Time Capsule Tuesday: Civic-Recreational-Industrial Project No. 1, City of Industry, 1971, Part Eight

by Paul R. Spitzzeri

After adoption of the City of Industry General Plan in 1971, the first major application of templates developed in the plan was the creation of a “Civic-Recreational-Industrial Project No. 1” later that year.  The incorporation of plan elements set standards by which the city was reconstituted and many of the components began to be used in other industrial and commercial areas locally and more broadly afterward.  The influential design firm of Gruen Associates, which worked on both documents, developed the concepts that still define a good deal of the city’s approaches nearly a half century later.

Today’s eighth part looks at the incorporation of utility improvements in the design area, which ran from 7th Avenue on the west to beyond Nogales Avenue on the east and from Industry Hills (formerly Puente or “P” Hill) on the north to the 60 Freeway and what became the Puente Hills Mall on the south.  The Homestead fell within the project area, though the City had yet to acquire La Casa Nueva to complete the ownership of the future museum.

With regard to sewage, a core issue identified in the plan was that existing trunk lines running east to west in two of the Los Angeles County Sanitation District areas were connected to a sewage treatment plan out in Carson, a considerable distance to the southwest.  The plan observed, though, that “in the near future the trunk sewer lines will be linked to a new plant under construction at the junction of the San Gabriel River and Pomona Freeways [along Workman Mill Road, a little west of the project area].”

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While it was stated that the system “is more than adequate” to handle anticipated development, a secondary system was mentioned that “will be dependent on the character and scale of development” within the project area.  There is also an accompanying map identified the existing system, proposed improvements, and trunk sewer system.

Concerning water delivery, the report noted that the city was served by six companies, with Rowland Water Company and Walnut Valley Water District being the main ones.  This unusual situation meant that “as pointed out in the General Plan, this multiplicity of jurisdiction causes serious development problems.”  It was recommended that the city’s Urban-Development Agency, its redevelopment entity, review this, presumably to simplifying the arrangements of water supply to fewer than the half-dozen providers.

Observing that “water supply to the area is adequate,” the report did include a map, similar to the one for sewage, that identified the existing distribution system and proposed improvements.

Electricity, gas and telephone elements were combined, with a notation that Southern California Edison had two substations and an observation that “one is constantly aware of the visual intrusion of overhead power lines throughout the Project Area.”  Because of this aesthetic issue, Gruen recommended that these lines “should be placed underground were economically feasible.”  For future development, this certainly was generally implemented.

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Gas service was provided by the Southern California Gas Company and considered adequate as to supply for existing and future demand and it was stated the main line ran alongside the path of the Union Pacific railroad line (formerly the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake track).  As for telephone service, it was then operated by General Telephone and, as with electric lines, it was suggested that phone lines be put underground when possible.

Then, there was the flood control and storm drain systems.  With the recent “construction”, really cementing and straightening, of San José Creek for flood control, and other improvements, the county “have served to eliminate the worse flooding problems which beset the Project Area in its early years.”  However, especially for areas east of Azusa Avenue problems in controlling flood waters and in drainage continued.  Consequently, for the plan, improvements in these ways reflected “a means of converting fallow land to productive uses.”

Finally, concerning implementation of the plan, Gruen noted that a 1964 report on the City prepared by the Stanford Research Institute, which “suggested that the City undertake urban renewal programs.”  With the General Plan created and approved, then, “the Project Area No. 1 Plan formulates this long-envisioned program under the purview of the Industry Urban-Development Agency which has been designated by the City as the entity to assist the City in implementing a long-range Plan of Development.”

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That development plan established the policies and procedures guiding the Project One Plan implementation which “may include financial assistance through legally available methods such as, but not limited to, the City, quasi-public, non-profit corporations, joint powers agreements, State and other governmental assistance.”

The Project One Plan, in summary,

encourages private initiative and investment and rehabilitation and new construction by a series of overall capital improvements designed to upgrade the overall environmental quality and productivity of the Project Area and the region.

Next week, we’ll conclude the in-depth look at this important city (and urban planning generally) document by reviewing design concepts and guidelines for the project area and look at some interesting details of a large, fold-out satellite map of the City’s Plan of Development located in a pocket at the rear of the publication.

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