Thursday, May 7, 2020

Art on a Box!

Hear ye – Hear ye!

The City of Monrovia is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Art on the Box Contest.

Side note: Did you know there is an actual Town Crier Competition? Neither did we...check it out… Annual Town Crier Competition

So back to business...The Art on the Box program was created to add some local color to our streets and beautify our communities by turning blank utility boxes into unique, stunning works of public art (trust us, this is no easy feat!) The program improves our neighborhoods while supporting local artists (and their mad skills!)  For some light reading, check out the full story of the Art on the Box Program.

Each year, the City reaches out to our local creative community to submit their designs for consideration.  This year there were thirteen entries and six images were chosen for creation. (While they were all terrific, we needed to stay within the budget.)  In the upcoming weeks the artists will paint various utility boxes throughout Monrovia...of course while maintaining social distancing protocols!

Can’t wait that long??? You don't need to twist our arm, we're happy to share a sneak peek at the images that will be coming soon to blank utility box near you!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this year’s images are a novel!

In addition to the six boxes that will soon be painted, Monrovia already has 20 Art on the Box creations. Twenty you ask? Yes! How many have you spotted in our beautiful city?

Sounds like a great scavenger hunt to us (#artinmonrovia)!

Here's a hint: Many of them are located off around Myrtle Avenue, but not all of them.   

Want to know the location and description of all boxes??? We hope your answer is yes.

Then, visit this Blog regularly (or better yet subscribe) to get updates on the finished boxes and locations. 

We're sooo excited to see the finished pieces and share them with you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The annual E-1 post

Is all this COVID-19 stuff getting to you?  We hear you!  That's why with all the uncertainty in the world, it's nice that we can still count on a few things...Cinco de Mayo comes the day after May the 4th (be with you), which is a few days after May Day.  Consistency, normality, reliability...these are all things that we can use more of right now.  

So with May Day comes the big reveal...and no, we're not talking about the new American's all about how many people live in Monrovia!  It is that time of year when our demographer friends with the state Department of Finance release an annual--no, the infamous "E-1 report".

And in the name of consistency, we bring you our annual blog post to document the occasion. (OK, we missed 2017 and 2018, but who's counting?)  We're sort of consistent...oh and that link you passed right by is another shameless attempt to boost our viewership in preparing this offering, we went back an reread some of the previous posts (and so can you, hence the link).  Some are quite clever, we really do crack ourselves up sometimes...

There we go on one of those tangents. 

But even if we've missed a year here and there, lets give it up for all those wild and crazy (not!) state demographers.  They are consistent.  Year in and year out, they are busy counting people coming and going from California...


OK, so we're pretty sure they're not standing at the state border with an abacus, are they?

No, of course not, these are scientists, scientists of demography.  Did you know that demography defined as the scientific study of human populations?  Neither did we, we just googled it.

So let's get down to the whole point of this...using a plethora of data from a myriad of sources: 

As of January 1, 2020, Monrovia's population was 37,935.  

So your reaction was probably the same as ours..."What?"  That's right, for two years straight, Monrovia's estimated population has decreased...ever so slightly (down 0.1%), but still a decrease.  The County population also decreased by the same percentage.  California as a whole grew, but it was very slow growth, a 0.2% increase.  

So a couple of things to keep in mind, these are projections, not an actual count of people (AKA The Census).  Also, these estimates are benchmarked to the 2010 Census data.  The decennial 2020 Census data will not impact these projections until takes a long time to count 300,000,000 people.

Here's an interesting tidbit from all this...This is the first time since this data has been compiled that California has added more housing units than people.  Hmmm!  Not quite sure what to make of that, but there it is.  Looking for more interesting facts and deductions? Read all about it in their press release.

So before we bid you adieu, we need to ask you one question.

Did you fill out your Census?  

If not, do it now.  It's important.  You count!  Until next time, stay safe.  We need every reader we can get...and we like you too!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Are you a poet...and you just don't know it?

Making lemonade out of lemons is one of the great things that Monrovians do.  So while COVID-19 has certainly provided a bumper crop, it means more opportunities to seek out the sunny side of life.  

Our longtime readers may remember back to the time that we were excited about a new program: MCSTOSTPWFSITSPThinking about it still gives us goosebumps!  The program now goes under the moniker Footnotes...perhaps that's a good thing.  We're here today to bring you some really, really exciting news.

But before we make the BIG announcement, we've developed a short quiz to see if you should continue reading: 
  • Got some free time on your hands and want to put it to good use?
  • Want to be immortalized in Monrovia’s walkways?
  • Did this blog post pique your interest?
  • Do you live in Monrovia?
Well if the answer to these questions is yes, then this is news you'll want to hear...The City of Monrovia is excited to announce the return of the annual Sidewalk Poetry Contest.  Ta-da!

OK, so this is not hot of the press news.  Think of it as a gentle reminder...

Regardless, we're back and we're looking for the next group of poets with a new Sidewalk Poetry Contest--The 2020 Edition.  


As you know (or do you???) Sidewalk Poetry combines a basic infrastructure repair program with the embedded poetic creations of Monrovia residents (talk about a win-win) that builds a collective creation and sustainable program generated by a collaboration of citizens with government. 

How’s that for a perfect paring... as good as wine and cheese?...PB and J?  William and Mary? (Monroe, that is)

Want the full 411 on this program? Of course you do, then click HERE

Whether you work in free-form, Haiku, Distich, or Cinquain, there’s a poet in us all – and there could be a world to be born under YOUR footsteps. 

Interested? Good! Here are the guidelines:
  • Access the application HERE
  • The contest is open to all residents of Monrovia
  • Entries will be accepted through the end of the day on May 18, 2020
  • Poems must be family-friendly and not exceed 250 characters including spaces and punctuation
  • Poems must be original compositions written by the submitted poet (unless written by a minor, in which a parent and/or guardian may submit)
  • Two poems per person may be submitted and poems will be judged on originality, creativity, and artist quality by the Art in Public Places Committee
  • Winners will be selected from all qualified entries, and the winning poems will be stamped in concrete, listed on the City of Monrovia website and used on promotional materials
  • Applications must be submitted by either emailing Kerri Zessau at or mailed to Monrovia City Hall – Community Development Department, 415 S. Ivy Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016, attention Kerri Zessau
 Now, are you ready to make an impression (in concrete)? Yea!
 Get your creative juices flowing and let the words pour out of you!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

A dream? Or is it the light at the end of the tunnel...

Can you see it!? Look closer. It's there. With all that's going on in the world it's good to know that some of our developers have continued on through a very long, winding, bumpy, (previously) unpaved road.

If you don't know what we're referring to yet, check out the OTC Blog from February, 2019 here.

Check it out. We'll wait...

Just to recap, there has been a project under construction at the corner of Chestnut and Magnolia (soon to be 239 West Chestnut Avenue) for a 10-unit industrial condominium complex.

However, maybe it wasn't a road; maybe it was one massively long tunnel! Yes. We can see it. The glimmer in the eye that imagines what's on the other side. You visualize the 'concept' of what could be at the end.

So you enter the tunnel, with the dreamscape in mind. However, it is not your ordinary tunnel, it's more like an ACME tunnel. The project has been one long, continuously stretched tunnel. Think of Roger Rabbit taking the tunnel and stretching it for 12 years!!! Can you imagine a 12-year long tunnel!!!??? Whew! That is quite the journey! And when the light breaks, and finally steps out, you see the dream in its reality! Doesn't it look good! It's great when the final product looks like the concept! We love it when that happens.

Thankfully, most projects don't take this long to come to fruition and we're pleased that we can all see the light at the end of this tunnel.

While the developers have a few final items to finish, we're out of the tunnel with the end in sight. We expect they will be calling for a final inspection of the completed building in the very near future! Hooray!

If you are looking to lease one of these brand new industrial condos within this new development, please contact Filippo Fanara at

And just like our developer we too have a light at the end of this long tunnel! It goes to show that perseverance wins the day. So on your next stroll, be sure to walk by and check it out... and don't forget to look down, you might find some inspiration in the sidewalk... a couple of poems embedded in the sidewalk. Read more about 'Footnotes' here.

So stay well and stay safe, dear readers; and please continue to come back to this blog during these times for some information and light-heartedness. Even as we face some challenges ahead, it is good to know that there's still a lot of great things going on in Monrovia and we're committed to keep you posted through more of these posts in the coming weeks. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Don't Come to City Hall (redux)

So we're usually not one to repeat least not on purpose, but this is a reminder that although the City Council will hold it's regular meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at 7:30 PM, because of the Governor's Order to stay home...please stay home, but do participate!

How?  Well, glad you asked.  Instead of paraphrasing what we said before, we'll just cut and paste from last week's post. 

There are several ways to participate:

  • If you have cable, watch on KGEM (Spectrum Channel 99 or Giggle Fiber Channel 87-2)  
  • Live stream online at the Foothill Media website.
  • Participate by sending an email to the City Clerk at before 7 PM tonight.  (Sorry, the blog wouldn't allow a direct link).
Want to read the previous post in its entirety?  Click here.

How in the World am I Supposed to Submit Plans during this time of Covid-19?

It’s Monday morning, you spent months of preparation and countless hours having development plans drawn up and printed. You are finally ready to submit them for the CIty’s review. You walk up to the front steps of City Hall only to find multiple signs that say:

 City Hall is Closed to the Public due to COVID-19 

Your heart sinks, now what do you do

Don’t fret! Your City staff have been working tirelessly on innovative technology to keep in touch with you (at a safe distance, of course) and to keep your projects moving forward! Introducing… drum roll please… the PDF aka the Portable Document Format. 

Now, how many of you actually knew what PDF stood for? 

You can upload it, you can download it, you can even side load it (uh-um...we mean attach it to an email)! 

Innovative right? 

Ok, all jokes aside, your City staff have truly transformed the way of interacting with you so that we can all stay home and stay safe while still creating a premier quality of life. 

It’s not the same as just taking a quick drive to City Hall, we realize that this whole virtual thing takes some getting used to, we get it! But for the time being, there’s a new way to talk to us and submit your plans. 

The Community Development Department created this nifty easy-to-use guide so you can still submit plans and pay any fees for the review.  It's as simple as 1-2-3...4:  

  1. Consult the Planning Team by phone or email. This will give us a chance to learn about your project. It also gives us an opportunity to guide you with the information you need to know early on.
  2. Prepare Your Application for Review along with the application form. 
  3. Submit Application for Review via PDF (remember that innovative technology?) or you can mail it in. 
  4. Pay Invoice over the phone with a card or by mail / deposit box with a check.

Most of us may not be physically in the office but we are all still working remotely and monitoring our phones (and voicemails) as well as our emails. So rest assured, we are here for you even through these tough times. 

So if you have plans that you think are ready to submit, or you just have land use questions about a property, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (626) 932-5565 (leave a message, we promise to call you back as soon as possible!) or send us an email   

Remember, Stay Healthy, Stay Safeand most importantly Stay at Home

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Monrovia's Founding Father...or Fathers?

So, yes COVID-19 is serious and your City staff continue to be focused on providing the best service possible to the community that we deeply cherish. But we thought, heck, (yes, that's right, heck!) let's take a quick break to highlight that other aspects of community life continue. A little art and a little history, perhaps...

Without further ado, let's talk about our founders. Yes, while many people are well aware of William Monroe (heck, the town was named after him!). But a lone wolf he was not! 

It took many men to help create this awesome city. But imagine if women had been allowed to vote, hold office...[fill in the blank here]...etc. Well, we all know that behind every great man...

So back to our founders...yes, that's plural. How many were there?

Well, we are sooo glad you asked? There were five, can you name them all?

Can you name any of them? 

We gave you one already...William Monroe.

But we would be remiss not to include Edward Spence, John Bicknell, James Crank and Jeremiah Falvey alongside him. We're so pleased that local artist, Eric Watkins, chose four of them as the subject for his utility box masterpiece, appropriately entitled, The Founding Fathers as part of the Art on the Box Program. Seriously, it's a terrific addition to our growing collection.

We hear you, so many questions...
Art on the Box?

Why are only four featured?

Aliens, do they really exist? 
(We'll save this one for another day!)

Let's take the easy one first, Art on the Box. You may have noticed that there are a number of utility boxes around town with decorated with art. This program was put into place by the Art in Public Places Committee and the City Council about a decade ago to encourage artists to dress up these blank canvases scattered around town. It's open to local artists of all ages. Click here for more details, and if so inspired, get ready, we take applications every winter (the next round will be from January through March 2021).

Now on to the really big mystery, who was Jeremiah Falvey? That's a great question. What we do know is that we don't know much. There is minimal information and no known images in existence (for some reason, we imagine him to look like a young Danny DeVito). But when the City Historian tells us he's one of "The Five", who are we to argue? So what do know about him is that he had been the foreman at Lucky Baldwin's Rancho Santa Anita...

That's it.

Luckily, there is considerably more information on our other four founders. We're going to give you just a few tidbits to whet your appetite. Want to know more? Check out the Library website to learn about all the resources available to educate yourself on Monrovia's rich history. So here we go...

Presenting, Art in the Box, featuring Our Founding Fathers

William Monroe – The big daddy of them all! Born June 4, 1841 in Indiana. With his growing family he decided to move to California in 1875. In 1882 he purchased 120 acres of land from Lucky Baldwin and the following year purchased another 90 acres (image the price of that land now???) Throughout his life, Mr. Monroe was a very successful businessman and pursued many carriers including school superintendent, banker, real estate broker and railroad supervisor (can you say Jack of all trades?)

John Bicknell – Born in Vermont with his exact birthday unknown (so does that mean that everyday is potentially his birthday?) He studied and practiced law in Wisconsin until 1866. His asthmatic condition forced him to move to California and join the law firm that represented Southern Pacific Railroads. Later he became President of the First National Bank. 

Still with us? Just checking...

James Crank – Here's another figure instrumental in the early development of our city. Born in New York in 1842, he moved to California in 1874. In 1881 he became a Member of the State Legislature. Mr. Crank considered one of his greatest ventures to be the construction of a steam railroad through the northern half of the San Gabriel Valley.

Edward Spence – Came to California in 1822 to engage in mining. In 1869 he became a bank manager. A few years later, he moved to Los Angeles (do you think it was called "LA" back then?) to help organize the First National Bank. While he was Mayor of Los Angeles, he organized the first salaried fire department. It is said that Mr. Spence was the one who suggested Monrovia be named after Mr. Monroe. (Thank goodness because Spenceville, Bicknelltown and Crankadena just don’t roll off the tongue like Monrovia.) 

These men, and Monroe, all knew each other from business and society connections in Los Angeles (did you catch that?)

Click this link to see the original track of homes and land owned by the founding fathers here.

Until next time…stay thirsty (for knowledge) friends…oh, and heck, we should probably let you know where to see this gem in person...its in front of the Aztec Hotel! If there's a crowd, please keep 6 feet apart. We need you dear reader.