Downtown Burbank

A couple walks along San Fernando Boulevard in downtown Burbank. Councilman Jess Talamantes wants to bring music to the area. (Times Community News / December 14, 2012)

Councilman Jess Talamantes' pitch to spend an estimated $87,000 over five years to pulse ambient music along walkways in downtown fell on critical ears this week, with two of his colleagues saying they'd rather focus on more important financial priorities.

The suggestion fell flat Tuesday on a 2-2 vote, with Councilmen David Gordon and Dave Golonski dissenting and Councilman Gary Bric absent.

Representatives of Muzak, an indoor and outdoor music provider, estimated project installation and ongoing maintenance costs to hover around $87,000 for the next five years.

The coverage area would include San Fernando Boulevard between Magnolia Boulevard and Angeleno Avenue, as well as a portion of the AMC Walkway.

Talamantes thought ambient music could boost consumerism downtown.

“It's very pleasing, I think it's very inviting,” Talamantes said. “It creates a better environment for families.”

Officials envisioned a cost-sharing agreement with the Burbank Property-Based Business Improvement District, a nonprofit corporation that focuses on boosting business downtown through capital improvements and marketing.

But resident David Piroli said he felt the project would be “a waste of money” that, instead of encouraging more spending, would encourage shoppers to “run for some other jurisdiction.”

“Muzak, to me, is the exact same music that most people classify as what they hear in an elevator or dentist's office — neither of which are pleasant experiences for most people,” Piroli said.

Golonski encouraged the business improvement district to pursue the project on its own for the council's consideration.

“If they brought forth a compelling argument or something, I would be willing to reconsider it,” he said.

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