Big Tree Park Set To Get Much Bigger

Photo by Zak Bushey.

Plans to expand Big Tree Park are one step closer to reality after the City Council voted for a cost-effective option November 10.

The Glendora City Council voted 4-1, with Mendel Thompson voting against, to choose the least costly option of expanding Big Tree Park sans restrooms, at an estimated of $45,000.

The Community Services Commission presented three options, two of which included public restrooms, in their conceptual designs for the expansion of the park. Initial plans by Community Services involved the Big Tree’s expansion as a “passive park” without restrooms.

Big Tree Park Expansion – Phase I initially involved the acquisition and demolition of a nearby unoccupied home at 649 S. Santa Fe Ave. and the installation of commercial-grade fencing.

The city sought bids from companies to demolish the house, but the City Council eventually rejected all bids in September of 2015, expressing concern that the approved conceptual plans did not include a restroom.

Linda Hermann, Community Services Chair, spoke both as a commissioner and as a resident and spoke overwhelmingly in favor of installing restrooms November 10.

“I want Glendora to rise to its own standard and set the standard for other communities to follow,” adding “to leave a park because you need to use the bathroom because none are available is unacceptable.”

The Council agreed that the cost of either converting the existing structure or building new bathrooms is too high and that the volume of patrons using Big Tree Park for large, events (such as weddings) was not high enough to warrant a restroom.

Only seven weddings were held at Big Tree Park in the past two years, said LaShawn Butler, Director of the Community Services Department.

“I seconded this when it first came back to us because I wanted to hear this discussion. I was more in support of putting a restroom there until I saw the numbers. $200,000 … I have to agree that’s extremely high,” said Mayo Pro Tem Gene Murabito.

Option one of the park expansion would utilize the current home and convert it into an ADA-compliant restroom at an estimated cost of $275,000, with an estimated annual maintenance cost of more than $14,500, City Staff said.

Option three would see the demolition of the home and construction of a new pre-fabricated, ADA compliant restroom at an estimated cost of $200,000.