Park upgrade hinges on state

The City Council voted unanimously on approving the submission of a grant application by the city’s Community Services & Parks that would provide the city with upwards of $3 million to revitalize Palmer Park.

Director of Community Services & Parks, Jess Duran stood before the Council on June 28 and said he was hopeful that the parks program would attain the grant money to refurbish Palmer Park but said the grant process is “extremely competitive” and “the odds are really against us.”

The grant requests $3.8 million from the state.

A slideshow presented by David Ahern, the acting assistant director of Community Services & Parks, detailed Palmer Park’s concept plan based on the opinions of Glendale residents who took part in 11 separate focus groups and design workshops within a half-mile vicinity to the park at 601 E. Palmer Ave. in South Glendale.

Ahern said 133 surveys were submitted with ideas from students and parents at John Muir Elementary School and Roosevelt Middle School and from nearby residents and members of the nearby Adams Hill Homeowners Assn. and Adams Hill Merchants Assn.

He said many people wanted improved restrooms, more basketball courts, an improved picnic area, grassy area, playground, skate plaza and a wading pool or “some type of water feature where kids could cool off,” Ahern said.

New park features would include outdoor exercise equipment, climbing rocks and a splash pad for playing in water. The rear of the park would be kept quiet and the existing community garden would continue to be maintained.

Ahern said the parking lot would be repaved with permeable pavers. “We could do it with asphalt; it would be a lot cheaper. However, sustainability and green design and being a leader in that is part of our goal,” he said.

The grant could be awarded to the city in January 2012. The final plans for the three-acre park would be approved by the City Council at a later date. If awarded the grant, Ahern said the park could be open to the public in July 2013, but expressed concern about the competiveness of the grant application process.

“The emphasis is on new parks, not on refurbishing parks,” Ahern said of the grant requirement, “so it makes it very difficult to win an application for a project like this, but we’ve done our best and if we receive the funding, we would know in January.”

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