Hoisting gold-colored shovels, Glendale politicos dug into the ground on Tuesday at the proposed Maryland Avenue Park, a project that's been on the horizon for nearly seven years.

Once the home of a multi-unit building that could have become affordable housing or a parking lot for nearby Pacific BMW, the 3/4 -acre parcel was snapped up by the city in 2006 in order to build a mini-park in one of Glendale's densest neighborhoods.

“The neighborhood has a critical lack of open space,” said Community Services and Parks Commissioner Rodney Khan at the groundbreaking in front of a pile of dirt. Khan praised the City Council for designating the site as parkland so many years ago.

The city used about $3 million in state and federal grants to buy the site and pay for the park's construction.

The facility, at 812 S. Maryland Ave., is set to include outdoor exercise equipment, open lawn area, public art and community garden space, which has become highly coveted in Glendale.

It will also have drought-tolerant plants, a water-efficient irrigation system and a water basin disguised as a bridge to collect and reuse fallen rainwater.

Officials expect to host a grand-opening event in six months. Once complete, it will be the city's 46th park facility, said Community Services & Park Director Jess Duran.

As construction begins at the Maryland Avenue Park, officials are also moving forward with a renovation project at Maple Park and installation of an artificial turf field at Pacific Park.

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