The West Hollywood City Council agreed tonight to postpone a decision on 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 acted on a proposal by Councilmember John Duran that the city study the possibility of relocating the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. That proposal was seconded by Councilmember John Heilman, who has long advocated demolishing Great Hall / Long Hall. No date was set for completion of that study.
The Council’s decision came at what had been expected to be a tumultuous meeting — one that did attract a larger crowd than any other in recent memory. Opponents carried signs protesting the proposed demolition on the walkway outside the Council chambers before the meeting began. A lawyer for Protect Plummer Park, a group advocating preservation of Great Hall / Long Hall, earlier had filed a request for a court order barring the city from proceeding with the demolition, although at the time of the Council meeting that request had not been heard.
The proposal on tonight’s agenda was to approve a $120,000 contract with Interior Demolition Inc. to remove Great Hall / Long Hall. In an earlier decision, the Council had stipulated that the building must be removed within 20 days after the demolition is approved, which would have meant Great Hall / Long Hall, in existence for nearly 80 years, would have been gone by the middle of next month.
The Council did agree to proceed with replacing the existing preschool building in the park. Other elements of the redevelopment plan, including renovating the interior of Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall and considering options for new materials and colors for Fiesta Hall’s exterior, were postponed along with the Great Hall / Long Hall demolition. All of those elements were called for in the city’s original development plan, which was approved in 2010. The plan states that none of the old 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.