The West Hollywood City Council will attend a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday to celebrate the beginning of construction on the second phase of the redevelopment of West Hollywood Park, which will bring the total cost of the project close to $12 million an acre.
The ceremony will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. on the park’s South Lawn, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library, at 647 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. It is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the five-story parking structure nearby with tickets validated at the event.
Work on the second phase of the eight-acre park project will begin this month and is anticipated to last for approximately three years. The plan features 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.
The project is being funded with $60 million from bonds sold by the city and $31.1 million in money from the city’s General Fund capital reserves. Another $2.85 million comes from WeHo’s park and parking improvement funds and $900,000 comes from fees paid by developers of child care facilities at the park. The city projects the annual costs of paying off the bonds at $3.4 to $3.5 million a year. The cost of the project has sparked criticism from City Councilmember John D’Amico and Mayor Lauren Meister. Cynthia Blatt, a candidate in the March 7 election for City Council, also has criticized the cost of the park project, saying it is “one of the most expensive parks in the urban United States.”
In an announcement of the groundbreaking, Meister praised the project. “The future West Hollywood Park will offer amazing new amenities and extensive open spaces. In addition to the stunning aquatic and recreation center, there will be many wonderful new park features.
“On a personal note, I can’t wait to enjoy the new dog park with Spike,” Meister said, referencing her dog. “Please pardon our dust as construction takes place — the park and its facilities will remain open, and there will be fencing to block off work areas to ensure everyone can safely enjoy the park. We’re doing everything we can to minimize impacts as we move forward with incredible improvements.”
West Hollywood Park will stay open throughout construction, and every existing park facility will continue to be open until after each new improvement is completed. However the construction is likely to have an impact on specific activities, such as swimming while the existing pool is closed. The annual L.A. Pride event in June also will be affected by construction, given that the event in years past has used most of the open park space.
During construction, fences will ensure safety in and around construction areas and large expanses of the park will remain open for use. El Tovar Place and the adjacent surface public parking lot will be closed; however, the five-story public parking structure and library parking structure will remain open and accessible from the San Vicente Boulevard entrance. The surface public parking lot off of Melrose Avenue, and the adjacent alley, may also be affected by construction.
Details and updates about the implementation of the second phase of the project are available online.