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Burbank, Glendale may mix armories

Cities are considering consolidating services for the homeless into a new facility on a 10-acre plot owned by the airport.

February 11, 2009|By Tom Risen

BURBANK — Burbank and Glendale officials are reopening discussion about a 2003 proposal to combine the out-of-date National Guard armories in both cities with a new one at San Fernando Road and Hollywood Way.

The original proposal from 2003 estimated the 10-acre plot, which Bob Hope Airport owns, between $8.7 million and $11 million, Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski said.

Golonski, who reopened discussion of the 2003 proposal, said the consolidation option was of interest to both cities even before concerns arose about shelters being held in the armories.

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“The armory is in need of repair and new facilities, the National Guard wants to reduce costs by consolidating operations more efficiently, and it would be a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Golonski said. “The issue has always been federal funding. The time is ripe now because we believe this would fit well with objectives being discussed in the federal stimulus package.”

The Burbank armory is near Pacific Park, and the Glendale armory is in the downtown area near Central Park. A 2003 Burbank Parks and Recreation staff report proposed that a relocation of the armories could allow for the expansion of Pacific Park.

“We’ve been meaning to expand our soccer fields in the surrounding Pacific Park area,” said Golonski, who has recommended the new armory to the City Council as a future agenda item. “With any consolidation, the sites of the existing armories could have other beneficial uses for our communities.”

Golonski said he and Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird have agreed the consolidation is a good idea and plan further discussion. But neither has proposed anything to the National Guard yet.

Since no propositions have been made, Jon Guibord, the public information officer for the California National Guard, would not comment, but said the Glendale and Burbank armories combined service roughly four to five National Guard units.

George Chapjian, director of parks and recreation for the city of Glendale, said that in 2003, Brig. Gen. Kevin G. Ellsworth of the California National Guard was interested in consolidating the armories.

“When we were pursuing it in 2003, I talked to [Ellsworth], and he said they wanted a 125,000-square-foot facility,” Chapjian said. “He was willing to consolidate; it was just a matter of their needs. It wasn’t doable at that point.”

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