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Alternate Plans for Plummer Park Coming by End of Month

Councilman John D'Amico meets with Protect Plummer Park activists, says public meetings unveiling alternate plans could start by end of January.

Alternative plans for renovating Plummer Park could be ready for residents to see by the end of January. That’s what City Councilman John D’Amico told a group of two dozen residents Thursday night during a special meeting to discuss the park’s future.

Residents involved with the Protect Plummer Park movement requested the meeting with D’Amico to discuss their concerns about the that would include closing a majority of the park for up to two years while an underground parking garage is constructed.

D’Amico reported that architects from Brooks + Scarpa, the firm originally hired to design the park renovations, are scheduled to bring those alternate plans to a City Hall subcommittee in two weeks. After that subcommittee reviews the options, meetings for public input will then be scheduled, D’Amico said.

An architect by profession, D’Amico was appointed to that subcommittee in December when the City Council announced it was

Residents presented a 12-point list of their major concerns about the park renovations, including their opposition to the underground parking, removal of trees during construction, and the demolition of the conjoined Great Hall and Long Hall.

D’Amico, who was elected to the City Council in March, told the group he had recently met with Brooks + Scarpa to get the background of the project. He said it became obvious during the meeting that saving the WPA-era buildings was not a priority given to the architects originally. He assured options for restoring the building would be included in the alternate plans.

Residents also expressed concerns about the futuristic façade planned as part of the Fiesta Hall renovations. They said they were happy to see it get a state-of-the-art makeover, but wanted to see the Spanish Colonial architecture preserved. They also suggested that Brooks + Scarpa, a firm specializing in modern architecture, might not be the best firm to handle those renovations.

D’Amico said they would have to see what the alternate plans looked like before deciding whether to go with another architecture firm.

Residents emphasized that construction phasing was a major concern. Since the park is so heavily used by residents, any construction closures would greatly impact them.

“I completely understand that the phasing of the park is as important as the end product,” said D’Amico.

The meeting was initially tense, but as it became clear that D’Amico was understanding their concerns, the mood lightened considerably. D’Amico assured residents the City Council was now hearing what they were saying, even though it initially did not.

“The problem from September to December was the city had invested a considerable amount of money and had a considerable number of stakeholders who slowly peeled away,” D’Amico said. “Then there was only the money expenditures.”

For three months, Protect Plummer Park activists appeared at virtually every city meeting to speak against the planned renovations. Gradually, about the park redesign until the City Council finally announced it was commissioning the alternate plans.

After the meeting, D’Amico told Patch he felt good about the meeting. “I’m pleased that so many people showed up and we had such a great conversation,” he said.

Stephanie Harker, who helped spearhead the Protect Plummer Park movement, told Patch she was “cautiously encouraged” about the meeting.

Similarly, Cathy Blaivas, the other person behind Protect Plummer Park, said she felt “reserved optimism” that the alternate plans would reflect their concerns.

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Rudolf Martin January 19, 2012 at 06:52 PM
that is a great suggestion, lynn. there is also Brenda Levin, quite a famous historic preservation architect based in LA - she did things like the Griffith observatory. the point is, there are plenty of great options for the city and they could actually SAVE money by making targeted improvements as opposed to the sweeping soulless redesign that nobody wants. and that would make the phasing a whole lot easier, the park would stay open at all times. and why is the courtyard of Fiesta Hall sealed off by a wall like a prison yard? it would be nice to open that great unused courtyard space under the ancient olive tree up to the community. and the courtyard of Great Hall / Long Hall is stunning, also completely unused for years.
Lynn Russell January 19, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Saturday in Pasadena is a great event in tribute to Julia Morgan (of WR Hearst's many projects) who designed the former YWCA Building on N. Marengo now on Pasadena Heritage's "Most Endangered" list after years of neglect and deterioration while in private hands. It is important because it also involves potential acquisition by the city through eminent domain. Valuable information is sure to come forth from a panel of notable speakers. 1/21/12 @ First Baptist Church, 75 N. Marengo (across from YWCA) $18 admission from 1-4:00 PM. http://www.classicist-socal.org/event/node/436
joninla January 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM
A a fan of modern architecture, I still have to agree with you. Modern is fine (great in my opinion) in the right place, circumstances and of a quality that it is not just a 'fad' style of modern architecture. For example, I recently saw the guy who was controlled weho's architecture just passed away. In the article it said he was responsible (proud too) that he had been able to change the style of the Sunset Millennium Mall (that exists today) from what he described as the developers desire to build a "Cruella D'Aville" style of roof and design. IN THAT SPOT ON SUNSET BLVD - that was exactly the style that should have been built to fit in with the traditional euro-french-interpretation style of Sunset Plaza. Now (and since opening) I every time I go past I wonder WHY??? not have built it in the same style as the row of buildings next door (and in the same style the Sunset Plaza shops just finished adding). The planning commission has taken credit for the designs in West Hollywood and they should also take responsibility for their total failures, to wit: The New Library, Parking Garage, City park, the Hancock Lofts which remain unsold and not even fully rented, apparently the City Hall which was completely designed and rebuilt to fit the City's needs now and into the future, but suddenly there is a supposed desperate need to build the Robo 13Mill Parking Garage. THE PLANNING COMMISSION IS A FAILURE IN PROGRESS.
joninla January 20, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Is anyone going to attend the Planning Meeting?
Stephanie January 20, 2012 at 08:39 AM
A different Paul, please contact us at protectplummerpark@gmail.com. Thanks.

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