Monrovia Old Town Report

Photo by Terry Miller

By Pam Fitzpatrick

It’s funny how priorities change with time.  It used to be important to me to have a place to park reasonably close (like, in the same block) to my business.  Of course, when more and more businesses moved into town and every business owner felt the same way, I changed my tune.  If we all park near our businesses, where do our customers park – in the south forty?  Then came the parking restrictions; we chose timed parking over timed/paid parking, and that worked fairly well for several years.  But that’s when we had 25-plus vacancies, very little retail, and only a few restaurants.  Today, with very few vacancies, and tons of restaurants, the plan needs an overhaul.

Lots of ideas floating around to solve our parking problems:  the proposal for valet parking in front of the Krikorian is one idea, but there was another idea presented to City Council last week, and the Old Town Merchants at their MOTAB meeting this week.  How about a parking structure?  But, where?  Well, the City is studying the feasibility of using the two parking lots between Lemon and Lime Avenues for a large medical building and an associated parking structure.  I have to admit, this is one of those ideas that gives me nightmares….  How do you “temporarily” replace all of the parking spaces in those two lots during the construction?  If anyone is listening, I vote “NO” …

Now that we can’t solve the parking issue today, let’s talk about the Old Town trash issue.  This is one ongoing problem that does have an immediate, and ingenious, solution.  The City of Monrovia is the recipient of California Redemption Value tax funds each year, and last week the City Council approved using these funds for the next five years to lease six Big Belly Smart Waste and Recycling Systems for Old Town.  These Big Bellys will be strategically located throughout Old Town, and, because they are actually trash compactors, will hold 5 times the trash of a regular trash can.  The units are solar-powered, and they even have software that will alert the City when they need to be emptied!  And – the plan is to beautify the Big Bellys with historic pictorial “wraps” showing how each location looked years ago.  Great job, City of Monrovia!

When will “Frost” open?  Lots of folks asking, but I have no real answers.  When I spoke to City staff last week, I was told they had their final City inspection and they are good to go.  As for Copper Still Grill, they did have a City inspection on July 27th, but didn’t get a sign-off, so they’re still sawing and pounding and fixing something in there!  Other than the space at 118 E. Colorado (where Farmers Insurance was for years) and 50 W. Lemon (vacated by Yelena Bridal earlier this year), we really don’t have any retail vacancies in Old Town. (Again, I refuse to count the 316 building and the forever-vacant restaurant site in the 400 block, west side.)  As for 50 W. Lemon, 100 W. Lemon, and 501 S. Myrtle (actually all one building), that site sold a little over a year ago and there is still talk about the owners wanting to turn it into a health spa.  I don’t see that happening any time soon.  I believe any major remodeling at that site would require the installation of an elevator (because there are 3 floors), so that would be a big, expensive endeavor.

Don’t forget the Monrovia Wine Walk on the 26th from 6 – 9 p.m.  So far, we have almost 30 locations!

And, also on Saturday the 26th we will have our last Traditional Music Gathering for the season in Library park from 7 – 9 p.m.  See you there!

August 9, 2017

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