New vision presented for Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl should operate more like Yankee Stadium or the Heineken brewery, according to a report issued this week by a private urban planning group.

Experts from the Urban Land Institute, a research institute specializing in responsible land use, called on Pasadena officials to preserve the nature of the Arroyo Seco and offset the costs of a current Rose Bowl renovation by offering stadium tours, creating merchandise and charging for parking at the stadium, even when no official event is taking place.

The report, issued Thursday, also called for the creation of a nonprofit group to oversee all the features of the heavily-used recreational area.

“You have as many agencies managing this arroyo as Washington D.C.,” the institute’s Richard Perlmutter said Thursday at a Brookside Golf Club presentation.

Government agencies, including the Rose Bowl Operating Co., the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and Pasadena’s Public Works Department, share oversight of the Arroyo Seco, creating a “fractured government structure,” Perlmutter said.

The recommendations come as the 89-year-old Rose Bowl is undergoing a $160-million renovation that includes expanded luxury seating, larger tunnels and a new video screen. The work is scheduled to be completed before the 2014 Rose Bowl game.

Officials are looking to plug a $20-million funding gap for the project by raising private funds and possibly scaling back some of the planned work.

The panel estimated its revenue-generating proposals — Rose Bowl tours, holding weddings at the 50-yard line and charging for parking — could bring in $10 million a year.

Rose Bowl Operating Co. Chief Executive Darryl Dunn said the city already is considering tours and some of the other ideas.

“For them to come up with some of the same concepts is reassuring,” Dunn said. “But my sense is that $10 million may be a little ambitious.”

Urban Land Institute President Richard Rosan said Pasadena should shy away from temporarily hosting an NFL team, a move that some city officials see as a way to bridge the budget gap.

“While it will help financially in the short run, it will take away from the longer term what you need to do with the Arroyo,” Rosan said.

Dunn said the city has not yet decided whether to perform an Environmental Impact Report on hosting an NFL team.

Pasadena Planning Director Vincent Bertoni said the panelists provided “food for thought” and that the institute’s final report would be presented to the City Council.

Pasadena resident Tom Holaday, 60, said he regularly goes for a run around the Rose Bowl and liked many of the ideas in the report.

“But at the same time,” he said, “I’m worried that it will turn into Disneyland.”

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