The long-awaited Gold Line Foothill Extension inched closer to breaking ground this week when a study determined a site in Monrovia is suitable for a $120 million maintenance yard crucial to the light rail project's progress.
A maintenance facility for rail cars for the project to go forward, and an environmental impact report certified late Tuesday by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority chose a site at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Duarte Road to house the facility.
Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said that the city has a deal in place with the construction authority and is waiting for Gold Line officials to secure additional land before the council officially executes the deal.
"The city supports the maintenance yard primarily because it will bring the Gold Line through Monrovia," Lutz said. "It ensures that the Gold Line is coming because MTA would not and will not approve the gold line through this area until we have a maintenance yard option."
The project is expected to bring more than 200 jobs to Monrovia, Lutz said.
The environmental report determined that the site in Monrovia--bounded by Evergreen Avenue on the north, Shamrock Avenue on the east, California Avenue on the west and Duarte Road on the south--is the "preferred" place for the maintenance facility to be built. Another option was explored in Irwindale, but officials from that city have made their opposition to the rail yard known.
The city owns about 50 percent of the 24 acres of land located in the light industrial zone in the south side of the city where the yard would go, but the MTA would be responsible for securing the rest.
Under the preliminary agreement reached with Gold Line officials, the city would be responsible for cleaning up the contamination on the 12 acres of land it owns. Years of industrial use left the area polluted, Lutz said.
Residents near the proposed rail yard site will have the next 30 days to file written complaints about the environmental impact report before the construction authority proceeds with purchasing the additional land it needs, said Metro Gold Line CEO Habib Balian.
Some residents , but concerns of many residents were alleviated when the city met with them in a town hall meeting.
Gwendolyn Jones, a resident on the south side of town and Pasadena Branch NAACP executive committee member, has called for the city to build a park and community center in the area if it expects residents to accept a noisy maintenance yard.
Jones initially said she opposed the yard but is now open to it as long as city officials seriously pursue a park and community center on the south side of town, which has long lacked such gathering facilities.
"Lately the city council is claiming they’re going to put a park down there," Jones said. "My point is if you must bring this railyard in…then we need to get something too."
Councilman Tom Adams called on the Kiwanis Club to help raise money for a park on the south side during Tuesday's City Council meeting. No official city plan to build a park or community center is in the works.
The foothill extension is expected to be completed in late 2014.