WeHo Council Approves $4.8 Million More for West Hollywood Park

West Hollywood Park concept. (Rendering by LPA Inc.)
West Hollywood Park concept. (Rendering by LPA Inc.)

The West Hollywood City Council last night authorized an increase of $4.8 million in funding for the redevelopment of West Hollywood Park, rejecting options to reduce spending on the park that would have included removing the “grand stair,” not building a second swimming pool and not adding a stacked parking function.

The approval brings the budget for the second phase of the nine-acre park’s redevelopment to $94.9 million, for a total cost of $115 million when Phase 1 work is added in. The additional spending approved last night will be offset by estimated savings of $18 million in Phase 1 of the park.  The city proposes to issue $64 million in bonds to cover the bulk of the project’s costs.  Other money would come from the city’s General Fund and other more specific funds.

Much of the Council’s discussion focused on whether or not to eliminate 11 parking spaces at the north end of the park to accommodate one of two proposed dog parks. Those spaces sit behind a building that once housed Citibank and how houses Millions of Milkshakes and Pizza Rustica. Genevieve Morrill, president of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, told the Council that those spaces are important to the business community, given the shortage of available parking in WeHo.

Councilmember John Heilman said the spaces were created during construction of the parking structure at the West Hollywood Library, which has more than 400 spaces, and were meant to be temporary. Councilmember John D’Amico suggested the city consider putting a few parallel parking spaces there, reducing the space that would be removed from the proposed dog park at that location. D’Amico suggested the city consider creating parking spaces along San Vicente Boulevard or in the loading area at the park, which will not be used once the redevelopment is complete.

Councilmember Lauren Meister objected to the cost of the redevelopment, suggesting that the Council vote to eliminate the proposed grand stair and its cafe for a savings of $1.75 million, not build the proposed recreation swimming pool for a savings of $750,000 and eliminate proposed parking in the plinth garage for a savings of $500,000. Meister suggested the city build the recreational swimming pool in Plummer Park on WeHo’s Eastside.

Heilman, noting that planning for redevelopment of the park has been underway for years, said: “I think tonight we really do need to have the courage to move forward with this and make this happen.”

“This project is going to expand our park space significantly, it is going to put in two new pools, one of which will be used for recreational swimming., one that will be used for lap swimming. .. We’ll have a brand new gymnasium that will accommodate the people who want to play basketball indoors, where we can have dodgeball tournaments and volleyball and dancing. And it’s going to be a great amenity in addition to all of the new community spaces, two new areas for dogs plus the AIDS monument which will be a recognition of all the people we lost …” The Foundation for a National AIDS Monument www.aidsmonument.org/ will use a small portion of the park on San Vicente Boulevard for construction of a monument designed by artist Dan Tobin. The Council agreed to set decisions aside on that project as the foundation continue its effort to raise money and engage the community.

The Council also adopted a proposal to phase in work on the park in such a way as to maximize its availability to the public while the work goes on. The city hopes to begin construction in July and complete it in April 2019.

The Council rejected a proposal by Mayor Lindsey Horvath to request that a project labor agreement (PLA) be added. That would force the city to include a union collective bargaining agreement in the project’s bid specifications, requiring a contractor to provide union wages and manages its workers according to union standards. Council members agreed to consider including a PLA at a future date.

 

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Jim Lee
Jim Lee
5 years ago

Love the park! Congratulations on approval.

Mike
Mike
6 years ago

West Hollywood is a city with less than 40,000 residents. This is a lot of money for a park that most of us will hardly, if ever, use. I say this as a long time resident.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
6 years ago

THIS IS CRAZY 1. As with the first phase, the end result doesn’t really look like the plans and illustrations, 2. THE NEW STAIRS – will be EITHER too steep and dangerous like the first, or else if meant to be a wide strolling/meet and greet and sit for some sun, or quiet reading … THEN IT WILL BE A CALLING CARD as the NEW HOMELESS HANGOUT. 3. It will take up unnecessary space. 4. The first elevator was designed too small and wrong location et al. ====>>>n Assuming the money doesn’t matte for this point HOW ABOUT!!! Instead of… Read more »

Ever Vigilant
Ever Vigilant
6 years ago

It seems a mystery as to exactly whom your long, unintelligible remarks are vociferously addressed. Have you ever thought about organizing a few clear points and meeting w the department head or Councilmember of your choice? It always helps to have a partner that will help carry the ball. If not, at least please consider organizing and editing your thoughts and give a proof read before hitting the send key. Somewhere in there is undoubtedly a bit of substance but it is a serious challenge to cut through the fog.

Thanking you in advance.

J Simmons
J Simmons
6 years ago

Parking issue. Remove the 10 spots and BUILD IN THAT SAME space a double decker metered parking lot. Just like Beverly Hills has along SMB. Design already done with the least obtrusive appearance possible. If good enough for BH I think it is good enough for weho.

J Simmons
J Simmons
6 years ago

@Steve Martin – Do we “need” ANOTHER Grand Staircase??? The existing PERMANENT Grand Staircase is the biggest and most dangerous new construction. We didn’t need the first one, but its multimillion dollar cost would be worth it AS A PERMANENT REMINDER NOT TO BUILD GRAND IDEAS… but for all the first stairs cost, and it being feet from The City Council Chamber…. The first major design problem doesn’t even work as a reminder of WHAT NOT TO DO AGAIN.

Dan Morin
Dan Morin
6 years ago

When the Getty re-opened as the Getty Villa after the Getty Center was completed, it had (and still does have) a million dollar grand staircase. Did some Council members visit the Villa and get a little rush of megolamania? You just know their names will be on a plaque somewhere. But we don’t have the Getty billion/s. Instead, we are spending an obscene amount of money on a PARK while people are homeless and hungry. The Council’s priorities are totally out of balance.

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
6 years ago

Just makes me wonder how we EVER managed to live with this inner-city ghetto park these past few decades.

Ever Vigilant
Ever Vigilant
6 years ago
Reply to  Tom Smart

Around the world, people enjoy their traditional parks which offer simplicity and relaxation to their lives. Only in West Hollywood do we need some iconic superstructure. One can’t ever be what they are basically not.

Christopher
Christopher
6 years ago

What’s wrong with the park now? Other than a missing off-leash dog area. 😛

Audrey
Audrey
6 years ago

A contemporary acropolis for the city’s gods and goddesses.

JJ
JJ
6 years ago

The only thing I would ask is that we take better care of this park when completed. Currently every time an event is held in the park (Oscar parties, Pride) the crews that set up have no respect for the park and things are not protected property. Our in-ground light fixtures are all bent over as well as our trees. Beverly Hills does a much better job of monitoring and protecting their property when it’s leased out for a function or when there is construction present.

JJ
JJ
6 years ago

Randy – I could not agree more. If you’re going to do something of this scale..do it right the first time. It’s our largest public green space and it has to perform a lot of different functions to please a very demeaning public. I think they nailed it pretty good. I for one am excited about the total redesign of the park. Let’s get going!

Ever Vigilant
Ever Vigilant
6 years ago

This rendering shows a lush green park and trees, what Plummer Park could look like today w some TLC, next to an interesting swimming pool complex appended by a grand staircase, unfortunately adjacent to the library structure that resembles a discarded printer. Such a paradox. The dogs seem to be the winners with their palatial playground!

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