The City of Monterey Park put together a community workshop last week where residents voiced their opinions on ways the city can improve health and sustainability. The workshop was part of the city’s goal to add the two topics to its long-range General Plan.
RBF Consulting was hired to develop the two new chapters for the city. The health element hopes to address issues such as access to healthy food, opportunities for physical activities and safety, while the sustainable element would address ways Monterey Park could reduce its use of natural resources by modifying their environment through transportation, energy, resource conservation and land development.
Michelle Lieberman, a senior consultant at RBF led the workshop and said she was happy with the community turnout.
“…We had a range of community members,” Lieberman said. “It was really good to see the diversity.”
Thomas Wong, a city environmental commissioner, said he too was encouraged by the turnout of community members, which ranged from teenagers to senior citizens.
“That’s why meetings and events like these are very important, so the community really has a chance to give feedback,” said Wong.
California requires cities to prepare a general plan, which then serves as a framework for the city’s long-term development. Monterey Park’s current plan, which runs through 2020, includes a commitment to enhance the physical, economic and human resources of the city. According to the city’s website, the current elements of the general plan include land use, economic development, circulation, housing, safety and community services and resources.
Monterey Park was recently awarded a state grant with the purpose of adding a healthy community element and a sustainable community element to its plan.
Last week’s workshop was one of the ways the city plans to interact with the community to develop those new elements.
“Health and sustainability are so broad that hearing those priorities come out in the workshop was good,” Lieberman said. “ We definitely got some direction in terms of those topics.”
During the discussion, residents and community members brought up issues related to water conservation, renewable energy, nutrition and mobility in the city.
“I was really encouraged to hear people talk about water. More and more people are understanding that we need to save more but [residents] need our help to do that,” said Wong.
ELAC student Jennifer Cao attended the event and said this is one of the ways the issue of clean air can be brought up in Monterey Park.
“If we can address one issue, we can then begin to address other issues that go along with it,” said Cao.
Miguel Olivares also thinks clean air is an important issue to discuss. He works in the city as an outreach specialist for the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, and brought up the idea of having smoke-free environments.
“I’m interested in all things health-related,” Olivares said. “One of our missions is to improve the heath of the community.”
Lieberman said the topics they discussed at the workshop would be considered when they start drafting the new elements for the general plan. Once the elements are drafted, the city council will decide whether to add them to the Monterey Park General Plan.
“We’re going to start looking at drafting a vision for a healthy and sustainable Monterey Park,” said Lierbeman.
The city will hold more community outreach events after the holiday season.
For more information about Monterey Park’s General Plan and the health and sustainable elements under consideration, call the City’s Planning Division at (626) 307-1315.