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(rshsdepot) South Pasadena, CA

SoPas dedicates nostalgic Gold Line Mission Station
Gold Line rail station dedicated

SOUTH PASADENA -- In a setting fit for a Norman Rockwell painting, 300
residents gathered Saturday in the historic town square, ringed by vintage
buildings, to celebrate the city's new old-fashioned rail depot.

The Mission Station, a stop on the Los Angeles-to-Pasadena Metro Gold Line,
is the first of 13 to be dedicated. The light- rail system is scheduled to
begin running in July.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which will operate the Gold Line,
parked a train next to the station platform so visitors could climb aboard.
Hollywood resident Barri Clark brought her elderly mother, Geneva Lawrence,
a 40- year South Pasadena resident.

"This is wonderful. I wish they had this when I was working downtown,'
Lawrence said, recalling her long-ago bus commute to a department store job
in Los Angeles.

Clark, meanwhile, already had a plan for visiting her mom in South Pasadena
and leaving the car at home: board the Metro Red Line subway in Hollywood
and transfer to the Gold Line at Union Station.

"It's going to benefit everyone who's trying to make their way to downtown
and back,' Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes, chairman of the Gold Line
board of directors, said during the morning ceremony.

County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, whose district includes South
Pasadena, told the audience the light-rail system will "relieve congestion
on our highways' and said he would push for the Gold Line to be extended
east to Claremont.

"It's a little like going back to the future,' Antonovich said. "This is the
smart way to do transportation.'

Habib F. Balian, chief administrative officer of the Blue Line Construction
Authority, reminded the crowd that the light-rail project was built "on time
and on budget.'

Using a $665,000 MTA grant and $166,000 in county transportation bond funds,
city officials wanted to create a Gold Line station that would complement
the historic commercial neighborhood.

The depot's neighbors include the Meridian Iron Works Museum, a 116-year-old
structure that holds a local history collection; the former Mission Arroyo
Hotel, an 80-year-old red brick landmark; and the recently refurbished,
turn-of-the-century Meridian Watering Trough.

A committee headed by City Council members Dorothy Cohen and David Saeta
spent two years picking out architectural and aesthetic design features. The
money paid for enhancements like brick paving stones in the station's plaza,
retro-style street lamps, decorative metal benches and brass railings
leading up the station platform.

The city also kicked in $35,000 for an old-fashioned clock tower that was
installed near the Meridian Watering Trough.

And then there's the 10-foot-tall bronze statue of a man, bolted atop two
granite blocks, who appears to be walking from the station toward the
Mission-Meridian intersection. The Construction Authority's public art
program covered the sculpture's $100,000 cost.

Artist Michael Stutz said he pitched his idea to rail and city officials
with the man walking upright and upside down.

"We laugh now, but only one vote (kept us) from ending up like that,' he

- -- Mary Schubert can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4456, or by e-mail
at mary.schubert_@_sgvn.com.

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org


End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #604

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org