Boystown got 333 new parking spaces Saturday morning as a city-owned parking deck officially opened for business.
Mayor and other city officials were on hand to cut the ribbon for the deck located in , behind the new library being built on San Vicente at Melrose Avenue, across from the .
“Parking is very needed in this area. We know how much restaurants, clubs and businesses in this area have been hurting,” said Heilman during his dedication speech. “More than a parking structure, this is about expanding park space, having a library and a community center.”
Even though the new library won’t be open until the fall, the city pushed to get the parking deck open six months early to ease the chronic shortage of parking in the busy commercial areas of Boystown and Melrose Ave. and Robertson Blvd.
“Look around people, we’ve got parking!” said Chris Bonbright, West Hollywood Library Fund board chair, in his opening remarks. “We have a city council and city staff that listens...parking is the backbone of any commercial area. We can now go head to head to head with every other commercial area.”
Darren Gold, chair of the Avenues, Art, Fashion and Design District, echoed his sentiments, saying, “We’re excited to have a solution to the problem we face as businesses.”
After the unveiling of a plaque and cutting of the ribbon, attendees went to the roof of the six-story deck to see the three new tennis courts which sit atop the structure. That tennis court area can also be used for special events such as Oscar parties and Christopher Street West gay pride festivities.
That tennis court area afforded spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills, Century City and downtown LA. It also offered an overhead glimpse at the library plaza area which has been shielded from view at ground level by construction fences. Underneath that plaza will be 70 additional parking spaces for library patrons, which will open when the library opens.
In his opening speech, Bonbright announced the Library Fund has just passed $6 million, an announcement which brought much applause. But Bonbright also made a plea for more pledges, listing various donation categories, starting with $150 for library shelves. As he made his way up the donation scale, he finished with, “And for $7.5 million, we will name the library after you.”
Despite the cold, windy weather, more than 100 people turned out for the ceremonies. Several residents were overheard calling the new parking deck, “wonderful,” and “long overdue.”
The entrance to the parking structure is accessible from Robertson Ave. Parking is free for the first hour before 6 p.m. A second hour is free with validation from the park or current library. However, those validation machines aren’t yet operational, so for the moment, people must go to the deck’s parking offices on the ground level for validation.