The San Marino City Council honored the late former Mayor Gene Dryden and forged ahead with construction of the Lacy Park rose arbor by accepting a construction bid at Wednesday night’s meeting in City Hall.
Dryden was a lifelong citizen of San Marino who passed away on New Year’s Eve at the age of 86. Dryden served the San Marino community in numerous ways, including several years on the San Marino Planning Commission and three terms on the San Marino City Council, where he was vice mayor from 1990 to 1992 and mayor from 1992 to 1994.
Mayor Gretchen Shepherd Romey presented a proclamation to his wife of 63 years Ann Dryden, to honor and recognize his dedication to the community.
“He was always a pleasure to work with in my interactions,” said Shepherd Romey. “It has always been a genuine inspiration to me in terms of his public service.”
Ann Dryden was accompanied by their daughter, Laurie Modean (with husband Paul Modean) of San Marino, grandchildren Hunter Modean and Gracie Modean; and son Jim Dryden (with wife Michelle Dryden) of Oak Park and grandchildren Pifer Dryden, Kathleen Dryden, Gillian Dryden and Padraig Dryden.
“This room and these chambers were very important to Gene and meant so much to him,” Ann Dryden told the council. “I know that he was so grateful to be part of the city government. It was his way of giving back a small part of what San Marino had given and done for him. I know he would want to say ‘good luck’ to each one of you all and thanks to each of you, and I want to say myself and for our family, thank you all so much.”
With the Lacy Park rose arbor, the council unanimously decided to award the $645,790 construction contract to Courts Construction Company, LLC, of Glendora.
Director of Parks and Public Works/City Engineer Michael Throne said the design was completed in October and the process is on track for the arbor to be completed in August.
Throne said that the city received last week a pledge of $50,000 from the San Marino Rotary Club for the project and an additional pledge from a community member of $200,000. The council also included $215,800 for the project from the capital improvement fund.
With the remaining budget gap of $229,990, the City Council discussed plans for additional community funds to be raised so that construction could begin. Throne shared that Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s office offered the city $250,000 in funds from LA County Prop A park bond money which would close the funding gap, but it would come with strings attached.
“These funds however would require the city to discontinue the weekend park entry fee for non-residents,” said Throne, noting that the rule would remain in perpetuity.
In light of the restrictions and considering that the city takes in $60,000 annually from the non-resident weekend park entry fee, the City Council decided to keep the fundraiser in control of the community. The city will seek additional donation options, including possibly holding a fundraising event at Lacy Park.
“I am so thrilled to get this built,” said Shepherd Romey. “However, for the sake of our community, I feel strongly that accepting Prop A money in this regard is a bad decision for us as a community.”