Claremont COURIER/Saturday, August 18, 2012
Construction continues during council’s summer recess
hough the Clare-mont City Coun-cil Chamberremains dark this monthas the city continues itssummer recess, workcontinues for citystaffers preparing for thefast approach of fall.
Construction and other main-tenance projects have carried ondespite the August heat wave. Aparticular focus of these projectsis the city’s parks and recre-ational facilities, especiallythose used for fall sports. Thesummer break is the perfect timeto renovate fields and facilitiesbefore kids return for fall sports.“It gives [the fields andcourts] a good 10 weeks rest,”said Maintenance SupervisorMike McCabe. “It’s like a dayspa for the parks.”Construction began on theClaremont Hills WildernessPark parking lot earlier thisweek as work concluded atCahuilla Park. With fall sports atthe high school already underway, thenew and returning crop of CHS tennisplayers will be treated to shiny new ten-nis courts at Cahuilla. The park’s 8courts were resurfaced as part of a re-volving maintenance project that in-cludes pressure washing, patchingcracks and holes, applying acrylic paintand striping.“Just like our basketball courts, whenthey get worn down after a while it be-comes a slip hazard,” Mr. McCabe saidof the courts, which are also open forpublic use. “Plus it keeps them lookingnice and new.”The grass is also receiving specialtreatment this summer. Turf renovationis taking place at 5 Claremont sportsparks: Griffith, La Puerta, Larkin,Padua and June Vail. Though seem-ingly contradictory given the blazingheat, summer time is the best time toreseed, according to Mr. McCabe.“It gives the turf time to rejuvenatebecause of all the wear and tear fromthe sport’s groups,” he said, but alsoadding, “you want to do it when the turf is active. This is the prime time.”El Barrio Park will also get a minimakeover with the addition of newgooseneck basketball poles and back-boards, replacing a backboard recentlyfound broken. Mr. McCabe also notedthat the poles “were really old and inneed of replacement.”
Construction lends accessibilityto city streets
arks aren’t the only city facilitiesinvolved in construction and reno-vation projects. After months of gutter and road construction on IndianHill Boulevard and Mountain Avenue,street renovations are moving towardcompletion in the next couple weeks, ac-cording to City Manager Tony Ramos.The city’s thoroughfares have beenhost to numerous construction projectsover the past year aiming to keep theboulevard up-to-date with currentAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA)standards. Projects have included re-moving and replacing old ramps andportions of sidewalk for upgrades. Thestreet itself also received deep patch re-pair, crack fill, street grinding and anew asphalt overlay.Ramp upgrades are now officiallycomplete on both Indian Hill andMountain, according to Mr. Ramos.The contractor, Gentry Brothers, con-tinues work on irrigation and landscap-ing restoration. These smaller projectsare expected to be complete within thenext 2 weeks.In other building news, a new ChaseBank has also popped up on the cornerof Indian Hill and Mountain during thesummer months. Crews are completingfinishing touches on the bank with anattached drive-through, according tolandowner Jim Harris. The bank re-ceived final approval last fall after anappeal to deny the project by TonyHusson, co-owner of the 21 Choices lo-cated within the same shopping center.Among Mr. Husson’s concerns was hisconcern that his business, located be-hind the Chase Bank would be blockedfrom view. However, many welcomedthe addition of the bank and Mr. Har-ris’s offered to purchase a sign promot-ing all of the businesses in the center topassersby.Despite the tedious process to gainfinal approval, the project moved for-ward with full force. Construction isnear complete and a grand opening cel-ebration is set for September.
Hot issues welcome back council
n addition to the construction, thecity prepares for a busy agenda inSeptember. A possible rate increasefor the Claremont Dial-A-Ride programis one of the upcoming topics up forcouncil discussion.The Community and Human Serv-ices Commission recommended thefare increase last month after severalpublic hearings on the non-profit organ-ization. The program was sent for com-mission review by the city councilbecause of its increased popularity andcost. The program has seen its ridershiptriple in the last 3 years, according toAssistant City Manager Colin Tudor ina report to the council in April. An esti-mated 78,000 cab rides are expectedthis year alone.With the way the program is grow-ing, the city’s designated funds willonly be able to maintain the programfor the next 2.5 years, according to cityofficials.“If we keep the costs where they areat currently, we will have no funds leftwithin 2 1/2 years,” said ClaremontManagement Analyst Cari Sneed.The city is recommending an in-crease to combat the problem before ithappens. Though Ms. Sneed contendsthat no formal recommendation for aprice increase has been suggested, rid-ers may see rates double from the pres-ent rate. Currently, the general publicpays $1.25 for a one-way ride, and sen-iors and those with disabilities pay$0.75.The hope is the increase will encour-age users to become more conscious of the rides they request, according toGeorge Sparks, administrator of thePomona Valley Transportation Author-ity that provides the Dial-a-Ride service.“It may give someone pauseto consider carpooling or usinga little shoe leather for the day,”Mr. Sparks said, with the hopethat services will be more avail-able for those with no othermeans of transportation. “Wewant to make the price moreappropriate with the value of service. The goal is to narrowthat margin per trip.”
Art orchestrator for hire
iring a consultant to or-chestrate the Public ArtMaster Plan is alsoslated for review by the council.The art consultant will be re-sponsible for producing the artmaster plan, which will give di-rection for the selection andplacement of public artthroughout the city. Up to$50,000 has been designated inthe city’s 2012-2014 budget tohire a city art consultant respon-sible for implementing thismaster plan, which was desig-nated as a key city project at thecouncil’s priority-setting work-shop held last December. Thegoal of the plan is to create aframework for the selection andplacement of public art within the city.It would additionally serve to addressfunding sources, as well as review cri-teria and decision-making processes.“The hope is that this master planwill provide a unified community vi-sion, clarify key themes and values, andprovide direction on the selection andplacement of public art,” said MelissaVollaro in a previous interview.A community art program and art or-dinance were first adopted by the cityin 1997 in an attempt to enhance Clare-mont’s aesthetics and cultural quality,according to Ms. Vollaro. Public ArtCoordinator Francine Baker was hiredto carry out the various elements of theart program, which includes trackingthe city’s public art inventory, rotatingart exhibits and art installations. Thecity council believes adopting a PublicArt Master Plan will more clearly de-fine the process of how this public art isselected and placed in the community.“It provides opportunities for publicexposure to the visual arts and to ac-knowledge our local artistic commu-nity,” she said. “It inspires pride,identity and a sense of place among therest of the community.”City officials are required to post theagendas for all general council andcommission meetings 72 hours in ad-vance, according to standards of theCalifornia Brown Act. View theseagendas and other city happenings byvisiting www.ci.claremont.ca.us.
COURIER photos/Cameron BarrJuan Lopez smoothes out a driveway for a new Chase Bank Thursday morning on Foothill Boule-vard and Mountain Avenue in Claremont. The group has been working on the project throughoutthe summer and plan to finish by mid September.