Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Sticks Are Up!

Initial Framing (525 S Shamrock Ave)

That's Planner-speak for the framing has been completed! We wanted to provide you with a status update of a little rehabilitation project at 525 South Shamrock Avenue, which you may remember is from a previous blog post. If you have not read it, here it is for your reading pleasure! (The Mother Road

Framing Continued..

We don't know about you, but this phrase (the sticks are up) reminds us of the three little pigs story. Except in this scenario the project is both wood (2nd Story Framing), brick (1st Story Exterior) and concrete (Supports)! HA! Try and blow this down you big bad wolf!  

All references aside, this project is coming along nicely.   The developer is hoping to finish this project very early next year so keep an eye out for the grand opening of this adaptive reuse project (Special Event Venue + Residential).  Those two apartments are going to have a terrific view of the mountains and Recreation Park.

If you're in the neighborhood, check out the recently painted Route 66 markers painted on the street courtesy of our terrific Public Works folks!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Have we got a map for you!

Maps are a way of organizing wonder.
    --Peter Steinhart

There are just so many terrific things about Monrovia, beautiful mountains, a charming downtown, good places to eat and play, great people...and lots of public art!

Did you know there are over 120 pieces of public art in Monrovia? We're trying to stay humble, but we're proud that the City has amassed a quite a collection!  What we think is really cool about this art is that most of it was inspired by and/or created by Monrovians or as we like to say, it's Monrovia-centric.   

Mural honoring Japanese Monrovians
We're often asked, "Where can I find all this art?"  

Until now, we could give you a spreadsheet printout, but how uninspired is that!  

So now, we're super excited to announce that the City recently created and published an interactive Art in Public Places Map! 

[Loud cheers]

Monrovia’s public art is a vital element of the City’s character and plays an important role in making it a vibrant and culturally rich community! 

The map was designed with the goal of utilizing art as a vehicle to encourage walkability (do you like how we "slipped in" a wellness component to this?) 

Users can easily navigate the map to see images, name of the artwork, its location, the artist and type of art. The map includes annual Signature Art Programs such as Art on the Box, Samson Bears, Footnotes (aka sidewalk poetry) and Neighborhood Treasures, as well as the Bob Bartlett Memorial, Mark Twain bronze statue, the Angel Wings and Myrtle Avenue’s Gateway Sign.

It was Thomas Merton who said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”.  So enjoy the new interactive art map and let us know if you found yourself or lost yourself or both! 

For information regarding the Art in Public Places program, check out the City's website:  www.cityofmonrovia.org/art.  


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Mother Road; Past, Present and Future

If you have been around as long as we have, you might remember the phrase “You don’t know where you are going until you know where you have been.” -  or -  “Remembering the past helps create a purposeful future.”  

Ok, so we may have made that second quote up, but it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Either way, we can’t think of a better example of this idea than how it relates to our very own Monrovia segment of Route 66.

Did you know that Route 66, also known as “The Mother Road,” originally travelled along East Huntington Drive, then veered northbound on South Shamrock Avenue, and then went west again on Foothill Boulevard? 

Yep, this is a true fact! It wasn’t until the 1930’s that Route 66 was realigned to exclusively run along Huntington Drive.  But that realignment left us with some great classic buildings associated with the former Monrovia Route 66 corridor. Two buildings in particular are the Old Monrovia Market at 525 South Shamrock Avenue and the Flying A Gasoline Station at 721 South Shamrock Avenue.

Our long time readers know we're a fan of quotes so to quote Ferris Buller “Life moves pretty fast…If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

525 South Shamrock Avenue

721 South Shamrock Avenue
In their younger years, these roadside buildings served the community vibrantly. 525 South Shamrock was a number of uses back in the day, however most notably it became locally known as the Monrovia Market, where residents could get simple groceries as well as get a get a quick bite from the deli pick up window. 

721 S Shamrock Avenue was…wait for it…a gas station. Although at the time of writing this blog, you may not see the original pumps as they are currently being restored! However, these properties sadly became vacant, fell close into disrepair, and ultimately yearned for new life.

Fortunately, Monrovians love and value their history and the your planners do too!  So knowing this, we had to be a little more creative as we tackled these buildings on Shamrock.  The plan needed something more than just “a lot of Oil of Olay” to resuscitate, reinvigorate, and rejuvenate these gems. Why?  Well because they are right smack in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Finding a balanced solution to encourage preservation, economic viability and neighborhood compatibility was imperative.

So what did we do? Well...working with all our partners, the preservation community, Commissioners, neighbors, property owners and the City Council, the ultimate proposal was something far greater than any wrinkle cream or face mask…a nifty new land use designation, with an apropos moniker, Planned Development – Area 66 (PD-66) fully geared toward bringing new life into these historic gems!

The PD-66 standards were adopted by the City Council in October 2019.

Anyway… PD-66 provides land use standards designed to embrace the past as well as provide a “road” (see what we did there?) to the future for these remnant Route 66 roadside commercial properties.

Wouldn’t you know that these land use standards worked better than any wrinkle cream. Soon after the standards were adopted, a really cool adaptive reuse project idea for the Old Monrovia Market was submitted that would preserve the history of this building and its relationship to the former Route 66 corridor. The project will preserve the classic exterior brick, reuse the existing commercial building for a Special Event Venue (Auto-themed) and add two loft apartments above the ground floor commercial space. Check out the progress below and stay tuned:

Coming Soon!

525 South Shamrock Avenue Rendering

Concrete pillars to support the new second story

Garage Framing

Friday, February 26, 2021

Is a BigBelly Attractive?

Well, we think ours are.  Let us explain...

Perhaps you have noticed these public recycling bins spaces around Old Town’s sidewalks.  You know the ones, decorated with historic photos of Monrovia’s Old Town.  

Yes, those Bigbellies!  

Well just in case you don't know about them...They are futuristic, solar-powered refuge receptacles (say that three times fast)...which is a fancy way to say cool trash can.  And they are super smart too!  Not only does the enclosed design keep waste in, it keeps pesky critters out AND it electronically notifies City staff when they are full.  (Nowadays there's an app for everything!)  Knowing when to collect and keeping waste contained means that the community benefits from cleaner spaces without windblown, and stinky overflowing litter.  We'd like to say we were the first to discover this amazing technological wonder, but many cities have embraced their Bigbellies.  What's not to love?

But Monrovia, being Monrovia, we always look to improve on every situation.  So we gave them the Monrovia touch, by using them as a canvas to showcase our history. Through a collage of historic photos, each Bigbelly illustrates Old Town through the years.  (Big shout out to the Monrovia Legacy Project!This artwork really captures the Monrovia spirit bringing out our local color...even though they are in black and white.  It also clearly sends a message to the rest of the world that we Monrovians are passionate about our rich history.  When you look at these pictures, it takes you on a stroll down Myrtle Avenue  reminding us of days passed.  It tells our story.

In case you haven't seen these great pictures, here's a closer look.  Want to learn more? Keep scrolling to the table to see more information and we've even numbered them for your reference.



But Monrovia is not just about the past, we're also excited about where we are now and  what our future has in store.  So we've put together a collage of our own to give you some perspective of then and now.  Compare these with the collages above and although this shows that Monrovia has changed a good deal, what hasn't changed is who we are.    

This was definitely a team effort.  Spearheaded by our Public Works folks, who engaged the Monrovia Legacy Project to supply the historic photos and coordinated with the Art in Public Places Committee and the Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board also known as MOTAB.  Phew...that's a lot of input.  Well...that's just the way we roll. 

If you haven’t seen them, come by Old Town and check out the cheerful and colorful artwork on the Bigbelly smart waste and recycling bins located in Old Town Monrovia.  We are proud of our Bigbellies!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Bigbelly holds five times as much waste as traditional waste bins? 

Friday, February 12, 2021

A Smorgasbord of Transparancy

Well if that title doesn't peak your interest...

Not ones to constantly reinvent the wheel, we do try to find those little tweaks that provide the greatest bang for our buck.  

A few weeks ago, our staff started looking at how we send out agendas for our meetings, you know, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission and the like...and we found that over the years, what started as a fairly straight forward process morphed into something much more unwieldy. We won't get into the details... we tried to figure out what went awry, but in the end we were left scratching our heads...huh?

Enter our super-smart PIO to rescue us from the morass of...uh...well let's just be honest, to paraphrase Laurel & Hardy, the fine mess we'd got ourselves into...

Oh, PIO, that's Public Information Officer in government-speak. She's the one that ensures that we all stay informed of the comings and goings in Monrovia City Hall. So she pointed out that our website has this new, super cool feature that allows people (that's you and us) to subscribe to one, some or many of the agendas of Monrovia's various Committees, Commissions and Boards...even the City Council.  A plethora of options!

How cool is that? 

You decide which agendas you want to receive and poof! They will automatically appear in your inbox about 10 minutes after the agenda is posted.  

Sometimes its those small, seemingly infinitesimal things that make us so happy. Especially when we can keep you (and the rest of our community) informed of all things Monrovia.

Maybe not all things, but lots of things.

So to help you keep that 2021 resolution of staying informed...oh, wait, that was our resolution, but it's a good one...click here to start your subscription now...and it's free too!

Don't forget to confirm your request by responding to the follow up email. Very important.

And since we got your attention, here's another shameless plug to subscribe to this blog.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Survey Says? More Survey!

Stop everything! 

Drop whatever it is you are doing and get ready to hear the most important bit of news of the day. No, no it has nothing to do with politics. Nope, it's not about Covid-19. Or the Big Game... Ok, fine, get ready to hear the FOURTH most important bit of news of the day!

Ready? Ok, here it is... The Focused General Plan Update survey deadline has been extended to February 19, 2021!

If you recall, last we blogged, we had just released the FGPU survey (Do you guys like the FGPU acronym? We're not so sure... it kind of sounds like something stinky...which of course is the complete opposite of our sweet, sweet survey) and asked you to please help us by getting as many Monrovians as possible to complete it by February 12th. 

Why are we extending the survey? Well, we ran into a technological glitch (where are those 10 year-olds when you need them?). 

So many folks were trying to send us their input, and the survey fell offline. We actually heard it fall offline. There was a loud boom and many people called us about it. 

So, due to popular demand, we've extended the deadline to the 19th... that's right - a full week longer! So if you haven't completed the survey yet here is your opportunity.

·         To complete the survey in English, please click here.


·         Para hacerla encuesta en Español, pulse aquí por favor.

Your participation will help shape the future of the City. And maybe you can point us towards a better acronym, too.

Monday, January 25, 2021

We want to know what you think!

 Focused General Plan Update - an Important Survey for YOU

Have you been paying attention? We sure hope so because we need YOU - our eyes and ears on the streets of Monrovia - to help guide future housing development in the community! 

We recently told you about an upcoming General Plan Amendment (need a refresher? Check this out!) that will update the Housing and Safety Elements, as well as create a new Environmental Justice Element. Well, we've now come to the point where the "upcoming" General Plan Amendment has become the "right now, at this very moment" General Plan Amendment. 


Yup, you read that right,  we are in the midst of working with our land use consultant, MIG (no, not the Russian fighter jet made famous in the 1980s cinema classic Top Gun), on a Focused General Plan Update. This update will:


·       Plan for community’s future housing needs for the 2021 - 2029 planning period and establish policies, programs and strategies specifically to address those needs within the Housing Element.


·        Adopt climate adaptation and resiliency strategies including wildfire planning within the Safety Element.


·        And focus on communities within the City that bear increased burdens, including high poverty, high unemployment, and air and water pollution in the Environmental Justice Element.


But, we cannot update these elements without guidance from you! Just 8 minutes of your time will help us plan for the next 8 years! (We know, that sounds kind of gimmicky but just because it's a gimmick doesn't mean it's not true!) So, if you can spare a few minutes, please click on one of the links below to fill out the Housing and Safety Elements Survey. 


·         To complete the survey in English, please click here.


·         Para hacerla encuesta en Español, pulse aquí por favor.


The Housing and Safety Element Survey will be active until February 12, 2021. An Environmental Justice Survey will be released at a later date (so stay tuned to your favorite blog!). 

If you have any questions or comments about this project, please leave a message at (626) 932-5565 or an e-mail at planning@ci.monrovia.ca.us. And thank you in advance for your help!