YWCA building brings Pasadena officials back to the drawing board … again

Article published by the The Pasadena Star-News. Julia Morgan, the state’s first licensed woman architect, may be best-known for her design of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, but she also designed the former YWCA building in Pasadena, pictured Jan. 17, 2012. Potential rehab projects have come and gone, but city officials are hoping to find one that sticks this time around. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity). At Pasadena City Hall, officials look across the street, toward the historic YWCA building, and figuratively scratch their heads: They’re still trying to figure out what to do with the site the city purchased in 2012. Continue reading

Fundraiser to Save the Civic Center

The Julia Morgan YWCA and The Historic Civic Gardens Are At Risk!   The Pasadena Civic Center Coalition cordially invites you to a Reception and Panel Discussion"Saving Our Endangered Civic Center"Moderated by Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star-News Public Editor The Coalition continues leading the charge against the City's plan to destroy our renowned historic Civic Center. Please make a generous contribution to support the Coalition's lawsuit. Continue reading

Robinson Memorial - Civic Center Gardens' Jewel

Jackie and Mack Robinson were two of the most significant residents of Pasadena. For breaking many barriers, bronze portrait sculptures, to commemorate their lives, were dedicated November 6, 1997. These larger than life sculpture are located on Garfield Avenue, north of Union Street, across the street from City Hall. Completed June 20, 2002 with a ring of granite tiles etched with donor’s names, benches and landscaping, including peach trees. (Pasadena Star News 6/21/02) Continue reading

Report From the Pasadena Civic Center Task Force

The City Council established the Civic Center Task Force on July 17, 2017 to provide recommendations to the City Council regarding new construction/development and land-use standards of the YWCA and YMCA blocks consistent with the Central District Specific Plan; possible programming of public rights-of-way within Centennial Plaza, Holly Street and Garfield Avenue; and potential landscape/hardscape improvements.  The City Council requested that the Task Force provide its recommendations to the City Council within six months of its initial meeting. Continue reading

Council votes to deny subsidy and form a Task Force to find a new solution

SUBSIDY REJECTED; HOTEL PROJECT PRESUMED DEAD; TASK FORCE ORDERED A LIVE-TWEET REPORTING OF THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING ON MAY 22, 2017, IN WHICH CITY COUNCIL RE-CONSIDERED GIVING A PUBLIC SUBSIDY TO THE KHP PROJECT. BACKGROUND: As part of its original submittal in 2013, KHP proposed to pay to the City a required lease payment of at least $300,000 per year. KHP claims that their costs have increased to the point of unprofitability and requested two economic subsidies: No lease payments for the land and the YWCA building, and No charge for parking, City to dedicate 136 parking spaces out of its existing garages, for free.   Continue reading

In Civic Center, Pasadena must protect its unique sense of place: Guest commentary

Article published by the The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Nearly a century ago, Mayor William Thum exhorted Pasadena residents to join “the great forward civic movement” by approving a plan for a group of civic buildings that would serve as a “joy to the people” and “become known far and wide.” The voters responded, passing a $3.5 million bond issue to pay for the construction of three iconic public buildings that we now enjoy: the City Library, the Civic Auditorium and our magisterial City Hall. Along with the YMCA and YWCA, these buildings form the perimeter of a grand civic commons that indeed delights Pasadena residents and gives our city its unique sense of place. Continue reading

Council "pauses" on offering Public Subsidy

The City Admits Design is Disappointing A live-tweet reporting of the City Council meeting on April 3, 2017, in which City Council considered giving a Public Subsidy to the KHP project. Note: All statements are paraphrases captured live, not word-for-word quotes. BACKGROUND: As part of its original submittal in 2013, KHP proposed to pay to the City a required lease payment of at least $300,000 per year. KHP is now requesting two economic subsidies: No lease payments for the land and the YWCA building, and No charge for parking. (City to dedicate 136 parking spaces out of its existing garages, for free.) Continue reading

Pasadenans try to preserve Robinson memorial, historic architecture: Larry Wilson

Article published by the The Pasadena Star-News. Members of the Robinson family in front of sculptures of Mack and Jackie Robinson in Pasadena’s Civic Center. (Photo by Walt Mancini/Pasadena Star-News) Racial injustice and architectural preservation are two of the perennial pivot points of Pasadena politics, and perhaps always will be, but rarely are they twinned as an issue. But at a community gathering Sunday afternoon at a Craftsman house hard on the Arroyo Seco, I saw that when it comes to those who object to current plans for a new hotel incorporating the Julia Morgan-designed YWCA in the Civic Center, those who are passionate about African-American history and those invested in the City Beautiful movement’s impeccable public planning in Pasadena have found common cause. Continue reading

Fighting on! Public Meeting to Save our Civic Center

Join your neighbors and concerned Pasadena residents at a public meeting to save our historic Civic Center and Gardens. We will discuss the scope and impacts of the proposed project. Bring your friends, your participation is valued. Come to meet your fellow neighbors and share your comments and concerns in a forum setting. Please help us protect the grandeur of Pasadena's renowned Civic Center from private development encroaching on our public parkland! Continue reading

Developer Attempts to Quietly Remove 36 Trees Surrounding the YWCA

CCC members speak at Pasadena's Urban Forestry Advisory Committee Lawyers for the Kimpton Hotel project are asking to remove 36 trees at the Urban Forestry Advisory Committee. Several employees of the YMCA testified that they and their clients walk through the parkland and beneath the trees multiple times a day and enjoy the garden setting very much (this contradicts some claims made by planning commissioners and others that "no one uses the parkland except the homeless). Continue reading