The City of West Hollywood staged a formal ground-breaking ceremony this afternoon to celebrate the beginning of work on the second stage of redevelopment of West Hollywood Park.
The event was attended by City Hall staffers and members of the WeHo City Council and took place on the park grounds.
Mayor Lauren Meister lauded the improvements to the eight-acre park in this second phase, which is expected to be completed in three years. They include an aquatic and recreation center with two rooftop swimming pools and a multi-sport court, small and large dog parks, expanded green spaces, new children’s playgrounds and an AIDS Monument, which will be next to the already-constructed West Hollywood Library and parking structure, which were completed in 2011 as part of the first phase of the project.
City Manager Paul Arevalo said the overall cost of the first and second phases of the park redevelopment will be $150 million. Arevalo said the redevelopment will add 3.5 acres of green space to the park, in part by removing older buildings.
Other members of the city council also praised the project. They included John Heilman, who was a city council member when the park renovation first was conceived, and John Duran, also a long-time council member, who called out the construction in the park of a national AIDS Monument, which will memorialize the hundreds of West Hollywood residents who died of AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s along with those in the community who assisted them.
“This is exactly what a city should be doing, creating a green space with amenities,” said City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath. “Once we live through it, it is a park that will last for a lifetime.”
Councilmember John D’Amico praised LPA, the firm that has designed the park’s aquatic and recreaton center, among other features, and is working with Rios Clementi Hale, which is handling landscaping for the project. LPA’s Rick D’Amato said the project represents a close collaboration between the designers, the community and city staffers. Also present was Phillip Smith, a Palm Desert-based artist who will create a light-based work to be installed in the park. Smith, who grew up in Los Angeles, recalled playing in West Hollywood Park as a child. “For me, creating this is a park I played in is quite humbling,” Smith said.