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Panel Tentatively Approves Plan for String of 4 Parks Near Freeway

August 21, 1986|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

Plans to build a string of four parks adjacent to the Glendale Freeway, including a fishing pond, amphitheater, botanical gardens, sports fields and tennis courts, have been tentatively approved by the Glendale Parks and Recreation Commission.

The "freeway parks" would be built on about 77 acres of a 392-acre site acquired by the city from Caltrans several years ago. The proposed parkland is in the San Rafael Hills immediately east of the freeway and north of Glendale Community College.

The commission last week unanimously approved plans developed by landscape architect Roger Kobata of Anaheim during a one-year, $13,000 study. But commissioners withheld final approval pending review and comment on the plans by the City Council.

$4.3-Million Price Tag

The parks could cost the city $4.3 million--more than double the $1.9 million originally estimated--and require five years to build, according to the report. Construction is not expected to begin for two to three years, Parks Superintendent Robert McFall said.

Kobata called the plans "just guidelines to give the city ideas of what can be facilitated on the sites. Nothing is concrete."

A specialist in municipal park development, Kobata designed seven parks for Placentia in Orange County, San Fernando Recreation Park for the City of San Fernando and the Liberty and Bowling Green parks in Westminster.

The Glendale parks are proposed for four relatively flat sites that were carved out or filled in during construction of the freeway by the state Department of Transportation. The proposed parks are separated from one another by ridges in a mountainous area along a one-mile stretch of the freeway.

New On- and Off-Ramps

The sites are accessible from Verdugo Road via freeway underpasses at Sherer Lane and Fern Lane in the Verdugo Woodlands area. Plans call for construction of northbound on- and off-ramps at Fern Lane.

According to the plans, facilities at the northernmost site of 22.7-acres could include a trout fishing pond, a 150-seat outdoor amphitheater, picnic and camping areas.

City officials said the site, which is isolated from residential areas, could also be used for commercial park development, such as a golf driving range, school or a health and fitness center. Funds raised by the city from commercial development could be used to build public facilities at the other parks, officials said.

Soccer and baseball fields and open play areas are proposed at the second site, on 33 acres east of Fern Lane.

Alleviating Traffic Problems

Kobata said construction of freeway ramps at Fern Lane could reduce the traffic traveling through the residential area to the two largest parks. Construction of the ramps, which would serve northbound traffic only, would cost about $250,000, he said.

A third proposed site, consisting of 17.8 acres, has been designated for community use such as combination tennis and volleyball courts, community vegetable gardens, open play areas and picnic tables.

The fourth area, which has only 3.2 acres and is closest to a residential neighborhood east of Sherer Lane, is designated for passive use only. It would include a proposed "Mayor's Commemorative Tree Grove," with trails and a botanical garden.

City parks officials said they could not say when plans for the development might be made final.

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