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Glendale to study possibility of building a 'cap park' over Ventura (134) Freeway

The City Council on Tuesday ordered a study be conducted to examine the costs and scope of building a park over a section of the Ventura (134) Freeway in Glendale.

Three council members flew to Dallas, Texas, earlier this month and visited Klyde Warren Park, a "cap park" over a highway that may be a design they want to model.

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Their 5.2-acre park had trees, a walking trail and plenty of seating, said Councilman Vartan Gharpetian. He said Klyde Warren serves as a connector between two different parts of the city.

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"It would do the same in Glendale. It will connect north Glendale to south Glendale," Gharpetian said.

With a 4-0 vote, the council opened a bidding process to allow for interested firms that want to handle the feasibility study to apply. The study is expected to cost about $300,000. The council would consider approval of the contract at a future meeting.

A final design for Glendale's cap park could be years away, but city staffers have already kicked around the idea of first constructing a segment over the 134 Freeway between Central Avenue and Brand Boulevard — a distance of about .2 miles.

While that segment has been nicknamed the "heart," a further extension to Geneva Street is being called "the soul." Overall, it could end up being as large as 4 or 5 acres.

In Dallas, Gharpetian — along with Councilman Zareh Sinanyan and Councilwoman Paula Devine — learned about the many public-private partnerships it took to bankroll Klyde Warren's construction.

Nearly $57 million was generated through private donations, Sinanyan said. In exchange, the donors got to name parts of the park.

"Naming rights to different portions of the park were sold off to individuals or companies that were willing to raise money for the park," Sinanyan said.

The name Klyde Warren actually belongs to the child of a donor who pledged millions.

"It just struck me as a very creative way of raising money," Sinanyan said.

However, resident Mike Mohill said during the meeting he was skeptical that kind of approach would have the same results in Glendale.

"Dallas is a major city that can raise money," he said. "They have plenty of guardian angels, private people to raise the money. Other than Mr. [Rick] Caruso, I can't think of how many guardian angels we have in the city of Glendale."

But Gharpetian said there have been several major developments built within the city. Studying the feasibility of a cap park is worth investigating, he added.

"The [Glendale] Galleria wasn't an easy project. The Americana at Brand wasn't an easy project," Gharpetian said. "See, how many years did it take us to get the Americana built? [The cap park] may not happen tomorrow, but if we don't work on it, it will never happen."

The other side of the partnership coin is getting the state and even the federal government involved with funding, Devine said.

Once the park was constructed, it costs the city of Dallas more than $700,000 a year to maintain it.

A trio of community meetings were held last year where residents were polled on the prospect of having a cap park and what the open space should entail.

About 75% of respondents said they were in favor of the project, with walking trails, a children's play area and concert space being the most popular amenities.

"I think if we can pull something like this off in our city, we would really be on the national map, not just for public safety, but for having one of the best parks in the country," Sinanyan said.

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian

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