City Manager's Update: August 20, 2019
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
In an effort to provide an update of important news and notes from this last week, the following report has been prepared. As always, please feel free to let me know if you have a question about any of the items contained in this update – I can be reached via email at email@example.com!
And of course… all the best to you and yours as we continue through this week!
Quote of the Week
The oldest, shortest words – 'yes' and 'no' – are those which require the most thought.
Congresswoman Napolitano Visits Oak Crest Institute of Science In Monrovia
This past week, Congresswoman Napolitano visited Oak Crest Institute of Science to congratulate the team on their recent grant award of $748,000 for the i6 Challenge program, under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program, and to learn what other initiatives Oak Crest is leading.
The prestigious grant award will help fund the Monrovia – Oak Crest Science and Technology Incubator Program (MOST-IP), an innovative science and technology initiative aimed at building regional capacity to translate innovations into jobs through proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs.
Of note, the i6 Challenge program was highly competitive, with only 22 awardees out of 183 applications in 2019. Furthermore, Oak Crest is one of only two awardees from California.
Oak Crest attracts highly skilled scientists who impact their respective disciplines and inspire the next generation of scientists through mentored research. Furthermore, the institute has a strong commitment to the local community, where they consistently engage efforts to mentor Monrovia youth interested in the STEM field, participate as an employer in the City’s summer Youth Employment Service program, and help lead elements of the City’s Junior Researcher Academy and Spring Break SciLab initiatives.
Congratulations to Oak Crest! With the additional grant funds just awarded, we can’t wait to see the enhancements that will be made to our MOST-IP program moving ahead!
Rebuilding Of Lifted, Crumbling Sidewalk In Front Of MHS Is Complete, Staff Continuing To Coordinate With MUSD On Landscape Improvements!
We are happy to announce that all of the concrete along the frontage of MHS has been replaced. The repairs consisted of: curb and gutter, sidewalk access ramps, and the sidewalk itself, which was doubled in size to provide more space in front of the High School. All of the work was completed before school started on Wednesday!
As a reminder, the city will continue to work with MUSD/MHS Staff on the overall landscape improvements to the school. We are committed to our policy of 2-for-1 replacement of all trees that we remove. As part of the process, we will identify the appropriate replacement trees and the quantities that can be accommodated at the high school. Any additional replacement trees that cannot be planted at or around the High School will be replaced elsewhere throughout the City.
Please do not hesitate to contact our project team at Public Works with any questions or concerns. They can be reached at (626) 932-5575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience while we work to implement these necessary capital improvements!
Vacancy On Planning Commission Currently Being Advertised, Interested Parties Will Need To Apply By Monday, August 26!
We are so sorry to share that Planning Commissioner Coulter Winn recently announced his intentions to resign from his role with the City. It appears that Commission Winn has been asked to reengage his professional architectural career with Disney in a more involved manner, which has impacted his ability to serve on the Planning Commission. Many thanks to Coulter for his years of exemplary service to Monrovia!
Given that factor, the City has posted a notice of vacancy on the Planning Commission to fill the position left open by Commission Winn’s resignation. The formal notice of the vacancy has been posted and is available on the City’s Boards and Commissions webpage.
The application is available online as well, and anyone is interested in the position will need to submit an application by 6:00 p.m. on Monday, August 26. If you have any questions about this matter, please feel free to contact the City Clerk's Office at (626) 932-5505.
Monrovia Old Town Soapbox Derby Is Back!
On your mark. Get set. Go!
Monrovia Old Town Derby, LLC is thrilled to be bringing the popular soap box derby back to Monrovia, to raise funds for Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills. The event will take place in Old Town Monrovia on September 7. You can be a part of this exciting event revival by becoming an event sponsor!
Entries are selling fast, so make your way to the starting line! Fill out the registration form and email it to email@example.com. Pay the $40 entry fee by clicking below. For more information on the event, visit Monrovia Old Town Derby online, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram.
Monrovia Community Garden Program To Host A Free Composting Workshop On September 21 At 9:00 A.M.!
As part of the new Community Garden program, the City will be coordinating gardening educational workshops throughout the year, and all of these workshops will be free and open to the public! The first Garden Workshop was a Success!
Monrovia Community Garden hosted its first workshop: Veggie Gardening 101 to over 35 community members. Attendees learned about seasonal planting, pest and disease control, and basic gardening knowledge.
The second workshop will be held on Saturday, September 21, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., and will be focused on Composting! During this workshop you will learn about all things compost: What you can and can't compost, different types of compost methods, and all about our community compost program. All are welcome!
Also, in case you missed it, the Monrovia Community Garden was recently featured on Spectrum News. Award winning journalist, Ryann Blackshere Vargas interviewed one of our plot holders, Giangelo Leos and our Garden Director, Dr. Kristin Ritzau. Watch the story on Spectrum News story!
For more information on educational workshops, plot rental waitlist applications, or to learn more about the public demonstration garden, please call 626.303.6609 or visit Monrovia Community Garden online.
MODA at Monrovia Station to Host Leasing Expo
On Saturday, August 24, MODA at Monrovia Station will be hosting a leasing expo. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., there will be Spirits, hors d'oeuvres, tours of the community, raffle for grand prizes & more! For one day only, incentives for those who are interested in leasing include reduce prices, NO application fees, and a choice of vouchers for various vendors. Visit MODA online to RSVP.
Elevator Repairs Are Complete In Colorado Commons Parking Structure
We are delighted to announce that the public elevator at the Colorado Commons Parking Structure is back up and running! Thank you for your patience while we worked to execute these extensive repairs!
This week Mitsubishi completed all necessary repairs and testing. All work has been approved by the State’s elevator inspectors and it has been approved to be placed back in service.
We do apologize for the delay elevator in getting the elevator operational again! Should you have any questions, please contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575, should you have any questions regarding this matter!
T-Pumps Tea And Boba Shop Coming To Old Town!
Just a quick note to let everyone know that Old Town is getting set to welcome another new business to Monrovia’s premier downtown! T-Pumps, a very trendy and popular tea and boba shop with several locations in Northern California and one in Pasadena, will be opening a store in Old Town here soon. The store will be located at 510 South Myrtle Avenue, where the old Family Affair Music shop used to be located. For more information about T-Pumps, feel free to visit them online.
SGVCOG Votes To Provide The Gold Line With $126M In Funding, After Metro Affirms Their Commitment To Fully Funding Other SGV Transportation Project Priorities, Including Phase 2 Of The 57 / 60 Freeway Interchange Improvement Initiative, Which Is Currently $122M Short Of Being Fully Funded
I wanted to let everyone know that last Thursday, the SGVCOG voted unanimously to allocate $126M out of the $199M that the San Gabriel Valley has in Measure M Subregional Equity funds to fully fund the Gold Line extension through to Pomona. Of particular note, the unanimous vote was made after Metro reaffirmed their commitment to securing $122M in other transit funds to ensure that the Phase 2 of the 57 / 60 Freeway Interchange Project can be constructed, while also committing to finishing the SR-71 Improvement Project for the SGV.
Of particular note, many thanks to Council Member Shevlin, who spearheaded the overall movement requesting that Metro prioritize completion of other SGV transportation projects, including Phase 2 of the 57 / 60 Freeway Interchange Improvement Project. Also of note, the deal that was struck with Metro / Gold Line ensures that if the Gold Line doesn’t use all of the $126M allocated to them by the SGVCOG, any remaining funds would be returned to our region.
All in all, this was a really terrific result for the San Gabriel Valley, and many thanks to the Monrovia City Council for their leadership regarding this particular issue. We are looking forward to seeing the Gold Line being extended out to Pomona, and having other regionally important transportation initiatives completed by Metro.
Camphor Trees Located Adjacent To The High School On Madison Avenue Set For Removal Prior To The Start Of School, City Will Also Replace These On A 2-For-1 Basis Moving Ahead
We wanted to let everyone know that as part of our improvements at Monrovia High School (MHS), the City is currently making plans to remove the camphor trees located on Madison Avenue, between Colorado Boulevard to the south of the high school tennis courts to the north. The camphor trees, which are the same species of trees that were recently removed from the front of MHS, are inappropriate parkway trees as they are invasive, they grow to be quite large, and they compromise the infrastructure in the area. In addition, the trees along Madison have been reviewed by an arborist and are showing signs of decline and health issues.
These trees will be removed beginning Monday, August 12, and be completed by the end of Tuesday, as school resumes on Wednesday.
Of course, the City will maintain our 2-for-1 replacement policy, and or plan now is to have the trees removed prior to the start of the new school year, with the replacement trees set to be planted this fall. As all the green-thumbed Monrovians out there probably know (and as our City arborists have shared!), the fall is the best time to plant trees. Root structures for trees grow best in cool soil, and fall planning allow the tree to grow roots in the fall and again in early spring, before having to dedicate energy to growing leaves when the weather warms up. City staff is continuing to coordinate with our counterparts at MUSD and MHS to coordinate the overall landscape improvements, which will include the selection of the appropriate trees to plant as replacements for these removals.
As this process unfolds, please do not hesitate to contact our project team at Public Works with any questions or concerns at (626) 932-5575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
YES Interns Graduate From Summer Internship Program
On August 6th, our 31 YES Interns graduated from the summer internship program! Not only did the interns gain real-world experience, but they connected with the various community members to learn how important relationships are for a city to thrive. Each intern was paired with a working professional mentor from the City of Monrovia, Oak Crest Institute of Science, Centre Stage, the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, or the Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills. Congratulations, Interns! And many thanks to our terrific mentors, program supporters, and our amazing YES interns for a truly memorable and impactful summer!
This Year’s National Night Out Was A Huge Success!
On August 6th, community members gathered under the oak tree in Library Park to meet the men and women of the Monrovia Police Department at the annual National Night Out! National Night Out strives to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Not only was the event’s goal to help residents see the faces behind the badge, but it also gave all the chance to learn more about the tools and methods used to help ensure the city’s safety. Throughout the evening, community members had the opportunity to sit in squad cars, explore the BearCat, explore all areas of the department such as CAP, Patrol, and Communications, and ask officers questions, all while eating delicious food!
This is one of the Police Department’s biggest community outreach events designed to expand the trust our community has, not only for the police department, but for all of us, and it couldn’t have happened without everyone working together. Special thanks to Athens Services for providing hot dogs and burgers for everyone, Citrus College’s Night Shift for providing fantastic entertainment, everyone who hosted informational booths and donated raffle prizes, and of course, all the community members who joined us for the evening!
Join Monrovia’s Police Officers’ Association For A Red Cross Blood Drive On September 4, 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM
The Monrovia Police Officers’ Association is hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive on Wednesday, September 4, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., in the Community Center Multi-Purpose Room at 119 W. Palm Avenue. In a hurry but still want to donate? Schedule your appointment ahead of time at www.redcrossblood.org and enter the sponsor code “MONROVIA.” Your donation directly supports trauma victims, so spread the word to help get as many donors as possible from around the community! We hope to see you there!
Southern California Edison Electrical System Improvements Impacting Portions Of Myrtle, Walnut, And Primrose
Construction crews and inspectors from Southern California Edison (SCE) are continuing to coordinate a significant electrical system improvement/relocation project that is affecting the area of Myrtle Avenue, Primrose Avenue, and Walnut Avenue. As you might recall, work previously broke ground in June on a project to relocate some existing SCE utility lines out of an alley and over to Walnut Avenue to connect vaults from Myrtle Avenue to the SCE substation on Primrose. While work did begin in June, there were some engineering and design issues that have been addressed and the crews have returned to work.
For the next couple of weeks, work will be focused along Walnut Avenue where significant trenching will take place as demonstrated in the photo below! Construction crews, inspectors, and City representatives have coordinated these efforts with the local businesses as there will be intermittent road closures and the reduction of traffic to westbound moving vehicles only for the next couple of weeks. This will allow the crews to continue the trenching and installation in the most effective manner possible as well as staging equipment and materials.
Please avoid the area of Walnut Avenue, between Myrtle and Primrose, for the time being while this work continues. Should you need to travel in this area, please watch for construction activity and be aware of all road closure and detour signs.
As work progresses, it will shift onto portions of Myrtle Avenue and Primrose Avenue. Staff will be sure to communicate directly with the directly impacted residents and business owners as well as providing updates within the weekly update.
Please contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or email@example.com with any immediate questions or concerns.
Sign Up For The Monrovia Area Partnership Youth Or Adult Leadership Academies This Fall!
The Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) is excited to present our youth and adult leadership academies for the fall season! MAP is a city program facilitated by Neighborhood Services staff that hosts events and meetings to train and connect community members dedicated to improving Monrovia. Stay connected by liking MAP on Facebook, and we hope you’ll consider signing up for one of our academies below!
MAP Adult Leadership Academy
One major goal of the MAP Program is to encourage residents' involvement in their neighborhood and in the community. Through the MAP Leadership Academy, we train residents to recognize and utilize city resources; provide leadership skills; and encouragement to become engaged in the community.
- Thursdays, September 12 - October 24
- 7:00 PM - 9:00PM, Library Community Room
- RSVP Online
MAP Youth Leadership Academy
The Monrovia Area Partnership (MAP) Youth Leadership Academy is similar to the Adult Academy but is designed for middle and high school aged youth. The Academy’s goals are to assist the youth in learning, developing and growing. We start by exploring with them how they themselves are leaders (even if they don’t know it yet!); then they are given examples of how others use their skills to make a difference. After learning from others, they learn how we work together as a community and ends with putting all that they learn into ACTION.
- Wednesdays, September 11 - October 23
- 3:00 - 5:00 PM, Library Community Room
- RSVP Online
Friends Of The Monrovia Public Library Book Store
The next time you visit the library, don’t forget to check out “the only book store in town”, the Friends of the Monrovia Public Library Book Store! Located in the library, the store provides bargains and hidden gems for those who love books, wish to build their children’s libraries, or are looking for a unique gift for the bibliophiles in their life. All proceeds from the book store fund library programs and collections. Summer Reading, Veterans programs, the Makerspace Collection, and the Chinese Language Collection are just a handful of the items the Friends have supported over the years. The Friends of the Monrovia Public Library, established in 1957, have been raising funds and supporting the library for 52 years. The book store opened with the new library building in 2009 and is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers. We are grateful for their time and their willingness to serve.
If you would like to support the Friends and the important work they do for the library and community, drop by and stock up on some of your favorite reads at the store. You can also join the Friends, members receive special discounts and offers at the store! Membership rates start at $15 a year and make a wonderful gift. The Friends of the Monrovia Public Library is a 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit their website or stop by the Friends Book Store and pick up a membership application.
Friends of the Monrovia Public Library Book Store Hours: Monday – Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Oak Crest To Be Presented With Award From By San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership At Their Annual Gala In September
Our very own Oak Crest Institute of Science has been chosen by the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership to receive the “Success Within Workforce Development” award! Oak Crest, along with three other organizations, will be presented at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Saturday, September 21, during their annual gala. For more information, please visit their website. And again, congratulations to Oak Crest on this achievement, and many thanks for all of the wonderful work they do!
Paving Activities Set To Resume In Monrovia Renewal South Section Beginning This Week!
This next week, Sully- Miller will initiate paving activities in the Monrovia Renewal South Section that have been on hold for the past couple of months. Sully-Miller was approved to complete the remaining, 1.35 million square feet of 2” asphalt overlay street improvement work in the South Section of Monrovia Renewal, which includes the area of the City located below the 210 Freeway.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding while we have worked to coordinate the completion of this work and we are confident in Sully-Miller’s ability to execute this work in the most efficient and least disruptive manner possible. This past week Sully- Miller completed pavement grinding in order to prepare for paving operations.
- Paving operations will proceed according to the following schedule:
- Monday, August 19
- Streets include: Diamond Street, Fifth Avenue, Naples Avenue, and Venice Avenue
- Tuesday, August 20
- Streets include: Encino Avenue and Genoa Street
- Wednesday, August 21
- Streets include: Anita Street, 8th Avenue, and 9th Avenue
- Thursday, August 22
- Streets include: Alta Vista Avenue, El Norte Street, Spanner Street, and Pomona Avenue
- Friday, August 23
- Streets include: Shamrock Avenue, Monrovista Avenue, and Hurstview Avenue.
- Monday, August 19
- All paving, striping and project cleanup is expected to be completed by the end of September!
As with all sections of Monrovia Renewal Work, impacted residents will be notified at least 48 hours prior to any work taking place. Residents are advised to adhere to all notices received and posted parking restrictions. More information can be obtained by contacting the Public Works Department at (626) 932-5575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information will be provided weekly in this update. Thank you for your patience as we work to complete these improvements!
Do You Have Sustainable Landscaping… And Want To Save $25 On Your Water Bill?
If you’ve said yes, please visit www.monroviaconserves.org to submit your application for our sustainable landscaping program. Through this program, residential water customers may enter their sustainable landscape to showcase efforts to conserve water! For more information and to submit your application, please visit www.monroviaconserves.org or call (626) 932-5575!
As part of our Water Conservation efforts, the City’s Sustainable Landscape Recognition Program provides Monrovia residents the opportunity to showcase their drought tolerant landscapes in an effort to promote water conservation.
In order to qualify for this program, the project area should include:
- Drought-tolerant area should be in the front yard visible from the street
- No more than 50% of your landscape should be turf
- No more than 30% of your landscape should be non-permeable, such as concrete
We encourage you to include:
- Drought-tolerant plants, such as succulents or other cacti, and plants native to Southern California
- Installation of drip irrigation or rotating nozzles
- Permeable hardscape such as decomposed granite or permeable pavers
- Inclusion of mulch areas
- Please complete the application and attach three photos of your landscape.
- Qualified participants will be recognized by the City and receive a one-time $25 credit on their water bill.
Monrovia Renewal North Area Construction Continuing, With Major Street Work Set To Resume In Late August
Monrovia Renewal construction activities are continuing in the North Section Project area, which is the area of the City located to the North of and including Hillcrest Boulevard, Greystone Avenue and Grand Avenue. Work on the water and sewer system improvements are nearly completed and road work activities will resume in late August / early September. At this time, crews are continuing to focus on concrete curb and gutter, sidewalk, driveway approaches, and other concrete improvements in the project area.
Over the coming week, the work will include:
- Tuesday, August 20
- Streets include: Alta Vista Avenue, Cloverleaf Drive, Hidden Valley Road, and Scenic Drive
- Wednesday, August 21
- Streets include: Alta Vista Avenue, Hillcrest Boulevard, Magnolia Avenue, Mesa Circle, Patterson Drive, Scenic Drive, and Terrace View.
- Thursday, August 22
- Streets include: Canyon Boulevard, Encinitas Avenue, Hillcrest Boulevard, Ivy Avenue, Library Park, Ridgeside Drive, Scenic Drive, Seymour Place, and Shady Oaks Drive.
We appreciate your patience and support while we work to execute these improvements throughout our community! If you have any questions regarding Monrovia Renewal, please feel free to contact Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or email@example.com.
Suspension Of Street Sweeping Enforcement In North Section Construction Area As Monrovia Renewal Work Continues Through End Of August
Just a reminder that as the construction activity continues in the Monrovia Renewal North area, the City has suspended enforcement of street sweeping parking restrictions. This action will, hopefully, alleviate the burden of the construction related parking restrictions and make it a little easier for residents to access their properties while construction is taking place.
While construction activity continues in this section, residents are advised to adhere to all posted construction parking signs! The suspension of enforcement applies only to street sweeping restrictions; all other parking and vehicle code sections will remain enforced. The suspension of citations related to street sweeping will take into effect June 17, 2019 and will continue through August 31, 2019. We appreciate all of your patience as we continue Monrovia Renewal. Should you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to call (626) 932-5575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
City Has Been Following-Up With Supervisor Barger’s Staff After Successful Breakfast Meeting Event
Recently, the City Council held a special meeting with LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger to discuss a variety of issues that overlap between the City and LA County. The meeting was successful, and all of us at the City appreciate the work that Supervisory Barger does to support Monrovia and the rest of her district.
We wanted to share that based on the Supervisor’s comments at our meeting, coupled with follow-up discussions that we had with her staff following the meeting, it appears that some tangible take-away results from the meeting include the following:
- Consideration by LA County to allocate $300,000 (from LA County Parks & Open Space District Excess Funds) to support our efforts to upgrade Lucinda Garcia Park
- Commitments to improve the process of allocating LA County Measure H homeless funds to support successful local homeless response models, with a particular emphasis on Monrovia’s very own Housing Displacement Response Program
- An allocation of $5,000 from LA County to support our Youth Employment Services internship program
- Continued support from the Supervisor for our rWMP stormwater programs
A copy of the presentation that we used to guide the discussion with the Supervisor can be found online, and of course, we will be certain to keep everyone informed as to our progress on each of the above referenced partnership projects with LA County!
Concept Plans Developed For The Lucinda Garcia Park Improvement Initiative As Part Of Our Proposition 68 Grant Application
During the past few months, the City has been hard at work a preparing a grant application to fund improvements at Lucinda Garcia Park. This effort has been undertaken in response to the State of California issuing a notice of funding availability regarding funds to be distributed via Proposition 68, the State Park Bond Program, and applications are due August 5.
As part of our grant application efforts, the City has coordinated substantial public outreach efforts, including:
- May 30 – City staff hosted a Pop-Up Outreach Event at the entrance of Lucinda Garcia Park in an effort to gather feedback from families picking up students from Monroe Elementary School about possible improvements at the park
- June 8 – City staff conducted door-to-door outreach to the neighbors living adjacent to Lucinda Garcia Park to gather their feedback regarding possible improvements to the park, while also advertising a special Community Meeting on June 15 to discuss specific proposed park improvements
- June 13 – the City hosted a special meeting of the Community Services Commission at Lucinda Garcia Park, which provided an opportunity for the Commission to walk the park facility and provide feedback to staff as it relates to the proposed enhancements.
- June 15 – the City hosted a special Community Meeting to further explore and gather feedback from residents regarding potential enhancements at Lucinda Garcia Park
Based on the information received from the above referenced outreach efforts, the City recently developed a conceptual design of the improvements to Lucinda Garcia Park that we’re hoping to incorporate into our Proposition 68 Grant Application. That conceptual site plan is included below, which highlights 22 proposed park improvements.
Many thanks to our Community Services Department team for their terrific work in coordinating a robust community outreach program as part of our grant application, and for shepherding along the review / design process to in such an expert manner.
Monrovia Library Awarded With The Beacon Media News’ Reader’s Choice Award For Recommended Library!
We wanted to share with everyone some good news we received this past week! It appears that congratulations are in order for the Monrovia Public Library, because as part of the Beacon Media News annual Reader’s Choice awards program, our very own library facility was named the Recommended Library!
All of us here at the City are so pleased with this award and recognition, and special thanks to the hard-working team at the Monrovia Public Library for their dedication and commitment to providing a superior customer service experience at our library facility! Additional details regarding the award will be made available in the coming weeks, we just wanted to get the word out now and share the good news!
City Entryway Improvements At Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue Set To Take Place In Mid-July – City Council Approved Proceeding With Initial Design Details Shown Below
During the past year, staff has been engaged in coordinating a capital improvement project that will result in a reconfiguration of the intersection at 5th Avenue / Huntington Drive. The planned improvements are funded through a variety of different sources, and the overall elements associated with the enhancements include:
- An initial reconfiguration of the Southeast entryway corner of Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue to facilitate future phases of the improvements
- Installation of a new entryway monument at the location (along with corresponding entryway monuments / public art along the entire stretch of Huntington Drive in Monrovia), along with new landscaping
- Widening Huntington Drive at 5th Avenue in Monrovia to facilitate improved traffic flow at the location
- Installation of new traffic signals at the Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue intersection to facilitate protected left turn movements in all directions
Given the coordination that has occurred to date, the first phase of the planned improvements – reconfiguring and widening the southwest entryway corner of Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue to facilitate all of the other enhancements – is scheduled to begin in a few weeks in mid-July. As part of that work, the existing entryway monument was recently removed (and is being preserved!) by the City.
In order for the reconfiguration of the southwest entryway corner on Huntington Drive to proceed, the City needs to expand the area of this particular corner to facilitate all of the planned future work. To accomplish this task, the City’s contractor will work to expand the covering over an existing underground pedestrian trail that travels below Huntington Drive, along the Santa Anita wash.
Utilizing some of the existing structure, a box culvert will be built in the wash that will include a traffic rated deck to match the existing grade of the corner. This will add more than 250 additional square feet of space to this corner and will form the basis for the eventual installation of new welcome monuments, improved landscaping, new traffic signals, and pedestrian space.
This overall work will take around 4-weeks to complete, and although the work will take place out of the roadway, there may be times when contractors will be encroaching onto Fifth Avenue and Huntington Drive during the construction activity. Of course, in those instances, proper and thorough traffic control will be installed to ensure that the work zone is safe at all times. In addition, due to the potential traffic delays, our team has been in touch with our counterparts at the City of Arcadia to advise of potential impacts. Finally, we ask all motorists and pedestrians in the area to be please be safe and expect delays.
Of note, given the visibility of the entryway monument at 5th Avenue / Huntington Drive for Monrovia, staff scheduled a City Council Study Session to review the planned improvements at the intersection location on July 16 at 6:30 p.m. At that meeting, City Council approved proceeding with the initial design details, samples of which are included below for reference!
Moving forward, we will be sure to update everyone as we make progress on these improvements at 5th Avenue / Huntington Drive! In the meantime, if you have any questions about this matter, please call Public Works at (626) 932-5575 or email PWComments@ci.monrovia.ca.us.
Western City Entryway @ Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue
Eastern City Entryway @ Huntington Drive / 5th Avenue
Make Plans To Join Us For The Third And Last MAFA Summer Art Walk In Old Town On Saturday, August 24, 7:00-10:00 P.M.!
The June and July Art Walks have been a huge hit! If you missed them, fear not for there is still one more chance! The Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (MAFA) Summer Art Walks offer a glimpse into the local arts scene. Visitors get to enjoy art along the sidewalk in the 400 block of South Myrtle Avenue on Saturday, August 24.Additional information can be found on the flyer below, by visiting the event page or by calling (626) 483-0560. Many thanks to MAFA for all that they do to advance arts and culture here in our community!
It’s Official… New Lowe’s Store Is Coming To Monrovia! Appliance-Focused Concept Will Be Located In The Former OSH Site On Huntington Drive!
We wanted to let everyone know that we received confirmation late this past week that Lowe’s is coming to Monrovia! If you recall, after OSH closed their store earlier this year at the shopping center now anchored by Petsmart (725 West Huntington Drive), the City has been in fairly close contact with numerous individuals who either represent or are interested in the now vacant OSH site.
We are pleased to confirm that Lowe's will be opening a store here in Monrovia at the former OSH location! In particular, Lowe’s owned OSH, and given the closure of all OSH locations, during the past several months, Lowe’s has been reviewing their portfolio of now-vacant sites to determine their next steps. Based on that review, Lowe’s informed the City that they want to open a new appliance-centric store concept here in Monrovia that will also provide opportunities to purchase home improvement related items that are typically found in a Lowe’s store.
Of note, the proposed store concept being put forward by Lowe’s is likely a response to the reorganized Sears that exited bankruptcy protection earlier this calendar year. Under Sears’ new business plan, they are focused on transforming into a niche, appliance-focused retailer, and Lowe’s is likely looking to compete in that particular retail space with their proposed store in Monrovia.
From a timeframe perspective, Lowe’s has shared that they want to move quickly, and that they are aiming for a new store opening in September of this year. Given tenant improvements / store upgrades processes, to open in September 2019 would require Lowe’s to move very quickly. To that end, we are tentatively anticipating that Lowe’s will be appearing before the Development Review Committee (DRC) on July 31 to present their overall store signage plans for consideration.
This is a terrific development for Monrovia, and kudos to the City’s Community Development Department for their expert coordination of various processes in working with and convincing Lowe’s to open a store here in Monrovia! We’ll be sure to pass along new details as that information becomes available!
Canyon Park’s Family Night And Campout Program Continues To Be A Hit, With Four More Weekend Sessions Scheduled Through September 2019!
Our talented Canyon Park and Library staff hosted another successful Family Hike & Campout event in our very own Canyon Park! This popular program fills up fast, as families are eager to make memories under the stars, and enjoy a BBQ dinner, s’mores, a hike, story-time, and more! Luckily, there are still three more chances for you and your family to attend the campouts this summer! Be sure to sign up early to get your spot!
- August 25 - 26 - Registration opens on Saturday, August 3
- September 7 - 8 - Registration opens on Saturday, August 17
- September 28 - 29 - Registration opens on Saturday, September 7
- Check In: 2:00 p.m., Check Out: 12:00 p.m.
- Cost: $50
Should you have any questions about these terrific events, please call the Community Services Department at (626) 256-8155!
Summer Concerts In The Park Every Weekend Through August 25!
The Community Services Department will be hosting the 2019 Summer Concert Series! Bring the entire family for an evening of free musical entertainment from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chair or blanket, sit back, relax and enjoy the variety of music. We are excited to offer dance lessons at 6 of our concerts! Mark your calendars and don't miss out!
Saturday Concerts @ Station Square Ampitheater
- Address: 1601 South Myrtle Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016
- Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
- August 24 -Langston Theard & Adoration, Gospel Soul Band
Sunday Concerts @ Library Park, Rotary Club Bandshell
- Address: 321 South Myrtle Ave., Monrovia, CA 91016
- Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
- August 25 - The Answer, Classic Rock Band
For additional information, please contact the Community Center at (626) 256-8246!
City Council Adopts Resolution To Call For A Special Election To Keep Monrovia Revenue Local Sales And Use Tax Proposal On November 5, 2019
Over the past few months, staff has coordinated more than a dozen outreach meetings to discuss the possibility of calling for a special election in November 2019 for our community to consider a sales tax increase. The genesis of this idea was borne from the propensity of LA County to continue gaining approval for local sales tax rate increases, which have placed Monrovia on the precipice of hitting the State maximum rate of 10.25%. Currently, we only have 0.75% of sales tax capacity remaining, and there are several potential regional sales tax increase proposals being considered.
Throughout all of our outreach efforts, the response from most of the community regarding the possibility of increasing our local sales tax rate to keep Monrovia’s revenue local (and away from regional agencies, like LA County) has been generally positive. Given that feedback, on May 7, staff prepared a study session overview for City Council regarding our efforts to date, and also outlined a staff proposed spending plan should the measure be approved. The proposed spending plan was developed based on looming future fiscal threats, and to fund aspirational local priority projects that have been put on hold due to lack of funding. The key priority funding areas include:
- Fund an upgrade to the City's Community Center
- Achieve a AAA Rating
- Give money back to residents by lowering the monthly municipal services bill
- Continue to invest in capital upgrades, including parks, facilities and infrastructure
- Set a fixed amount of money aside for community priorities, such as affordable housing, community based organizations, and schools.
These items were discussed in greater detail at the May 29 and June 4 Budget Study Sessions with the City Council. Additional details regarding the proposed spending plan and sales tax initiative can be found online.
Following all of the consideration regarding this matter, the City Council last Tuesday voted to adopt the requisite resolutions needed to call for a special election to allow the community to consider the Keep Monrovia Revenue Local Sales and Use Tax Proposal. The item will be considered by Monrovia voters on Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
During the next several months, staff will continue to reach out to various community groups to gather additional feedback, and as the spending plan continues to develop, staff will continue to keep everyone apprised of any new information.
City Council And Planning Commission Approve Moving Forward With Initial Parking And Traffic Mitigation Plans
Recently, the City held a joint City Council / Planning Commission meeting to review and discuss additional parking and traffic mitigation plans in the Station Square area, given the increased development interest Monrovia is currently experiencing. While the City has instituted significant development mitigation programs in our attempt to find a way to balance the competing need to address increasing housing costs with protecting our existing quality of life, both our policy makers and staff have wanted to spend additional time thinking about parking and traffic related concerns.
All of the proposed development projects, along with the City’s current development mitigation program, can be found online at www.buildingmonrovia.com.
Regarding parking concerns, staff has been working to develop additional parking mitigations for consideration as we prepare to consider entitlement of the next wave of development projects. After much analysis, we have developed a mitigation effort for policy maker consideration that would require all major residential projects in the Station Square area – and anywhere in the City, for that matter – to establish in their lease agreements a requirement that prohibits their tenants from parking on any City street.
In addition, regarding traffic impacts, staff has for the past several months been working on an overall analysis of the potential cumulative traffic impacts that could result from establishment of the proposed development projects currently in our pipeline. To that end, we recently completed a comprehensive review of a study area of the entire City located south of Huntington Drive. As part of that review, we analyzed 29 separate traffic intersections, and modeled what would happen if we were to have all of our currently identified projects approved.
As we conducted our review, our assessment priorities included:
- Our General Plan has identified the minimum acceptable operational level during peak hours for each of our intersections.
- We modeled future traffic conditions through the target year of 2040, and included in our assessment regional growth patterns, known development projects, and other projects allowed by the General Plan by 2040.\
- This assessment was intended to see what would happen in the year 2040 at each of the intersections if we do nothing to improve the situation.
Based on the analysis, our review concluded that by 2040, development patterns will add a total of 2,048 morning peak hour trips, and 3,457 afternoon peak hour trips. Also, the review indicates that if we do nothing, in 2040, 12 of the 29 study intersections will be operating at less than the requisite level of service as articulated in our General Plan.
Given this analysis, State law allows us to assess a Traffic Impact Fee on all new development that would require that project proponents pay for their proportional share of the additional traffic being generated by their developments. To that end, we are working to institute a Traffic Impact Fee in Monrovia, which if approved, would raise funds from each of the new developments to make traffic / intersection improvements as identified in our study. The identified improvements are highlighted in the map below.
We will be taking steps to institute the actual implementation of the Traffic Impact Fee program and the proposed parking mitigation program with the Planning Commission and City Council in the next several months.
Visit www.buildingmonrovia.com For All Of Your Development-Related Questions
To provide more information on the unprecedented development interest taking place in Monrovia, the City has spent the last few months creating a new website focused on helping residents and businesses not only learn more about each project that is being considered, but also answer frequently asked questions about the impacts these development may have on the community. The website includes pages on all the major areas of concern, such as:
- Affordable Housing
- Public Safety
- And more!
The City held a joint City Council / Planning Commission to review the upcoming major development projects that will be considered for entitlements starting later this year. The Commission, Council, and community members provided valuable feedback at the meeting that will help guide next steps as these projects move through review. The major projects that are likely going to be considered by the City this year include:
- Trammell Crow Residential - "The Alexan Specific Plan
- A 436-unit project proposed to be built at 1625 South Magnolia Avenue
- Fifield Realty Corporation - "West Pomona Transit District"
- A 310-unit project proposed to be built at 123 West Pomona Avenue
- MW Investment Group - "Arroyo at Monrovia Station"
- A 284-unit proposed project to be built on the City block by South Magnolia to the west, South Primrose to the east, West Evergreen to the north, and West Pomona to the south
- City Park-and-Ride Lot
- A proposed ~130 key Cambria hotel project located on the City's park-and-ride lot at the southwest corner of Myrtle Avenue / Pomona Avenue
We do hope that you take the opportunity to look through www.buildingmonrovia.com and learn more about all of the exciting developments that are taking place in Monrovia! For in-depth details on each project and to track each project as it moves through the development process over the next several months, you can also visit the Development Spotlight page on the main City website.
New State Regulations Have Further Eroded Local Control Over Housing Decisions
As the City prepares to consider several large-scale development projects, one housing note that we wanted to share with everyone relates to the impact that recent State legislation has had on our local land use controls as it relates to housing development. As you may recall, in 2017 and in 2018, the State approved a series of legislative amendments to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), which combined has reduced local government authority to deny or reduce the density of proposed housing development projects.
To highlight how those pieces of legislation impact a municipality’s ability to regulate development, a full memo on the matter can be found online. In particular, I wanted to highlight some of the key changes that staff is currently grappling with:
- The new regulations adopted by the State stipulate that if a project conforms to a City’s applicable development standards (i.e., no variances or exceptions are sought), it will be extremely difficult for the City to legally deny any housing project.
- Furthermore, while a City can still institute a design and neighborhood compatibility review process, the City essentially now cannot deny a housing development project, or impose conditions that the project be developed at a lower density, unless strict findings can be identified which indicate that a project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health or safety.
Again, a memo outlining all of the new State mandated housing development regulations that we are contending with can be found online.
Are You In Need Of Accessible Transportation? Register For Monrovia's Dial-A-Ride Program!
As of March, Monrovia Transit serves passengers with ADA needs only. This change is being made to ensure the ADA accessible vehicles are reserved for those who need special accommodations. All passengers with ADA-related needs wishing to take advantage of this service should complete this short, one-time application, including providing back-up documentation showing disability eligibility, sign the waiver, and return both to the Community Center (119 W. Palm Avenue).
This Week’s Happenings At The Monrovia Public Library!
The Monrovia Public Library is a special community gathering place that makes a difference in the lives of children, teens, adults, and families of all kinds. Experience all that the Library has to offer by visiting us in person at 321 S. Myrtle Avenue, and if you have any questions, contact the Library at (626) 256-8274!
Monrovia Library's Great Stories Club @ Canyon Oaks High School
Monrovia Public Library collaborated with Canyon Oaks High School as part of the 2018 Great Stories Club with the theme of “What Makes a Hero?” Using the titles provided by the grant, staff conducted an hour-long book club once a month for four months on the school campus, and students participated during their fourth period credit recovery class, earning English language credits for participating in discussion and writing an essay on a topic related to the book discussed at that month’s meeting. Since students participating in the book club at Canyon Oaks are in 11th and 12th grade, the ability to recover credits is crucial for graduation. Through the course of the meetings, students not only discussed the books but reflected on the challenges they face in their lives. Through conversations with the school counselor, library staff learned that the students participating in the program looked forward to book club meetings as a constant in their often chaotic lives.
At the end of the school year, the school’s administration asked for a continuation of the program in the 2019-20 school year, covering the entire year and allowing students to get full credit. The library applied for the 2019 Great Stories Club grant cycle, with the theme of “Growing up Brave on the Margins,” which seemed to be especially tailored to the needs of this particular group of students. While it is difficult for teens to navigate growing up and facing life’s challenges, it is even more so for teens who feel that society has given up on them. As one Canyon Oaks student stated, alternative high schools are seen as places students are sent “after it became apparent you didn’t care.” His attitude toward school reflected this expectation, before he was able to defy this preconception with some help from dedicated teachers and staff. The collaboration with the school makes it possible for library staff to also step into this role.
We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the great team at Canyon Oaks High School. We will meet with our project partners at COHS at the end of the month to discuss details for the meetings, which will start in September.
We’re thrilled to have received the following feedback from COHS staff:
“I wanted to thank you for your partnership with starting Book Club at Canyon Oaks HS. It was very successful! The students enjoyed and looked forward to the meetings each month. The books they read also helped them earn English credits toward HS Graduation. We hope to work with you again next school year!” – Adlina Dugan, school counselor
“I agree with Ms. Dugan, the kids loved being a part of the book club. It was a great way to engage them in reading outside their scheduled English classes. This is a great way for students to get elective English credit! Thank you for coming to Canyon and offering this to our students, we are very grateful.” – Annette Freitas, English teacher
Veterans Service Officer @ Monrovia Library On Mondays
The library has partnered with the County of Los Angeles Military and Veterans Affairs Office to coordinate an on-site Veterans Service Officer (VSO). He is available in the Monrovia Public Library’s Veterans Resource Center on Mondays from 10am-4pm. Please call (626) 256-8294 for an appointment.
The VSO is available to provide assistance to veterans and their families in preparing and submitting claims and in representing claimants before the federal, state and local agencies providing veterans benefits. Please see the flyer below for the full list of services and benefits.
Book Baskets Now Available for Check Out from the Library
Starting in August, the green and red Library Book Baskets are now available for check out. No more juggling large stacks of books to your car or trying to keep all your library books in one place at home. Now you can put them all in the basket and use it to corral them while at home. When it comes time to return everything, just grab the basket and go! The book baskets check out for three weeks and will automatically renew up to two times.
Conversation Groups @ Monrovia Public Library
Culture and Conversation: Practice speaking English by discussing and reading the 'News for You' weekly newspaper in a friendly and relaxed setting. Build confidence in your work, school, family and social life. The group meets every Wednesday from 6:00 - 7:30 pm in the Library Heritage Room. For more information call 626-256-8273 or email email@example.com.
Speak Easy: Join us for round-table talking and practice speaking English in a friendly and relaxed setting. New topics weekly, including: popular culture, work and jobs, health, and more. Build confidence in your work, school, family, and social life. The group meets every Thursday from 12-1:30 pm in the Library Heritage Room. For more information, call 626-256-8273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interesting Story Of The Week – Take A Look Around You And Know This… Half Of All Americans Wear The Same Pair Of Underwear For Two Consecutive Days Or More!
Our interesting story of the week comes to us from the New York Daily News, which published an article this past week under the following headline, which says it all…
“TMI: Nearly half of Americans don’t change underwear daily, new survey says”
Yeah, you read that right… “[n]early half of Americans have worn the same pair of underwear for two or more days, according to a survey by apparel maker Tommy John.”
According to the article, apparel maker Tommy John coordinated the survey of 1,000 people, and through the survey, discovered some interesting trends regarding our underwear habits. Some of the most interesting findings included:
- 45% admitted they had worn the same pair of undies for two or more days
- 13% said they had worn the same pair for a week or more
- Men were 2.5x as likely as women to wear unwashed undies for a week or more
This is all tremendously interesting news… and really… kind of gross too! Because as the article notes, “[o]verall, because underwear sits next to skin containing E. coli despite our best efforts, and because washing it never kills all that bacteria, there is always going to be something there.”
Hmmm… to read more on this “interesting” habit of nearly 50% of Americans, click on the link below!
Police Department’s Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report
The Police Department’s weekly neighborhood watch report for the period August 8-14, 2019, has been included for your review and reference. During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 407 service events, resulting in 75 investigations. A copy of the report can be found at the following link: Weekly Neighborhood Watch Report
Key Links & Help Keep Monrovia Beautiful:
- City News and Highlights
- Meeting Agendas and Minutes
- GoMonrovia Details to Get Around with Lyft
- Graffiti Removal and Gift Card Program
- Abandoned Bulky Items Reporting and Raffle Program