By Cecilia Chan
During his 20 years sitting at the council dais, Phil Lieberman was most proud of his work on the Rose Lane Acquatics Center at 51st and Marlette avenues.
The year he retired from public office, he arranged for the city to offer a free swim day at the center pool for neighborhood children. More children showed up than expected, exceeding the budget. However, Mr. Lieberman and others came to the rescue and personally paid the fees so no child would be turned away.
So it is rather fitting that one of the city’s longest serving councilman, known for his commitment to Glendale, will be honored with a bronze plaque at the entrance of Rose Lane Aquatics Center.
Mr. Lieberman, who died last year, served 21 years on the council before he retired in 2012. He then moved to California to be near family after 46 years in Glendale.
A dedication ceremony is scheduled for June 3 at Rose Lane, which is a “great way to kick off the summer swim season,” said Erik Strunk Public Facilities, Recreation and Special Events director.
Department Deputy Director Mike Gregory told the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission last week he has been working with Mr. Lieberman’s family on the plaque. The 21″ x 13″ plaque will cost an estimated $3,000, according to Mr. Gregory.
Mr. Gregory ticked off a list of Mr. Lieberman’s public service, including serving on the Glendale Rotary and Glendale Optimist clubs, Glendale Board of Adjustment, president of Glendale Chamber of Commerce and hearing officer for Maricopa County Justice Court. He also was instrumental in bringing the Thunderbird Hot Air Balloon Invitation to the American Graduate School of International Management in 1978, which showcased the city and school for many years, according to Mr. Gregory.
In 1992 Mr. Lieberman was the first councilman elected to the then newly formed Cactus District in southeast Glendale. He was noted for his independent and sometime critical voice on council such as becoming a vocal supporter of the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino and Resort near Northern and 91st avenues when the council majority opposed it.
A retired businessman, he often pushed for fiscal accountablity in the city.
Councilman Bart Turner initiated this item, shortly after Mr. Lieberman’s death.