• Community Forum On Resident Likes, Dislikes Yields ‘No Big Surprises’

    Sidewalks, storm drains, streets, speed limits, signage, safety and Stoneman, in alliteral summary, are on the minds of the community based on a public forum held Tuesday evening at the San Marino Center which was attended by about seventy residents not having business with the assembly.

    “There were no big surprises,” said Cindy Collins, San Marino’s former assistant city manager and director of recreation, who was retained to facilitate the discussion during which attendees were seated among nine tables and asked to partake in a series of exercises. “Sidewalks seemed to be a major concern for some of the residents,” Collins said. “Ironically, we had some people state that we needed less cell towers and others claiming we need more.”

    Better traffic management, speed enforcement, school safety, the lack of a community swimming pool, tree maintenance and concerns with the city’s planning department were all brought up during a discussion of “the top five areas of improvement needed among city services.”

    During a discussion regarding upgrades to existing facilities, storm drains, a master plan for Lacy Park and improvements to Stoneman topped the list.

    When asked what new facilities the community would like to see, five of the nine tables suggested turning the San Marino into a community center, three tables disagreed and the last was “inconclusive.”

    The meeting was proposed by the San Marino City Council as an effort to determine the likes and dislikes of residents and why people made the choice to live in this community.

    “I think the people who attended really enjoyed the discussion with other residents,” said Collins. “There was a lot of very energetic conversation and it gave people an opportunity to discuss matters that were on their minds.”

    When asked to identify the five strongest areas of service among city departments, attendees listed the schools (which are not a city service), police, fire, the transparency of the city council, safety, the response times of the police and fire departments and the “very organized” planning and building department, which was criticized by four of the nine tables when discussing areas for improvement.

    The San Marino City Council was well-received by the participants, praised for being “responsive,” “accessible” and having “integrity.” “Improving the Neighborhood Watch program” that is organized by the San Marino Police Dept. was listed as the #5 priority – or lowest – by only one table.

    “The exercise was very positive and it became apparent the public would like to have a forum like this more frequently,” said Collins. “If it becomes an annual activity in January, it would be great for the city to follow up on what has been accomplished the previous year and properly forecast the budget.”

    The second community forum will primarily focus on San Marino’s business community and is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 p.m. in the Stoneman Elementary School site.

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