City Council held an adjourned regular meeting Monday where city staff presented on fundraising for Alhambra’s involvement in the Special Olympics, a discussion on implementing an off-leash dog park, and a proposal to indefinitely ban mixed-use development on East Main Street.
City staff intends to raise $10,000 to host delegates from the Special Olympics, said City Programmer Paolo Kespradit. The majority of the funds will go towards food, hospitality, events, and activities for the delegates that Alhambra will be hosting in conjunction with Monterey Park. Alhambra has partnered with the Special Olympics through a Host Town program to provide athletes and coaches with food and entertainment from July 21-24. To fundraise, the city will partner with businesses, solicit donations through inserts in water bills, and host events such as a pancake breakfast and a casino night. “With our extensive fundraising campaign, we’re more than confident that we will surpass our $10,000 goal,” said Kespradit.
Kespradit added that anyone interested in volunteering with the Host Town program may pick up and fill out an application at City Hall.
City staff also talked about potentially building a 30,000 square feet dog park on New Avenue and Ramona Street. Fencing for the park is estimated to cost $54,000 in addition to the cost of adding benches, clean-up stations, water stations, and ongoing maintenance. Ray said he will be taking the proposal to the Parks and Recreation Committee.
The hours of operation have not been determined, but Ray said that, as lighting isn't currently included in the plans, the park would "probably" open at 7AM and close at 4PM.
Councilman Luis Ayala raised concerns about the closing time. "My only concern is if we’re going to spend $50,000 to 100,000 on putting together a nice piece of land for dogs, we want to make sure it’s usable," said Ayala. "I would think a lot of dog owners walk their dogs after work. So that needs to be considered."
Mayor Gary Yamauchi had an issue with safety in the park, saying that smaller dogs need to be kept separated from big dogs. Ray said that because the proposed space is relatively small for a dog park, there would be no rule designating areas for small dogs and big dogs, as some dog parks have. “The bottom line is I think this property is too small," said Yamauchi. "I don’t like a dog park unless it has a separate portion for small dogs. I think it’s too dangerous.”
While the city has already placed a 45-day moratorium on development on East Main, city staff proposed to indefinitely eliminate mixed-use development along East Main Street. Tara Schultz, Director of Development Services, said that the proposal was created to "preserve and promote businesses that are already there."
This proposal would also ban mixed-use housing. City Manager Mary Swink noted that, currently, Alhambra municipal code stipulates that only mixed-used developments may be used for housing along this stretch of Main Street, so the ban would make it impossible to build any form of housing along East Main. Swink added there are currently no proposed projects for East Main.
City Council viewed the ban on East Main positively, but some members expressed the need for caution when taking potential housing away. "I would not like to see our restrictions be so rigid that people won’t consider Alhambra at all. I hope we have some flexibility in there,” said Yamauchi.