WeHo Council Votes Tuesday on Demolishing Plummer Park’s Great Hall / Long Hall

Great Hall-Long Hall
Great Hall / Long Hall

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he West Hollywood City Council will be asked at its meeting Tuesday to approve a $120,000 contract for the demolition of Great Hall / Long Hall, the WPA-era building in Plummer Park whose proposed destruction has provoked outrage among many neighbors of the park and other West Hollywood residents.

The Council is likely to approve the demolition, given its three to two vote on Dec. 2 asking City Manager Paul Arevalo to return on Jan. 21 with a plan for demolishing the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. That vote was a response to a proposal by Councilmember John D’Amico to repair Great Hall / Long Hall and reopen it for public use until the city decided its fate. Councilmember Jeffrey Prang joined D’Amico in voting against the demolition plan.

A request for bids from private contractors posted on the city’s website on Dec. 26 specified that the demolition must be completed within 20 days after the city approves a bid. If the Council approves the bid from Interior Demolition Inc., the 77-year-old building could be gone by the second week of February.

The proposal from the city planning staff also asks the Council to approve replacement of the existing preschool building in the park and renovation of the interior of Fiesta Hall and calls for considering options for new materials and colors for Fiesta Hall’s exterior, all called for in the city’s original development plan, which was approved in 2010. The proposal states that none of the trees around Great Hall / Long Hall will be removed and explicitly removes the previously proposed construction of an underground parking garage from the plan the Council will be asked to approve. It does, however, call for construction of an underground parking garage where the parking lot on the south end of Plummer Park currently is located.

In addition to the $120,000 contract for demolition of Great Hall / Long Hall, the Council will be asked to approve:

  • A $2.2 million contract with Brooks + Scarpa Architects to refine the park plan to accommodate elimination of the proposed underground parking garage, revisions to plans for the new preschool building and the Fiesta Hall renovation required by changes in building codes and to conduct additional engineering studies.
  • A $2.5 million contract with Heery International Inc. to manage the park project,
  • A $75,000 contract with PMC World http://www.pmcworld.com/ to promote the project to the community,
  • And a $70,000 contract with Mariposa Landscapes Inc. to landscape what the city is calling the “Great Lawn,” the area where Great Hall / Long Hall now sits.

The staff report estimates the total cost of the project at $29 million, with the Fiesta Hall work accounting for $13.4 million of that, the overall site development accounting for $9.6 million, the replacement of the preschool building accounting for $5 million and redevelopment of the lawn under Great Hall / Long Hall costing $875,000.

The report also recommends extending the time required to complete the project from 34 months to 50 months. That extension, the report says, will allow the city to avoid closing major facilities in the park at once so that users of some elements can be moved to others while construction proceeds.

The longer time period has another major advantage — it gives the city more time to lobby for restoration of $26 million that once was in a so-called “community development fund” that it intended to use for the project. The state eliminated the community development funds, reallocating money from them to the state budget. West Hollywood and a number of other California cities are lobbying the state legislature to have that money restored. Extending the project gives the city the option to not implement some aspects of the redevelopment plan if the money isn’t returned by the state. Without the community development money, the city will have to use money from its general reserve fund or borrow money to pay for the project.

The staff report, which numbers 512 pages, includes 416 letters from members of Restore Plummer Park, a recently formed group lobbying in support of the demolition of Great Hall / Long Hall. Those letters, only 28 of which are from residents of West Hollywood, are from cities and states across the country, including small towns in Alaska, Alabama, North Carolina, Minnesota and Montana. They appear to have been derived from the group’s petition on Change.org, which has nearly 500 signers. Protect Plummer Park, an organization of local residents that has lobbied against destruction of Great Hall / Long Hall, launched its own petition drive on Change.org that has attracted more than 2,400 signatures, with approximately 900 of them from West Hollywood residents.

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Bobcat
8 years ago

Less cement in any park like in the w Hollywood park more green space all over the city come on everyone demand more setbacks to all new buildings

Lynn Russell
Lynn Russell
8 years ago

Hi Nimby, your comments suggest that you seem highly critical of the folks at the National Trust and possibly the State as well. Apparently feeling that their knowledge might be deficient and perhaps their credentials defective for they made either an erroneous or fabricated decision in dedicating Plummer Park as a California historic landmark and Great Hall/Long Hall as an deserving example of Spanish Revival architecture during the WPA era. Have you written to them with that criticism? Granted some of the more modest examples of various architectural periods can easily be overlooked by the casual, untrained eye but I… Read more »

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
8 years ago

@Rudolf: Actually I read it when it was posted. And there is nothing historically significant contained in it. But it was a well-researched essay on a municipal park building.

Thanks for the insult, too. Kisses.

martel
martel
8 years ago

how many Nationally Designated Historic buildings are there in west hollywood?

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
8 years ago

@mike Dolan. I’ve waited a while to chime in after watching your posts and actions of late And have waited to get in the mix, but at this point im drven to break my silence reguarding your actions and words It’s really not your job or your training to determine the historic value of a building in my opinion. I find it disrespectfull to the state staff to decide what is history and what isnt. Thats why the state has historic department for. Its arogant in my book to say you or others no better regaurding that building. Preseving a… Read more »

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

NIMBY, you could have enlightened yourself by reading excerpts of Jen Dunbar’s nomination of GHLH into the National Register of Historic Places right here, but something tells me that this kind of thing goes way over your head:

https://staging.wehoville.com/2013/12/06/plummer-park-great-hall-long-halls-place-weho-history/

Mike Dolan
Mike Dolan
8 years ago

@Stephanie, I know you know that the Plummer Park Plan is approved with the statement of overriding consideration which planned for the removal of Great Hall/Long Hall. With or without any designation. What is best for the community at large has always been open space, open green parklands… I could go on but this all has been hashed out from the nonstop public hearing at all official meetings for over two years. The plan has evolved but the statement of overriding consideration is there to do what West Hollywood’s own residents demand: Open Green Space, open parkland. The utilitarian, 80… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

@Hank Scott, can I change my moniker to “Jane, You Ignorant Wehoan”? LOL

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
8 years ago

It’s odd that no one has cited anything significant that happened in this supposedly “historically significant” building… and yet they’re still crying over its demolition. Can anyone prove that this designation was anything more than the result of getting some lobbyists to convince the some bureaucrats to make the designation?

And please spare me the “this was a WPA building!” argument. Being a WPA building alone doesn’t make it super special. Mediocrity was produced in that time, too.

Let’s get moving on a new and improved park!

Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

Since we have 416 letters from “Restore Plummer Park” (and oddly none from the much larger “Protect Plummer Park”) in the staff report, we should find out who these people are, who take such a strange interest in our little park, and how this brand new group has made it so quickly into our staff report. Could it be that this group was actually created by the city via their eager helpers? It appears that the “Friends of West Hollywood” (the ‘independent committee’ that legally funnels money from mostly out-of-town real estate developers and contractors toward our council members), who… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
8 years ago

@Mike Dolan- with all due respect, your petition does NOT state that to “restore” the park, the plan you support requires DEMOLISHING a NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK. Your petition did not ask that we work together to come up with something upon which we can all agree. The city and the council promised the citizens, not once, but twice, that the public would be involved in a redesign. That has never happened. Fact: the new preschool and the upgrade to Fiesta Hall, BOTH TAKE AWAY OPEN SPACE. All PROTECT PLUMMER PARK has ever asked for, was for the people to have… Read more »

Lindse
Lindse
8 years ago

Save Plummer park!

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