Piece of Mind: Giving fields a sporting chance

Wildlife activists prevailed over youth sports proponents this week when the Pasadena City Council voted Monday to reject one of two proposed sports fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park, across the street from La Cañada High School. And the field that remains on the drawing board may well get the boot one day down the road, as the conservationists continue their fight to keep the area behind Devil's Gate Dam as open and wildlife-friendly as possible.

Where's the hue and cry, the gnashing of teeth? I don't know if it's because it's mid-July and La Cañada parents are with their offspring on vacations, or whether people just aren't as rabid as they were earlier this decade about the need for additional sports fields, but it's strangely silent.

I'm not saying there should be complaints, as maintaining open space and thereby protecting habitats isn't a bad thing. I'm just surprised because in city meetings earlier this decade there were plenty of comments (I'd even categorize some of those as impassioned pleas) made by adults and kids alike about the dearth of playing fields within our city limits. So much so, in fact, that in 2002 our City Council worked on getting Pasadena to agree to a joint-use venture that would allow La Cañada sports teams to share any fields developed in Hahamongna. And, in 2003, two sports fields did make their way onto Pasadena's plans for Hahamongna, cheering local coaches who were growing tired of trying to pin down time and space on La Cañada fields for games.

It's hard for me to believe, especially after witnessing World Cup fever this month, but maybe fewer of our kids are getting a kick out of soccer these days and our fields aren't quite as impacted as they were. Or, as the school district has discovered by looking at enrollment trends, maybe it's just because there aren't as many families with young kids moving into the area.


In other developments unrelated to sports and kids, we've been eyeing the local remodeling efforts at Vons and Ralphs as they gird themselves against the arrival of a rival, the Henry's Market that's in the design stages and will go into the space on Foothill at Beulah where Sport Chalet used to be. Has anyone else noticed how bland the exteriors are of the new and improved supermarkets? Beige, beige and more beige, relieved only by their big logos. Is that what we've become, people? Boring beige?

Give me the Town Center any day, with its more colorful buildings and interesting lines. (OK, I'll concede that the decked parking in the center is beyond homely. But hope springs eternal, and I keep thinking mature landscaping will soften that eyesore.) Now if we could just see the center — and the Vons complex — filled with fabulous businesses instead of empty storefronts, it would all be good.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the La Cañada Valley Sun. E-mail her at ccormaci@valleysun.net.

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