As we recently reported, this coming New Year’s Day will mark the first time in a century that the city of Glendale will not send a float down Pasadena’s famed stretch of Colorado Boulevard. City officials have been cutting back on funds for a Rose Parade float for some time now and this year they completely dropped it.

This is a real disappointment, tempered only by news that at least we can cheer on the 90 Glendale High students who will dance in the event’s opening show. Thank goodness for the kids and their hard work, because the adults who lead our city are letting this opportunity to shine before the world slip past.

Should Glendale continue to be represented by a float in the Rose Parade in future years? Yes. It’s a matter of civic pride. A colorful float in the Rose Parade can serve a much greater need than pure marketing: It can band together residents of all ages and economic status in a priceless effort to say “Hey! We have a great city and we’re proud of it!”

Should the city pay a private contracting firm to construct the float, as it has in the past? We’d suggest that’s an unnecessary expenditure. Instead of our writing a check for more than $150,000 to someone else, city officials should beg forgiveness of the people who formed the Glendale Rose Float Assn. for the lack of respect it was shown before it disbanded — after three decades of carrying the baton.

That association should be resurrected or another similar nonprofit started that has a strong leadership including people who are not only creative, but who are willing to roll up their sleeves and handle the design, construction, decorating work and — this is the kicker — all of the necessary fundraising.

Both Burbank and La Cañada Flintridge have Tournament of Roses associations that look less to their city halls for float funds and more to the community to kick in the necessary dollars. It’s hard to believe that in Glendale, a city of about 200,000 people and a host of corporations, only a paltry $15,000 could be raised from local donors for the 2014 Rose float. And that is exactly why we need the Glendale Rose Float Assn. back in business.

A self-built float may not be quite as elegant as a professionally built float, but it can be award-winning, as the floats representing both of our neighboring cities have proven, year in and year out. And, done right, it costs about one-third less. The association should be autonomous from City Hall, so as to eliminate layers of bureaucratic red tape.

Now is the time to put things in order so that Glendale enters a float in the 2016 Rose Parade. This must be done or we might risk losing a spot in that extraordinary lineup again, just as we did this year.

Source: Glendale News-Press