Historic Preservation Commissioners Say Restoring Great Hall / Long Hall Where It Is Should Be Considered

Members of the West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission, presented with nine options for relocating Plummer Park’s Great Hall / Long Hall, agreed tonight that they would like to see the city also consider the cost of renovating the historic building and leaving it in place.

The options were presented by Historic Resources Group of Pasadena, a consulting firm. They range from moving the Great Hall and Long Hall buildings along with the cloister framed by the two buildings and a separate toilet building — at a cost of $1,867,000 — to simply cutting the roof, walls and wood-framed floors of the Great Hall and Long Hall buildings and trucking them to a warehouse for storage, which would cost an estimated $712,000.

Historic Resources Group (HRG) said the first option is the one most likely to allow the buildings to remain on the National Register of Historic Places. It will preserve the design, material, workmanship and feeling of the building. That alternative calls for the buildings to be relocated west of the current location toward North Vista Street, which is on the west side of Plummer Park.

West Hollywood preservation advocates attending the meeting objected that restoring the buildings and keeping them in place wasn’t an option considered by the consultant.

David Reid noted that the buildings, erected in the Spanish Colonial style during the WPA era, were historically significant in many ways. Reid said they were where early meetings of the Coalition for Economic Justice took place to help plan the campaign for West Hollywood to become a city rather than merely an area of Los Angeles County. Reid also noted that early meetings of Act-Up, the HIV/AIDS activist group, took place at Great Hall Long Hall, as did those of many 12 Step groups.

Lauren Meister, a former member of the city’s Planning Commission and a candidate in the race for a seat on the City Council next year, echoed Reid’s argument. “Contrary to popular belief, there was life before 1984 in this city and we have to acknowledge that and preserve it,” she said. “The option with the most integrity for historic preservation is for those buildings to remain in place.”

Others arguing that leaving Great Hall / Long Hall in place was the best option included Jen Dunbar, president of the West Hollywood Preservation Alliance; Cole Ettman, a Council candidate and a member of the city’s Public Facilities Commission, which will take up the issue at a meeting Wednesday, and Cathy Blaivas and Stephanie Harker, major activists in the Protect Plummer Park movement.

The only speaker in opposition was Michael Dolan, who said an option that the consultant should have considered was to proceed with the Plummer Park master plan, which called for demolishing the buildings to provide more open green space.

Edward Levin, a member of the Historic Preservation Commission, noted that the City Council has asked the consultant only to consider moving the buildings and that preserving them in place had not been an option.

Brad Torgan, another commission member, also noted that leaving the building in place wasn’t an option before the commission. But Torgan said he would recommend that the scope of the HRG study be expanded to include restoring the buildings where they are. Torgan said he hopes the city’s Public Facilities Commission will reach a similar conclusion.

His recommendation was echoed by Commissioners Levin, Danny Castro, Yawar Charlie, Paul Rice and Allegra Allison. Commissioner Gail Ostergren was not present at tonight’s meeting.

Historic Preservation Commission members did not vote to make a recommendation to the City Council. But commission members noted that their comments, which all included a recommendation that restoration of the buildings where they are be considered, would be sent to the Council for review.

The Council voted in January to engage HRG to consider moving them as an option. It previously had decided, in a three-to-two vote, to seek proposals from outside contractors for demolishing the buildings. Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember Jeffrey Prang voted against the demolition plan.


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Riley
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Riley

@Mike Dolan and his husband. You are in the minority.

Mike Dolan
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Mike Dolan

I did also state, the only alternative that I and my husband support in the HRG study was F2.

Mike Dolan
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Mike Dolan

I would like to clarify the comment in the article on what I stated. From my point-of-view, I would not suggest to HRG nor the Historic Preservation Commission demolish a historically designated site. I did want the Commission to realize that the City has an approved Master Plan for Plummer Park and a statement of overriding consideration on what is best for the City and resident’s of the community. It is a City owned property and they have precedence on what to do regarding Great Hall/Long. So, here what my true insight was honestly spoken to the Commission, staff and… Read more »

Very concerned citizen
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Very concerned citizen

What is sorely missing from this conversation is the FACT that at this point in time, there is NO PLAN! the city has said that the underground parking is NOT going to happen….that the facade ofr Fiesta Hall will be changed….that NEW architects have been hired…..so then @Mike how in any way can you still say that there is an approved Master Plan? it IS about the money….or lack of same.

joetheplummber
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joetheplummber

People wake up. Get angry. There are homeless people who can’t even afford to pay for their MTA pass and you are stuck on saving a dead building. Gross Hall and Lost Hall are like ebola. People in West Hollywood are sick and dying from this park. We need to realize that the past is not the present and the future is right now. There are a million stakeholders Mr. Mayor and they all want to kill this disease that is ebola park. The whole thing is sick and dying. Get an underground park plan and let the sunshine some… Read more »

Michele
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Michele

We still miss the Audubon My son played in Plummer Park – he’s in his 40’s now. We still miss the Audubon Society’s “bird house”. We value the historic buildings and the history of the area….even before it was a city
There is no way new plantings would replace the large beautiful, oxygen-giving trees we already have.
Dismantling buildings sounds like a covert plan to store them and forget them; and moving them will not provide more space.
Refurbishing and demolishing are not the same thing.!

Rudolf Martin
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Rudolf Martin

NIMBY, please don’t be mad at us park users, where’s your sense of humor? I hope you never stop commenting. You are welcome to continue to direct your caring at traffic, crime and affordable housing but it seems you are once again cheerleading something you seem to be confused about: The city was going to drop $43+ million (which they never had) on a plan nobody wanted. In the words of our current mayor, the city simply “ran out of stakeholders” for the old master plan that was trying to bring the 80s back to the eastside. If you’re actually… Read more »

Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs
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Wehoan Fed Up with the NIMBYs

Or maybe I’m tired of the city wasting time on Mayberry type crap like this. We have real issues in this city. This is not one of them. Feel free to keep hurling insults my way; I don’t mind. That doesn’t make this project any more worthwhile. It is a complete and utter waste of city time and resources. This ongoing little spat by a bunch of true fanatics just proves it. The majority of Weho residents couldn’t care less about these buildings and care more about traffic, crime, and affordable housing.

Lynn
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Lynn

A city without history on many levels is one without real roots. It becomes a mere stage set that is changed with the trends but does not endure.

Chloe Ross
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Chloe Ross

We are in the absolutely worst drought in at least 10 years. Orchards in the Central Valley are being burned or uprooted. Farmers are being bankrupted by the lack of rain. Prices will soar. Use of water is being restricted and I think the rationing will get worse as the drought continues. And I am speaking of official rationing. How in the world can anyone – ANYONE justify a “Great Lawn – not an existing lawn but a brand new great expanse of sod that will require irrigation and lots of water to maintain it. Surely Mr. Brown has outlined… Read more »

Very concerned citizen
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Very concerned citizen

Or better yet, maybe the city could demolish those Nationally Designated Historic buildings and build one of those BIG SQUARE boxes…ya know, like the ones WeHo West is trying to STOP from invading their neighborhood….. Just sayin….

Manny
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Manny

What a mess…..At this point the city should just sell the land to the Plummer Park ladies for a $1 and be done with it.

Very concerned citizen
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Very concerned citizen

@ Romanoff….just curious, if raping Plummer Park of it’s Nationally Designated buildings is so important why haven’t you all been speaking out at meetings and protesting? The signatures on the petition ARE valid. Those buildings are NATIONALLY Designated, that means people from all over and not just in our 2 square mile city have a say in their future.

As for this park….it does need a facelift, it does need attention paid to it….it has been sadly rather neglected for many years. i wonder how we would all look if left to rot away.

@ rudolf…….LOL…LOL…