The Glendale City Council approved a resolution to expand the city’s green zone certification program to all 47 parks and recreation facilities by replacing all gas-powered hand-held lawn maintenance equipment with zero-emission battery equipment in its Tuesday meeting.
The vote was unanimous with one Councilmember, Ara Najarian, absent.
This plan has been underway since April 2020 when the Glendale Community Services and Parks Department began its pilot program to achieve green zone certification in eight parks — Casa Adobe, City Hall, Doran Mini Park, Harvard Mini Park, Heritage Garden, Maryland Ave Park, Verdugo Adobe, Wilson Mini Park.
Koko Panossian, deputy director of Community Services and Parks, provided the Council with a detailed presentation outlining vendor and equipment brand partnerships, environmental statistics and cost information.
“Bravo,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said. “We’ve gotten here. I was here [when the plan was first introduced] and I did suggest that we get started with a program like this. You [Panossian] ran with it, started with the pilot program and here we are tonight. Mayor, I would be more than proud to move this item.”
Partnering with American Green Zone Alliance for the last three years, Panossian and his team performed operational analysis, site evaluations, infrastructure upgrades, equipment inventory and needs assessment based on the pilot program with the help of AGZA consultant Daniel Mabe, who is also the founder and president of the company.
“I really want to let you know how incredibly lucky the city of Glendale is to have Mr. Panossian,” Mabe said to the Council. “This needed to be a process, one that made economic and workload feasibility sense. And lo and behold, here we are and it’s going to be one of the largest green zones to date.”
Together Panossian and Mabe decided the best route to actualize the green zone expansion plan would be a purchase order to B&M Lawn & Gardening in the amount of $208,355 for the purchase of STIHL and Husqvarna brand battery-operated landscape maintenance equipment. Through the Southern California Air Quality Management District’s Exchange Program, which allows public agencies to exchange their gas-powered equipment with battery operated equipment, Panossian was able to reduce the initial cost of the equipment by more than $138,000.
“B&M is one of the most experienced vendors in the field with battery,” Panossian said when explaining why he chose B&M. “They will be able to get us all of the equipment we need in one fell swoop. … There’s over 200 pieces of equipment we are going to be getting.” And B&M has the ability to navigate through the AQMD Exchange Program.
The expansion of the green zone certification to all the city’s parks will result in a reduction of airborne pollutants by 63 tons and a noise pollution reduction of 40%-70%, Panossian estimated.
Since the Council approved Panossian’s purchase order, the next steps will be to receive inventory and assign the equipment and provide staff training. He expects full implementation of the plan by mid-August to September and will work with AGZA to get the official green zone certification for all parks.
Mayor Dan Brotman expressed his gratitude to Panossian, emphasizing this was no easy task.
“You’ve been very methodical about this,” he said. “Starting by piloting some of our smaller parks and learning about [the many] challenges … I really appreciate how much you’ve done. I’m super excited we’re doing this.”
First published in the July 1 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.