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Council Poised to Pave Way for Promenade Makeover
By Jorge Casuso
October 5, 2018 -- After three decades of wear and tear and seismic shifts in shopping trends, the Third Street Promenade is ready for a major makeover, City and Downtown officials say.
On Tuesday, the City Council is expected to hire an urban design team led by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCHS) to begin assessing what needs to be done to insure the Promenade "continues to flourish and remain relevant."
The firm would be paid $330,000 over a one-year period, with up to $100,000 of the total paid by Downtown Santa Monica Inc., the public-private non-profit that runs the Downtown.
"The proposed study requires coordination across a range of urban design, place-making, economic development and engineering disciplines to realize both short- and long-term goals of revitalizing the Promenade," staff wrote in its report.
The assessment was called for in the Downtown Community Plan and funded under the current City budget, according to staff.
Public outreach is expected to begin in December after a six-month planning process, staff said.
Earlier this year, Downtown officials launched “Promenade 3.0,” a series of public meetings to discuss the shopping strip's future and gather community feedback.
Last month they invited the public to partake in an experiment to help re-imagine the popular strip by re-configuring furniture and engaging in different activities ("Downtown Santa Monica "Experiment" to Help Shape Its Future," September 18, 2018).
Except for the six topiary dinosaurs at four fountains that were recently refurbished, there has been no significant investment in the Promenade's aging infrastructure, staff said.
Among the upgrades the consultants will study are replacing the concrete sidewalks, pavers, light fixtures and trash bins, staff said.
Other possible upgrades include replacing the existing benches with "mobile and movable sit-down facilities" and the two retail pavilions with stages, play areas or landscaped groves.
Consultants also will explore installing outdoor dining “beer gardens and "shade sails" over portions of the Promenade, staff said.
The consultants will identify "a preferred conceptual design that helps revitalize the Promenade as a walking and shopping corridor that continues to meet community and stakeholder expectations," staff said.
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