New gates to boost Brand park security

Preliminary design plans for new gates at Brand Park were reviewed Monday by the Historic Preservation Commission. The new gates will allow the city to better control public access to the site.

The project is rooted in ongoing security concerns. In January 2010, two Glendale men were stabbed on the Brand Park basketball courts. And in 2007, a 21-year-old opened fire on a group of men, striking a nearby car carrying four people. No one was hurt.

Subsequently, the Northwest Glendale Homeowners Assn. called on the city to enhance security measures. The City Council approved $711,000 in upgrades to lighting, tree trimming and fencing. A ranger also was temporarily stationed at the park to provide a security presence.

The new gates will be located at the main entryway at Mountain Street and El Miradero Avenue and at a driveway further west near Mountain Street and Western Avenue, said city architectural specialist Layla Bettar.

The main entryway dates back to 1913, when the Brand family added the east wing to what is now known as the Brand Library. As it exists today, the main entryway includes unlocked pedestrian gates. It does not have gates across the roadways, leaving the park open 24 hours a day. The secondary driveway currently includes only a fire gate.

The new gates would be locked when the park is closed, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“The main purpose of the gates is to keep cars from coming into the park after closing hours,” Bettar said.

The new gates will be set back slightly to give aesthetic priority to the existing gates and walls, Bettar said. The new gating at the main entrance will not be affixed to the entryway’s historic white columns, but rather to new support posts, she added.

At the west entrance to the park, the city plans to install a rolling gate so that when it is open, it will not be visible from the street, Bettar said.

The total cost for the project has not yet been calculated, she added.

Some commissioners expressed support for the plans.

“What they have there now just doesn’t work at all for me,” said Commissioner Mike Morgan. “I didn’t realize that it was as meager as it actually was. Anything that provides some sort of security for Brand Castle, I am all for it. Form follows function and I think this works. It is not the most ornate, but it definitely works for me.”

But other commissioners said they would like to see the design of the new gates match the decorative ironwork of the 1913 originals.

“I think the current proposal is sympathetic to the original,” said Desiree Shier. “However, it looks to me a little too simplified and therefore a little too much in contrast to the very ornate gates.”

The design proposal will undergo further modifications before returning to the commission in the coming months.

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