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2018As we kick off a new year, Alhambra Preservation Group is excited about the activities, programs and initiatives planned for 2018!

City of Alhambra Historic Preservation Program – With the City of Alhambra beginning the process of developing a historic preservation program, APG will be focused primarily this year on working with the City of Alhambra to ensure that the city’s historic preservation program includes elements that preserve and protect Alhambra and works for our unique community. We’ll provide periodic updates and make sure everyone is aware of any upcoming City of Alhambra-hosted community meetings.

Huntington Langham Hotel Tour – For our winter field trip, we’ll be touring the Huntington Langham Hotel on Saturday, March 3. Join us for this free tour of one of the San Gabriel Valley’s most popular landmarks.

“Quiet on the set! Action!” – APG is working on a series of educational videos that we’ll debut in the spring. These short 1-minute videos will focus on educating residents about Alhambra’s historic neighborhoods, their unique cultural resources and the need to #PreserveAlhambra!

Neighborhood Steward Program – In the summer, we’ll kick off a new initiative we’re calling our Neighborhood Steward Program. We’ll pilot this initiative in several historic tracts in Alhambra with a few “Preservation Picnics.” It’ll be a way for us to create more community here in Alhambra, teach residents about their historic neighborhoods and the benefits of historic preservation.

City Council Candidates Forum – On November 6, Alhambrans will go to the polls to elect three new city council members. To make sure voters have the opportunity to meet the candidates and learn their positions on the major issues facing our city, APG will once again partner with the Pasadena League of Women Voters and host the 2018 City Council Candidates Forum.

This year is shaping up to be an exciting year for Alhambra Preservation Group! Become a member and join this vibrant group that is protecting neighborhoods, building community and preserving Alhambra!

Photo courtesy of marketingland.com.

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APG.Board.2011This is an exciting time for Alhambra Preservation Group. We’re on the cusp of adopting a preservation ordinance here in Alhambra, and we need your help in ensuring that Alhambra keeps moving forward towards adopting legislation that will protect our historic homes, businesses, churches and schools. We’re looking for a few members who are interested in taking the next step and serving on APG’s board of directors.

Will you consider helping Alhambra Preservation Group and Alhambra? We’re looking for a few talented and conscientious volunteer board members to lead and strengthen our organization. If you can contribute your time, thoughtfulness and leadership one evening a month for meetings and a few hours a month for programs development and implementation, please e-mail us at info@alhambrapreservation.org to learn more and find out if this volunteer opportunity is right for you. We’re especially looking for folks with an interest in local history and are familiar with Word and Excel. Knowledge of social media platforms like Facebook or Constant Contact would be a plus!

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!

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Chapel.JohnsonWe’ve all heard stories about the woman who finds a Picasso painting tucked away in a long-forgotten corner of her attic or the man who happens upon a letter penned by John F. Kennedy tucked between the pages of his grandmother’s diary.  Alhambra has a recently discovered architectural gem of its own in the historic Chapel of Saints Simon and Jude.

Alhambra’s quaint Chapel of Saints Simon and Jude, which will be adapted and reused within the proposed Camellia Court development, was designed by Reginald Davis Johnson, a renowned architect, who shaped Santa Barbara’s visual identity and designed National Register of Historic Places-worthy homes, public buildings and churches. Reginald Davis Johnson’s designs range from the Biltmore hotel in Santa Barbara to All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, from elegant mansions to nationally recognized public housing projects.

Join Alhambra Preservation Group and Alhambra Historical Society at a co-sponsored event to explore the life and architectural designs of Reginald Davis Johnson, Alhambra’s link to this architectural visionary and learn more about other architects whose designs can be found in Alhambra’s neighborhoods.

Exploring Alhambra’s Link to An Architectural Visionary

7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Alhambra Masonic Lodge

9 West Woodward Avenue, Alhambra, CA 91801

 

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Coffee.Council.Member.June.29.2017

The announcement that the City of Alhambra will pursue the adoption of a historic preservation ordinance tops Alhambra Preservation Group’s summer advocacy and action report:

Alhambra To Pursue Historic Preservation Ordinance

In the same neighborhood where Alhambra Preservation Group held its first home tour in 2004, Alhambra City Council Member Jeff Maloney made the announcement that Alhambra Preservation Group members have been waiting to hear for more than a decade. The City of Alhambra will pursue the adoption of a historic preservation ordinance, which will create a citywide survey of cultural resources, a cultural resources commission and a register of Alhambra landmarks and historic districts.

“We are thrilled that the Alhambra City Council is finally showing leadership in the area of historic preservation,” stated Joyce Amaro, Alhambra Preservation Group President. “More than 50% of residents surveyed during the city’s 2015 General Plan Update input process stated that the preservation of historic homes and neighborhoods needed to be a priority. We’re pleased that they are listening to their constituents.”

So, congratulations! Alhambra is on the road to adopting legislation that will preserve and protect our neighborhoods! Thank you for your continued commitment to Alhambra, your dedication to Alhambra Preservation Group and its mission, and your unwavering belief that Alhambra’s cultural resources are worth saving.

Now the exciting work begins!

June 29 Coffee With A Council Member Summer Event

The announcement regarding the pursuing of a historic preservation ordinance came at the Alhambra Preservation Group’s June 29 Coffee with a Council Member summer event. Alhambra Mayor David Mejia and Council Member Jeff Maloney were in attendance and fielded questions from Alhambra residents on a variety of topics ranging from the need for street repair throughout Alhambra to concerns regarding mature trees due to be cut down at the Camellia Court development and the need for a tree ordinance, from future plans for creating a more environmentally sustainable city to the idea of creating a citizens oversight committee for procurement, budget and contracting issues.

General Plan Update Workshop

APG members were in attendance at the General Plan Update community workshop on June 14. While APG was disappointed that the workshop did not include the release of the updated General Plan, we were encouraged to hear that there are preservation goals included in Alhambra’s updated General Plan. We look forward to reviewing the updated General Plan when it is released. If you’re interested in being notified when the updated General Plan is distributed to the public, please e-mail the City of Alhambra at generalplan@cityofalhambra.org.

Alhambra Source’s Community Voices Workshop

Members of the APG board of directors attended the Alhambra Source’s Community Voices workshop on June 24 at Ramona Convent. Attending seminars on opinion writing, news writing and photography, they hope to put their newly learned skills into practice as future contributors of the Alhambra Source.

Meetings with City of Alhambra, Development Services Department

Alhambra Preservation Group President Joyce Amaro has met twice with Alhambra’s new Director of Development Services Marc Castognola in June and July to discuss the future of a historic preservation ordinance, the creation of a cultural resources commission and the implementation of a citywide inventory of cultural resources. The City is moving forward with the drafting of a preservation ordinance so stay tuned for more details regarding this initiative. We are hoping to have more news on this in the fall.

Endangered Cultural Resource

A 1926 Spanish Colonial Revival Chapel on South Marengo known as the Saints Simon and Jude Episcopal Chapel currently tops APG’s most endangered list. APG wrote a letter to Alhambra City Council members expressing concern about the Saints Simon and Jude Chapel located at 1428 South Marengo Avenue, and APG is planning on requesting that City Council use its influence to facilitate a meeting between Alhambra officials, Alhambra Preservation Group and the developer to explore the adaptive reuse of the chapel on the property. The 92-year old Saints Simon and Jude Chapel is culturally significant. Reginald Davis Johnson was a true architectural visionary, whose work shaped Santa Barbara’s visual identity and whose buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In Santa Barbara, Mr. Johnson designed the Santa Barbara Post Office and the Santa Barbara Biltmore hotel. Locally, he was responsible for the design of All Saints Church and Hale Observatory in Pasadena, the Saint Saviours Chapel in Studio City, and the Flintridge Riding Club. Because of its link to this celebrated architect, Alhambra’s Chapel of Saints Simon and Jude should be preserved and cherished instead of destroyed and forgotten.

 

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coffee.cup.2Join Alhambra Preservation Group for an evening of coffee, cookies and questions with Alhambra’s two newly elected City Council Members, Jeff Maloney and David Mejia.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

901 North Bushnell Avenue, Alhambra, CA  91801

This is an opportunity for Alhambrans to get to know their two newest City Council Members and ask questions about Alhambra’s future and any community concerns. Additionally, the City of Alhambra will have just released its updated General Plan, and we will provide an update on the next steps related to this important development in our city.

This event is free and the general public is welcome to attend. Light dessert refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to info@alhambrapreservation.org by June 25, 2017. We look forward to seeing you there!

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CA.Pres.Found.Conf.Joyce&BarbaraBy Joyce Amaro

Spring has sprung! We’ve all been enjoying the “superbloom”, gentle showers and warmer weather that spring always brings. Here at APG, we’ve also been springing into action to move Alhambra closer to the adoption of a historic preservation ordinance. Here’s a summary of just a few of the activities we’ve been busy with since the beginning of the new year.

At the end of February, I attended a Mills Act Workshop hosted by Pasadena Heritage. This was a good opportunity to learn more about the Mills Act and how owners of historic homes may one day be able to benefit from it here in Alhambra. You can learn more about the Mills Act here.

As many of you are aware, the City of Alhambra heard an appeal of the Lowe’s Development on Fremont on February 27. APG Board Members were in attendance and several spoke at the City Council meeting. The latest information on the Lowe’s Development project can be found here.

In March, I met with City of Alhambra City Manager Mark Yokoyama and Development Services Director Tonya Pace to discuss the status of the adoption of a preservation ordinance in Alhambra and next steps.  Both stated that the adoption of a preservation ordinance as well as the adoption of a Mills Act Program in Alhambra would be addressed in the upcoming release of the City’s General Plan. As you may remember, APG members participated in the 2015 General Plan Survey as well as the community meetings, providing vital input to the City of Alhambra on the need for a historic preservation ordinance. After this meeting with the City of Alhambra, I am more hopeful than ever that APG’s hard work is about to pay off and that we will see goals related to both of a preservation ordinance and the Mills Act included in Alhambra’s draft General Plan. We are still awaiting the release of the draft General Plan. We will let all of you know as soon as we hear more from the City of Alhambra.

Recently, I was asked to serve on Alhambra’s Source’s Community Advisory Board.  I am honored to serve on this advisory board as this vital community resource takes steps towards becoming a non-profit organization.  In mid-April, I met with the Alhambra Source’s editor Phoenix Tso to discuss an article the Alhambra Source plans on writing about Alhambra’s need for a preservation ordinance. I’ll be sure to send it your way once it’s written.

On May 12, Barbara Beckley and I were honored to present “Putting Alhambra on the Map” at the California Preservation Foundation’s annual conference “Preservation at the Forefront” in Pasadena. You may remember the Google map APG created last spring, which maps out Alhambra’s historic homes, businesses, churches and schools. Barbara and I presented information on how the map was created as well as APG’s current and future plans for the map. Have you checked out APG’s Alhambra Historic Resources map lately? We’re in the process of adding photos of historic homes to the map. If you know of a home you would like to include, please send it my way at info@alhambrapreservation.org.

Lastly, be sure and put June 29 on your calendar! APG will be hosting an early summer evening event “Coffee with a Council Member” on Thursday, June 29, 2017. More details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks, but you don’t want to miss this opportunity to meet Alhambra’s two new council members, Jeff Maloney and David Mejia. This is your chance to spend some time with them and ask them about issues facing your neighborhood and our city.

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Here is a listing of the tasks that APG’s Advocacy and Action Committee has been working on over the last few months:

 

Lowes Development on Fremont Avenue

On January 17, together with other local community groups, several APG board members attended the Planning Commission’s hearing on Alhambra Court Commercial development project on Fremont Avenue, which includes the building of a Lowes, two six-story office buildings for 2,600 employees, and a one six-story parking garage that includes 1,400 parking spots. Alhambra’s council chambers were full and the public provided public testimony for more than two hours, sharing their concerns about the lack of thorough analysis and the presence of inadequate reporting in the City’s Mitigated Negative Impact Report. The City of Alhambra estimates that customers will generate 4,000 – 8,000+ car trips to Lowes daily; however, that estimate is based on a rural Lowes in Poway, CA.

Alhambra’s Planning Commission voted 6-2 to approve the project on the condition that the project divert cars away from the Emery Park neighborhood on to Fremont Avenue and Mission Road, by blocking off the planned entrances on Meridian Avenue. Neither the effects of that decision nor the impact of the total estimated number of cars on Fremont Avenue were discussed before the Planning Commission voted. An appeal of the decision was filed by Alhambra residents, and the project will now go to Alhambra’s City Council for a decision. You can learn more about the project here.

CEQA Training

On January 23, APG board members and community group leaders attended a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) workshop hosted by Dr. Tom Williams, Senior Technical Advisor for Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community and advisor to El Sereno Historical Society. At this evening workshop, Dr. Williams explained the state law, the required CEQA process that the City of Alhambra must follow as the “Lead Agency” in developments and the actions residents and non-governmental organizations can take to require a full Environmental Impact Report for development projects.

Meeting with Alhambra Officials

In December Alhambra Preservation Group President Joyce Amaro met with the newly elected Alhambra City Councilmember, Jeff Maloney. They discussed both short term and long-term preservation goals including the need to update the 1984 Historic Resources Survey and the inclusion of a Preservation Element in the upcoming updated Alhambra General Plan as two significant first steps towards that goal.

City of Alhambra General Plan

We are still awaiting the release of the City of Alhambra General Plan. You can keep up with the City’s progress here.

403 South Garfield Avenue

The “For Sale” sign is no longer in front of the Victorian home located at 403 South Garfield Avenue, and it seems that the current owners are working inside. We’ll continue monitoring this home.

1237 East Main Street

Sadly, the Mid-Century Modern medical building located at 1237 East Main Street was demolished in late January. The razing of this building is the perfect argument for why a comprehensive citywide survey needs to be completed. This building was identified in the 1984 Alhambra Historic Resources Survey as a site that should be evaluated for historic significance in a future survey; however, the City of Alhambra never conducted a second historic resources survey. If a subsequent survey had been completed, this building may have been identified as historically significant and could have been saved.

Alhambra Preservation Group is a 100% volunteer-driven organization, and we rely on each other to advance APG’s mission in Alhambra. We need everyone to advocate for the preservation of Alhambra’s historic homes, schools, churches and businesses.

The next meeting of the APG Advocacy and Action Committee will take place on Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. If you are interested in learning more about APG and its Advocacy and Action Committee, please contact info@alhambrapreservation.org or call (626) 755-3467.

The Advocacy and Action Committee has a new webpage on the APG website. Check it out!

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