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City Moves to Buy Land for Southside Park

The City Council directed staff to pursue a plot of land on Los Angeles Avenue that could later be turned into the city's first park on the south side of town.

A plan to bring a park to the south side of town for the first time in the city's 125-year history came closer to fruition last week when the began the process of purchasing a plot of land on Los Angeles Avenue.

The council directed city staff to make a $299,000 offer on a property in foreclosure that has become available at on the corner of Los Angeles and Sherman Avenues. If the city's offer is accepted, it would eventually tear down a home on the property and turn it into a neighborhood park.

"We have been discussing the need for a park in the south part of our community for as long as I can remember honestly," said Councilman Joe Garcia during last week's council meeting. "This is a step in the right direction."

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz was dubious about the city's ability to pay for the land, however.

"Do you have as suggestion where we might find the funds to purchase this property right now?," Lutz asked Councilman Tom Adams when he suggested the purchase.

City Manager Scott Ochoa said the money would have to come out of the city's general fund reserve. Adams, a member of the , challenged the local to raise some of the money for the park after suggesting that the city acquire the property.

Because the land would need to be environmentally cleared, City Attorney Craig Steele said that the council would need to meet again and approve a purchase agreement should the seller accept the city's offer.

Councilman Garcia noted that the Sherman Avenue neighborhood where the park would go received a "Neighborhoods U.S.A." award for its participation. He suggested the council name the park after the award. A resident suggested that the park be named after , the south side advocate who has long pushed for the park.

The bank that owns the property will put it up for sale on September 15, according to Adams. No other sites have been identified as suitable for a park in the southern part of town.

Joe Black September 14, 2011 at 09:30 PM
There are many ways Monrovia cam come up with this Money: The City Council could give up their Medical Benefits. That would provide $58,000 Annually towards the purchase Price and Park Maintenance. As many of the council members (Mary Ann Lutz for example) take this money as cash payouts, they should should use this money to benefit our residents on the Southside. Especially since the Residents voted in 1950 not to provide compensation to elected officials.
Joe Black September 14, 2011 at 09:48 PM
Another Savings could come from eliminating Cell Phones for Public Employees in Monrovia. Monrovia’s Monthly Cell phone bill for public employees was $6748 for the month of February 2011. The Overview of the lines I received from Monrovia documents 137 Cell Phones 60 of which had no usage that month. I also noted several wireless data plans for peoples laptops.
Joe Black September 14, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Kate K has a great point regarding having Monrovia Management pay for their own gas. Auto allowances cost Monrovia over $55,000 in 2009. Upper Management positions receive $4,200 a year and Mid Management positions receive $2,400. No mileage needs to be documented to receive this payout.
Joe Black September 15, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Another way to pay for the entire property would be to call in the loan the City Council made to Scott Ochoa for his home. The City of Monrovia made Scott Ochoa a loan for 275,000 of which none of the Principal has been paid back. Since the loans inception on 6/1/2004, Mr Ochoa has been making interest only payments of $458 dollars. According to the loan agreement this was supposed to be a 5% 30 year 0 down 2nd mortgage and and yet m Ochoa is only paying 25 Annually and according to City officials, my Ochoa is not required to pay interest on the difference between the 5% agreement and the 2% annual he is paying. If the City can afford to give sub prime loans to the City Manager, why can't it afford to buy land for a park for the residents on the south side of town?
jake September 16, 2011 at 02:35 PM
First city council will never ask for Mr. Ochoa to give back his car, if they did then he would ask them to give back their perks they receive. Second are we speaking about a park for humans or a dog park. Seems tiny in size.

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