Fullerton mayor Bruce Whitaker held another session of his “Talk
Around Town” to address the concerns Fullerton residents had about two major topics: Dorothy Lane and Hillcrest Park. Improving some of the infrastructure of the city was on the mayor’s agenda at the meeting, held this past Tuesday at the Red Cross building located at Hillcrest.
Doug Dunlap, a resident of Fullerton for 25 years, was the first to speak out on concerns about the condition of several roads in Fullerton, more specifically Dorothy Lane.
“[Dorothy Lane] is a shortcut for major colleges, for high schools, a number of elementary schools, and two major parks; it gets heavy traffic,” said Dunlap.
Dunlap stated that he brought up the issue at a budget meeting in June and to Fullerton’s Engineering Department, but that the street had still gone ignored for the past several years.
“Not only is it a disgrace to people who live there, it’s a disgrace to people that travel that street every day,” said Dunlap. “It gives them an idea of what Fullerton’s like. It’s a matter of priorities.”
“I’m a cyclist and that’s a major bike route,” agreed Azuke Velasco, another Fullerton resident. “So is Wilshire Avenue. All those streets that are bike routes have these huge potholes that are very dangerous for cyclists and Dorothy Lane is certainly one of them.”
Whitaker acknowledged that the state of the streets in Fullerton were at a crisis level and that it was becoming a public safety issue. He assured the residents that the issue was his top priority.
“I need to have amplification of this issue from the public,” said Whitaker.
He expressed that one of his goals is to redirect the annual budget funds to the issue of repairing streets. One suggestion he made was the possibility of new electronic billboards that could bring in revenue for the city.
Whitaker pointed out that the city of Placentia was an example of a neighboring city who, although has been restricted financially, still was able to maintain its street infrastructure.
Whitaker went on to address the operation of a plan to renovate Hillcrest Park. Whitaker shared with residents the current plans the Parks and Recreation Department had for the 37.8 acre park, which is located on the 1200 block of Harbor Boulevard.
Hugo Curiel, director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Fullerton, hopes to have a proposal approved for the first phase of the plan at the next Fullerton City Council meeting on Nov. 19.
“It’s a culmination of a process that included numerous committee meetings between the city, their consultant and the public,” said Curiel.
One of the changes to the park during the first phase would include the renovation of the fountain that faces Harbor Boulevard, the stairways on the north side of the park connecting Hillcrest Park and Lions Field, and a renovation of the picnic area on Valley View Drive.
Dorian Hunter, a Fullerton resident for 51 years, expressed concern over the maintenance cost that would come from some of the new renovations, such as the fountain.
Whitaker said the current plan would cost between $21-25 million, but feels hopeful that the park will become a place where people can enjoy a tranquil environment to walk and exercise.
The next “Talk Around Town” with Mayor Whitaker will be held on Nov. 26 at the Fullerton Arboretum.