Rose Bowl neighbors supportive of renovation

PASADENA – Lee Zanteson and Gordon Treweek can breathe a sigh of

relief.

After opposing a failed NFL initiative first launched in 2003,

the Arroyo Seco neighborhood leaders say they can live with a $152

million stadium renovation plan approved Monday.

While opposition to the NFL proposal culminated in the defeat of

a 2006 ballot initiative, Monday’s approval by council members of

the more modest renovation has been met with little argument from

nearby residents.

“There really is no (other) choice for the city,” said Zanteson,

president of the Linda Vista/Annandale Association. “If you didn’t

do it, the Rose Bowl would deteriorate and we would have a real

white elephant on our hands.”

In fact, Zanteson believes the current renovation plan is

“pretty reasonable.”

Project architects, he said, are making whatever improvements

they can while still preserving the stadium’s historic character,

something that could not have been guaranteed by the NFL.

And although the

football league had offered to

invest some $500 million in stadium improvements, some residents

feared the NFL would have had to increase the number of events

there to pay for them.

“As you can see now, we’re scaled back to $150 million in

improvements, which I think will make the Rose Bowl very relevant

to

college

football in the 21st century,” said

Treweek, president of the East Arroyo Residents Association. “It

will really upgrade the facility very nicely.”

Meanwhile, the city gets to maintain control of the iconic

stadium to better protect residents, Mayor Bill Bogaard said.

In fact, that was largely the reason that the City Council voted

in June 2005 to forego submitting a proposal to the NFL for stadium

improvements, favoring the development of a non-NFL alternative

instead, he said.

“In the end, the NFL doesn’t occupy a stadium that it doesn’t

control,” Bogaard said. “And in the end, Pasadena doesn’t give up

control over the world-famous Rose Bowl.”

Zanteson said that he is generally pleased with measures in

place meant to reduce construction impacts and protect nearby

residents.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed last month between

the Rose Bowl Operating Company and the three neighborhood

associations most affected by the project: the West Pasadena

Residents’ Association, the Linda Vista-Annandale Association and

the East Arroyo Residents Association.

The MOU provides several points of contact for residents who

face problems during construction.

However, “it’s never going to be as good as you think it is,”

Zanteson conceded. “We just have to wait and see. We think we have

a mechanism in place to deal with problems. That’s the best you can

hope for.”

At two recent council meetings where the Rose Bowl renovation

plan was discussed, not one concern about potential impacts to

surrounding neighborhoods was raised.

This is largely the result of monthly meetings between stadium

officials and leaders of the three neighborhood associations that

began about two and a half years ago, said Darryl Dunn, Rose Bowl

CEO and general manager.

“They want the Rose Bowl to be successful,” he said. “They just

don’t want their lives to be disrupted too adversely. We respect

their position and they respect ours.”

Councilman Steve Madison has argued that as funds become

available they should be spent on relieving impacts to the area

that a massive construction project is certain to cause there.

Residents in the Arroyo Seco will have to play an active role in

communicating concerns with their council representatives, said

Councilman Victor Gordo, president of the Rose Bowl Operating

Company board.

While the Rose Bowl is an asset to the city, it can’t be used to

the detriment of one or two neighborhoods, he said.

“That’s the fine balance we are attempting to strike,” he

said.

Construction of the project is expected to start in January and

be completed by the 100th Rose Bowl game in 2014.

brenda.gazzar@sgvn.com

626-578-6300, ext. 4496