Santa Clarita commissioners discuss paseo tribute

Runners use the paseo near the Iron Horse Trail head in Valencia on Tuesday.

Santa Clarita parks commissioners took a walk down memory lane Thursday as they decided the fate of a proposed plaque in memory of Fereydoon Ghaffari, one of the contributors responsible for the area’s multi-use trail system.

The suggested bronze plaque honors and represents the work Ghaffari did in the 1960s, as well as those who followed him in creating miles of alternative transportation routes for residents.

While the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission did not challenge its representation, the commissioners found through city staff that no guideline currently exists to determine who qualifies to receive a plaque, where one is to be placed and who funds the cost of each.

The proposed plaque would be funded by the Ghaffari family, FivePoint, Gruen Associates and Lambda Alpha and placed at Valencia Heritage Park, according to the city.

Commissioner Dianna Boone said she did not understand the correlation between the plaque and the suggested location, since Ghaffari’s design work did not reach that particular area. Vice chair Victor Lindenheim followed, saying Ghaffari’s efforts were enough to receive a plaque and the rest “did not have to be so specific.”

With varied commentary, the commission decided that the proposed Ghaffari plaque would remain in a hold status pending a determination of the plaque process.

During public comment, Mayor Laurene Weste took the opportunity to highlight how far the multi-use public system has come over the years, thanks not only to Ghaffari, but also to local community leaders in and around the area such as her husband, Los Angeles County Trail Coordinator James McCarthy, who helped tie the city’s future trail system to a larger, 400-mile, county-wide trail system.

Weste, who chaired the Santa Clarita Valley Trails Advisory Committee in the 1980s, also contributed as she worked to map out the future interconnected system in 1986. Her work was made possible through support by the rest of the committee, comprised of local leaders such as Susan Ostrom, Linda Lambourne, Anne Irvine, Sherry Stolorick and Mark Subbotin.

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