By Evan Davis
Healing of west Pasadena’s deep wound begins
On page 3 of the spring 2023 newsletter, WPRA Board member David Bise ably summarizes the City’s first step – appointing citizens to a 710 Stub Working Group – in what will be a long process to decide what to do with the 710 “ditch” that California recently transferred to the City.
All Pasadena residents have had to live with the millions per year in lost tax revenue, making us all victims of the State’s mistake, but WPRA-area residents especially have endured the brunt of health, aesthetic and traffic problems for decades.
The good news is that local visionaries anticipated this possibility nearly 10 years ago when it provided a forum for citizens and community experts to envision what good could come of the State abandoning a 710 tunnel and how Pasadena could shape its own future.
The Connecting Pasadena Project (CPP) produced a masterful report that reflects the immense effort and talent of a wide spectrum of participants and could serve as a helpful starting point for the present debate.
For more on 710/CPP visit The Connecting Pasadena Project (CPP) page on this site.
The bad news is that the State has handed over property that puts Pasadena in a hole, literally and financially. The CPP report estimated in 2015 that “fill the ditch” alternatives would require an initial outlay of up to $80 million, with the hope that property sales and later tax revenues would reimburse our cash-strapped City’s outlay. Although relinquishing the ditch was welcome news, it has come as a surprise to me and others who weren’t involved in the CPP that simply making this neighborhood whole carries such a high cost.
Public input, particularly from the most affected residents matters, and appointing citizens representing every district in the City is a good thing, as any recommendations should have citywide support. Given the wide range of backgrounds and experience reflected on the Working group, I expect a vigorous and wide-ranging debate. I’m hopeful that those involved can find more areas of agreement than disagreement, and that we can build something that’s great for all of Pasadena and in particular for those closest to the ditch, who deserve nothing less given what they’ve had to live through for decades.
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