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Santa Monica Officials Hail ‘Year of Notable Progress’ for Public Projects

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

December 4, 2014 -- Tongva Park/Ken Genser Square and the Pico Library were among Santa Monica’s major capital improvement projects (CIPs) completed in the recent fiscal year, which stretched from July 2013 to June 2014.

Public Works Director Martin Pastucha noted these projects among others in his CIP year-end report submitted to the City Council on Wednesday.

The past fiscal year “was a year of notable progress and accomplishment for the City’s Capital Improvement Program,” the report states. “A number of significant community amenities and infrastructure improvements were completed.”

The report refers to Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square as “iconic.” The $46 million outdoor facility opened in October 2013, and has since won 10 architectural and urban design awards, according to the report.

“The seven-acre park [provides] a pivotal link between the Civic Center and natural, cultural and economic assets of Santa Monica,” the report states.

The $11 million Pico branch library opened at Virginia Avenue Park in April and featured a grand opening in June with a large multi-cultural celebration.

“It is already serving as a community resource and a hub for neighborhood activity,” the report states.

Another project that is important in this parking-stressed city was Downtown Public Parking Structure 6 near Second Street and Broadway. It opened last December and features 744 vehicle spaces, 130 spots for bicycles and electric vehicle charging stations.

Other completed projects noted in the report were the Universally Accessible Playground and the resurfacing of Lincoln Boulevard south of the I-10 Freeway.

The playground, which is located at the 2900 block of the beach between Barnard Way and the bike path, is designed so that children of all abilities can play in it. Its opening in July 2013 marked the culmination of years of planning and advocacy by Santa Monica's Disabilities and Recreation & Parks commissions.

An upcoming project noted in the report that is of interest to some local activists is the restoration of the Chain Reaction sculpture in the Civic Center. More than $100,000 has been raised and sits in a restricted account ready to be used.

“The City contracted with Rosa Loweringer Associates (Art Conservation) and Melvyn Green and Associates (Structural Engineer) to assist in the analysis of the sculpture and to consult regarding additional testing that may be required,” the report states.

The City is in negotiations with Twining Laboratory to perform the additional testing, according to the report.

The reconstruction of the California Incline is expected to begin next month, pending federal funding approval. The project, which could cause some traffic headaches, is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

Related projects near the site are also supposed to begin soon.

Also expected to begin next month, pending federal approval, is the $12.8 million Colorado Esplanade project that will renovate Colorado Avenue west of Fifth Street.

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