PASADENA >> Mayor Terry Tornek spoke frankly on Saturday about the problems of making even the slightest changes involving entrenched uses in the Arroyo Seco.
He singled out three tenants doing business within the city’s Hahamongna Watershed Park in the upper Arroyo as examples: MACH 1, a group using horseback riding as therapy; Tom Sawyer Summer Camp, a day camp; and the Rose Bowl Riders (RBR), a private equestrian club on 7 acres.
With about 40 people listening, Tornek stopped his walk-and-talk tour, part of his “One Arroyo” initiative aimed at improving these 1,000 acres of parkland, to ask point blank: Should private entities exist in public parks? He said in the past, whenever city leaders or community members suggest a more equitable use of city park land, the tenants are the first to complain, often igniting “a firestorm.”
“These are three different tenants that have some contentious issues,” he told the group.“Managing this place is complicated.”
RBR does not allow public riders. Membership costs $80 per person and $110 per family, according to their website. Sending a child to Tom Sawyer for a six-week summer day camp costs $3,260 for 3-5 year olds; $3,890 for sixth- through ninth-graders and nine weeks runs $5,490, according to its website.
“There is some suggestion this is a lovely facility for a very limited number of people. If you want to take your kid on a horseback ride, this is not the place where that will happen. Maybe it should be a more publicly accessible facility,” Tornek said of RBR, saying the contract with the city should be examined.
Tornek was illustrating the…
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