Many San Marino citizens who turned out for the third discussion on plans for the Lacy Park Rose Arbor were able to agree on one idea overall: they liked the design of the original arbor.
Parks and Public Works Director and City Engineer Michael Throne, who organized the Wednesday morning and evening meetings on Nov. 15, said attendees were “pretty consistent in thought and notions, and were really able to articulate with the 2005 rose arbor imagery, that that’s what they’re expecting to see again.”
The same agenda was covered in both meetings, including discussion on the traditional design, the color and look of the material used, sustainable materials and material durability.
Both meetings also included discussions to not replace the rose arbor, leaving it as a rose pathway instead, changing out the roses for nonclimbing varieties and improving irrigation.
Some citizens who attended the evening meeting said they advocated for this option because the area is “fine as it is,” with a little pruning, while others felt the city’s unfunded pension liability is a larger concern than installing another arbor. Some also took the time to express their concern over the process, making it clear that they wanted time for future input to come to a consensus on the final design.
Throne emphasized that there’s no deadline set or rush to complete the project, voicing his intent to take all concerns and discussed options into account.
“There isn’t a huge rush on this,” he said at the Wednesday evening meeting. “It’s more about having a good process so that it’s clearly articulated what should be done.”
He added that it’s also not the best process to discuss how much it costs first.
“You put yourself into all these boxes and then wind-up with a product that you’re really dissatisfied with,” he said. “You might be spending the dollars that you want to spend but you’re not going to get the satisfaction of what it is. If you start in the other direction, and come back with ‘ok, this is what we really want it to look like,’ but have very basic perimeters.”
An initial $117, 000 donation by former San Marino City Councilmember and Mayor Dr. Matthew Lin and his wife, Joy, was made in 2016 in memory of Dr. Lin’s parents who spent their last days in Lacy Park. The Lins have pledged a total of $200,000 over four years for the project, and former Interim City Manager Cindy Collins said in August that the city began a fundraising project to contribute toward the arbor as well.
Throne said there won’t be any more community meetings for the Lacy Park Rose Arbor, but community members will still be able to participate in the process when the project is brought to the city’s Design Review Committee, and later to the San Marino City Council on a “study session” day for discussion.
In the meantime, the Parks and Public Works Director said he has the plaques of the families who donated to help with sponsoring individual posts, construction of the structure and the arbor’s maintenance. The plaques are in his office and will be incorporated in whatever option is decided, those families will not be forgotten.