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Public gives input on improving, expanding Glendale city parks

The Verdugo Wash at Cañada Blvd. on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Glendale recently held two community meetings as part of Los Angeles County's Park Needs Assessment Study, a countywide effort to gauge the needs for parks and recreation in cities and unincorporated areas.

The Verdugo Wash at Cañada Blvd. on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Glendale recently held two community meetings as part of Los Angeles County’s Park Needs Assessment Study, a countywide effort to gauge the needs for parks and recreation in cities and unincorporated areas.

(Roger Wilson / Glendale News Press)

More than a dozen residents came to the Pacific Community Center on Saturday to tell Glendale officials what kinds of projects they envision to improve and expand the city’s parks.

The meeting was one of two the city held as part of Los Angeles County’s Park Needs Assessment Study, a countywide effort to gauge the needs for parks and recreation in cities and unincorporated areas.

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Glendale was split into a north and south region, with a meeting to focus on the needs of parks in each. The north region meeting was Jan. 30 at Sparr Heights Community Center.

Each attendee was given 10 stickers to add to the page of whatever project they deemed important.

“The challenge is there’s a lot of need and there just isn’t enough funding to go around,” said Grant Michals, a commissioner for Glendale’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

The Ward family make their way through the Catalina Verdugo trail at the Glendale Sports Comoplex in this file photo from June 1, 2013.

The Ward family make their way through the Catalina Verdugo trail at the Glendale Sports Comoplex in this file photo from June 1, 2013.

(Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

Michals came to the meeting to “get a feel” for what residents want for their community and was happy to see the public weigh in.

“Obviously, I would have liked to seen a bigger turnout,” Michals said. “But to have people come out and express their opinions and go ahead and vote (and) participate in the process, it can only be a good thing.”

City staff presented several project ideas, while residents’ suggestions were jotted down on large sheets of paper and placed on the back wall of the indoor gymnasium where the meeting was held.

Among those desires were: to expand the restrooms at Pacific Park; to replace the play surface at the playground; to build a new community pool; and to construct a shade structure at the Glendale sports complex.

For La Crescenta resident Desiree Rabinov, the important projects were for the city to “repurpose the Verdugo Wash” to create a bike path and pedestrian trail and to transform the Rockhaven Sanitarium into a community center — something she says families in the area are in need of.

“We’re lacking that resource up there,” she said.

Rabinov and Glendale resident Kara Sergile both said the meeting format was effective and efficient, with good ideas being offered.

One thing Sergile, who has two children in middle school, would like to see is a community pool built north of the Ventura (134) Freeway, as well as better connectivity to local parks.

“I want to give [my kids] the freedom and independence to do that safely,” she said.

Tereza Aleksanian helped run the meeting for the city of Glendale and said the next step in the process is to hand off the results of the 10 “priority projects” to the county by the end of February.

The county is expected to wrap up its study at the end of May, she said.

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Ryan Fonseca, ryan.fonseca@latimes.com

Twitter: @RyFons


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