Sep 12, 2012

Op-ed: Rose Bowl remodel well worth the price

By Phil Hawkey, Cynthia Kurtz and Donald McIntyre - Pasadena Star-News - 09/12/2012

Ninety years old and counting, the Rose Bowl is part of the very fabric of Pasadena, the San Gabriel Valley and Southern California - a living, breathing symbol of just what makes our community such a wonderful place to live and work.

The Rose Bowl and its surrounding grounds are an essential part of who we are. We know just how special it is and millions witness that uniqueness every January as images of New Year's Day at America's Stadium are beamed around the world.

Perhaps, at times, some of us take our cherished landmark for granted - but no more. The Rose Bowl means too much to too many and will stand the test of time to create more memories for young and old and even those yet to be born.

It's with that future in mind that the visionaries in our community made a commitment to ensure the viability, stability and longevity of this magnificent stadium for generations to come. Leaders in the city of Pasadena and on the Rose Bowl Operating Company understood that anything less than a difficult but necessary commitment would be a disservice to our community. Not only does the venue hold a special place in our hearts but it also contributes millions of dollars to the local community, hosting cultural, entertainment and sporting events along with hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Stakeholders of the stadium, specifically the Tournament of Roses, UCLA, the city of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Operating Company, recognized that much-needed upgrades and additional revenue streams, including premium seating, were required to secure financing of the construction bond for the ongoing restoration and enhancement of the stadium. They're also needed to support the ongoing operating costs of the Rose Bowl. Our leaders wisely recognized the moment and seized it.

Renovating a 90-year old stadium is never easy or seemingly efficient - much less so while keeping the venue open to hosting games and events. Like many projects of this scale, there have been unforeseen construction issues and, yes, unknown costs. Leaders have been working diligently to restrain those costs while ensuring the work progresses. As of this writing, the project is nearly two-thirds complete, and UCLA fans last Saturday enjoyed wider tunnels, new amenities, improved audio and visual systems and for some, a bold new fan experience in premium seats. We are witnessing a unique blend of building for the future while preserving the past.

We have an obligation to our friends and neighbors and to future generations to do this right, to do this now, to move forward. The rewards are too plentiful, the failure to act too egregious. We ask all in our community for patience, yes, and for confidence in the project and in its leaders. We can assure you that the actions of a few today will provide many more January memories for millions.

Phil Hawkey, Cynthia Kurtz and Donald McIntyre are former city managers of Pasadena.

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