2023 All-America City Finalist – Monrovia, CA

Frequently referred to as “The Gem of the Foothills,” the City of Monrovia provides a premier quality of life through broad and robust community engagement. The resiliency of the City of Monrovia community was tested in the past three years with challenges arising from the COVID-19 Pandemic, nationwide civil unrest after George Floyd’s murder, and a major wildfire that burned over 116,000 acres of land.  

During each major event, the community came together to meet the moment and remain focused on the future. Monrovia’s youth remain at the center of efforts to build a thriving community; Monrovia is committed to increasing youth engagement and political participation to preserve and strengthen its deep-rooted culture of community-based problem-solving.  

Youth Employment Services (YES) Intern Program 

The YES Intern Program provides leadership opportunities, improved job readiness, and employment opportunities for Monrovian youth. Each spring, the City of Monrovia partners with the school district, chamber of commerce, and local non-profits to recruit high school students for the summer program. Interested students apply for the program and applications are reviewed, with the most qualified students being invited for an interview. 

The internship program aims to provide youth with caring supportive mentors, enhance the local employment pool, and diminish the achievement gap by increasing the likelihood of post-secondary education or job readiness.   

The 8-week program assigns interns to city employees in various departments, and other interns are placed at an office within the school district or at a local participating organization. Community partners allow YES Interns to receive the benefits of real-world experience in an administrative office, a science and technology lab, an afterschool club for youth, a performing arts studio, or even a community garden.  

Each intern works up to 20 hours per week and is assigned a project in which they need to identify a community challenge and develop a possible solution. At the end of their internship, each intern publicly presents his/her project to other interns, mentors, parents, and city staff, giving them a platform to practice their presentation and public speaking skills.    

At the conclusion of the program, some interns have been hired by the city, while some have transitioned into becoming college interns with community organizations or returning to mentor future interns.  

Citywide Park Master Plan 

In 2016, the city participated in a countywide park needs assessment, which engaged the community to gain an understanding of existing parks and recreation facilities to determine the scope, scale, and location of park needs.   

Using resident input obtained through the assessment process, staff began developing a comprehensive Park Master Plan (Plan) to provide a roadmap to upgrade existing parks and better position the city to apply for competitive park grant funds. The city sought community input for the Plan through community surveys, stakeholders discussions, and a community workshop.    

After the Plan was approved, it was identified that Lucinda Garcia Park, a park that recognizes Monrovia’s rich Latino heritage, met the minimum requirements for Proposition 68 grant funding.    

Staff engaged in substantial outreach efforts, including seven outreach meetings, as part of the overall grant application to make improvements to Lucinda Garcia Park. City staff spoke with over 100 different people across all meetings. Outreach efforts included unscheduled pop-up events, door-to-door home visits, community workshops, Community Services commission meetings, and specifically targeted meetings with special needs groups and parent associations. Improvements identified for inclusion in the grant process included:  

  • Construction of two new playgrounds  
  • Adding fall safety surfacing  
  • Installation of five exercise fitness stations 
  • Upgrading the landscaping  
  • Construction of two demonstration gardens  
  • Improved walkways with enhanced lighting and distance markers 
  • Interpretive signage about Lucinda Garcia  
  • Addition of a bike rack with a fixit station and drinking stations 

Monrovia was one of 52 agencies awarded Proposition 68 funding, receiving $675,000 to make all the necessary improvements to Lucinda Garcia Park. The city began the renovation project during the summer of 2022, and it is set to be completed in March of 2023.   

Monrovia Renewal 

As the fourth oldest incorporated city in Los Angeles County, Monrovia’s infrastructure was aging and in need of repair. In 2016, the city undertook Monrovia Renewal, the largest multi-year infrastructure project in its history at $55 million.  

In anticipation of impacts to the community, the Monrovia Renewal Citizen Advisory Committee (Committee) was established. The Committee was made up of five community members who monitored project progress, the budget, and kept the community informed. The Committee helped ensure that every resident, business, and school that was going to be impacted received important notifications.    

Local utility companies and the local school district were also contacted to provide them an opportunity to schedule any planned improvements in conjunction with the city’s proposed work. The city held regularly scheduled meetings to discuss every step of the project and solicit feedback from stakeholders.  

Infrastructure needs were identified by the commissioned Sewer, Water, and Street Master Plans. Improvements made as part of Monrovia Renewal included:   

Water: Critical water mains were more than 90 years old, resulting in 184 water-related repairs that included leaks, mains, services, hydrants, and meters.  

  • 800 new water service lines were installed. 
  • A 130-year-old water basin was replaced with a new, expanded basin that allowed for additional water storage.  

Sewer: The sewage system faced deferred maintenance, which caused consistent issues citywide. In 2015 alone, the city saw 45 related work orders and 8 sanitary overflows. 

  • 5 miles of sewer improvements were made, including 197-point repairs to sewer lines. 
  • 363,000 linear feet of the city’s sewer system were cleaned and inspected. 

Roads and Sidewalks: A citywide Pavement Conditions Index (PCI) Survey concluded that the average PCI rating for all city streets was determined to be 57.1 (not good). 

  • 2.1 million square feet of roadways were improved. Improvements ranged from micro-surfacing and asphalt overlay to complete roadway reconstruction.  

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