Park area will replace vacant lot

FS Construction workers Salvador Hernandez, standing, and Oscar Rivera prepare the sidewalk and driveway area for the pouring of concrete at The Passive Park Trail Concil Link at Indiana Ave. and Foothill Blvd. in La Cañada Flintridge. The area is on So. Cal Edison property. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / February 26, 2013)

Residents who drive or walk past an open dirt space on Foothill Boulevard will soon have a more pleasant view.

A project to turn a Southern California Edison plot of land into park-like grounds is set to be completed next month. It will include trees, benches and parking spaces. It will also offer more appealing scenery for those using a trail link that traverses the property.

Neighbors have long complained that the vacant lot was unattractive, said Ann Wilson, senior management analyst for the city. In 2006, officials devised a solution.

“Our point was, ‘let's use this in a recreational way but something that improves the property,'” Wilson said. “Someone could enjoy something they were looking at while on the trail.”

The $252,000 project is funded partially by a $150,000 Proposition A Excess grant. The remainder of the budget comes out of the city's General Fund.

City Engineer Ying Kwan said construction is running smoothly and is set to be complete sometime in March.

Wilson said residents and Edison were unhappy with the vacant parcel. The property had, in previous years, been leased for short-term purposes, such as a Christmas tree lot.

Neighbors who live around the open space may also get a reprieve from freeway noise. Last fall, city officials found funding for a third sound wall, to be placed between the homes near the new park and the Foothill (210) Freeway. Construction is set to begin later this year.

Wilson said turning the land into a park is part of the City Council's goal to beautify Foothill Boulevard.

And while they can't camouflage the Edison equipment there, the new park will be an upgrade.

“It's not as though you can hide all the electrical towers,” Wilson said.

“But you can improve the appearance.”

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