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Rose float funds roll in

Developer's challenge grant is matched by a newcomer to the city.

July 26, 2011|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com
  • The City of Glendale Float at the 121st. Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Friday, January 1, 2010. (Raul Roa/News-Press)
The City of Glendale Float at the 121st. Tournament of…

GLENDALE — Just a week after Americana at Brand developer Rick Caruso issued a $25,000 challenge grant to save Glendale’s float entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the money has poured in, apparently saving a 97-year-old program from being axed.

Major donations from the business community — including $25,000 from local businessman Sam Solakyan — and $3,000 from the Glendale Firefighters Assn. put the fundraising total well above the $50,000 benchmark needed to save the float.

“I think it’s a source of civic pride,” said Chris Stavros, president of the firefighters union.

Three donations came in for the Rose float during the Glendale City Council meeting Tuesday.

A $25,000 was given by two companies that provide taxi and Super Shuttle service in Glendale.

“It's a tradition. We don't want to see it end,” said Rozan Mardosian, a representative for Tri-City Systems Inc. And G & S Transit Management/DBA City Cab. “We want to be there for the city when they need us.”

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A $5,000 donation was given by the Glendale Management Assn., which represents the 300 managers in the city of Glendale.

Gary Ackerman, president of the Glendale Rose Float Assn., and 10 board members attended the meeting and told council they will donate about $2,700.

“I am very happy the community is now starting to come out,” said Councilman Dave Weaver, a longtime proponent for saving the float.

Now, with the funding it needed to move forward in hand, the City Council must still approve the float project to kick start construction, which could begin immediately, said Chris Lofthouse, president of Phoenix Decorating, the firm that has built the city’s float for 25 years.

The delay in securing funding for the float, he added, will not hinder its construction and competition.

“We were ready to roll,” he said. “We were just waiting for the word.”

Caruso’s donation came as a challenge to the community to raise the additional $25,000 needed to keep the float program alive. Until his cash infusion, it appeared that Glendale’s participation — the second-longest-running in the Rose Parade — would meet its end in the face of citywide budget cuts, with officials reporting just $596 in individual donations prior to Caruso’s challenge grant.

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