Float design gets the thumbs-up

A design for the city’s 2010 Rose Parade float — an outdoor scene with a towering, 22-foot bald eagle — was unanimously approved by the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission on Wednesday and will be submitted to the City Council for consideration.

The float, measuring 33 feet in length, will be a contrast to the city’s last two Rose Parade submissions if it is approved by the council, said Garry E. Ackerman, president of the Glendale Rose Float Assn.

While Glendale’s previous two floats were based on historic local sites — the Alex Theatre and the Grand Central Air Terminal — the 2010 float would be more of a natural scene, Ackerman said.

The design, called “America’s Pride,” would carry 10 community members who exemplify public service, perhaps including a police officer, a firefighter, a doctor, a teacher and students aspiring to serve in those positions, he said.

The passengers, standing in the outdoor scene under the wings of an iconic eagle, would send a message to viewers nationwide, he said.

“It draws attention to our parks, our [recreation] and the quality of people that we bring up here,” Ackerman said of the tribute to the city’s outdoor environment and public service.

Although commissioners approved the design, 5 to 0, officials were surprised by the float, which appeared “generic” to some and did not stand out as Glendale-specific, especially when compared to the 2008 and 2009 submissions.

The previous floats, particularly the Alex Theatre replica, were obvious sources of pride for residents, while the proposed 2010 design may not immediately evoke the same emotions, Commissioner Rodney Khan said.

“I thought that that was just outstanding because it really related to Glendale, and I could look at that and I could identify with it,” Khan said of the 2009 float.

“This is beautiful, and I’m just trying to see how we came up with it.”

Other commissioners shared those concerns.

“I had the same reaction as Commissioner Khan,” Commissioner Dottie Sharkey said. “I didn’t see Glendale in it.”

Commissioners warmed to the proposal after hearing an explanation about the concept’s promotion of public service and open space, although they still wondered where the idea originated.

The float was designed by Phoenix Decorating Company, which worked on 19 submissions in the 2009 Rose Parade, including Glendale’s, said Chris Lofthouse, the company’s president and chief executive.

The Glendale Rose Float Assn. had developed its own concepts for the city’s previous two floats and had asked the company for design and decoration help, but this year, it returned to its prior practice of soliciting designs, said Sean Bersell, vice president of the group.

Phoenix provided 15 ideas to the organization, whose members made their decision in a landslide vote, Bersell said.

“We’re really excited about this. We think it’s a great design and it’s going to be a real crowd-pleaser,” said Bersell, explaining that the theme would have a broad appeal for parade viewers worldwide.

After selecting the design, the association requested some changes, which included making the eagle more prominent, Lofthouse said.

Phoenix redrew the proposal to make the central feature 30% larger, he said.

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