flad agreed

with a recent park board recommendation to name the park for Ovrom,

because the new park would not be coming to town if not for the

former city manager’s efforts, Flad said.

In approving the proposal, Golonski cited the years the former

city manager spent pursuing his vision and passion for the park

project.

Proposals to name a park or facility can be made by individuals or

groups. They are reviewed first by the appropriate city board, and

then by the City Council.

Park board member Elisabeth Handler voted against naming the park

after Ovrom. The board voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal.

“It just feels like we’re busy patting the City Hall people on the

back and I just don’t like the feel of it,” Handler said prior to the

meeting.

The project is expected to be completed by July 2005.


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