Public workshop examines Minimalist, Expanded Activities and Transformative options

By HELGA GENDELL

Three design concepts for the expansion of Burton Chace Park were presented by RRM Design in a public workshop Wednesday, June 13th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey. The concepts were based on input gathered from a previous public workshop.

T. Keith Gurnee, who represents RRM Design, presented the information to over a hundred local residents, asking them to review pros and cons of each concept, and then provide feedback as to which concept and aspects they most liked in the form of a “report card” to be handed in at the end of the presentation.

The three concepts included Minimalist, Expanded Activities, and Transformative. (See summaries at right.)

Gurnee told the audience that RRM Design wanted to engage and involve residents and user groups in the Marina to determine what they want the park to be, sort of a “master plan” to guide Burton Chace Park expansion.

Gurnee said the goal was to present contrasting views on how the park could be improved as well as implications of what each decision would mean in terms of available amenities.

Results of the first workshop included the most important topics, such as developing an aquatic center, expanding park uses and expanding the community building for public meetings and other uses.

In the following summary of public input, some issues, such as a swimming pool and concerts, appear in more than one category.

The issues receiving the strongest statements of support included:

— retention of the Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club, at 13589 Mindanao Way, adjacent to the park’s community building;

— nautical-related youth programs;

— a swimming pool;

— a continuous waterfront promenade;

— more turf and trees; and

— charter docks.

The strongest opposition was to:

— building a new administration office with parking in the park;

— using the Windjammer Yacht Club for a community center;

— continuing concerts in the park;

— a parking structure; and

— a swimming pool.

Issues receiving mostly support included:

— providing more meeting rooms;

— subterranean parking structures at the park;

— a saltwater pool at Marina Beach;

— small boat training;

— more concerts;

— more transient slips;

— children/senior events; and

— interpretive exhibits.

Issues receiving mostly opposition were public art, keeping concerts, parking structures, a second fuel dock and an aquarium.

Controversial issues at that meeting included a swimming pool, moving concerts to Fisherman’s Village and having a marine center.

PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE CONCEPTS — Elements common to all three concepts — Minimalist, Expanded Activities and Transformative — included:

— an aquatic center with a 12,000-square-foot boat storage warehouse;

— a formal area for public concerts;

— parking to support uses;

— retaining the Boathouse;

— expanding transient boat slips;

— expanding the community building with more meeting space;

— incorporating the Windjammer Yacht Club;

— a continuous 28-foot waterfront promenade; and

— adequate public restroom facilities; and areas for picnic shelters and barbecues.

At the end of the presentations, during a question and answer period, Gurnee asked which alternative represented the audience members’ wishes for a park, what they most liked and didn’t like about the alternative they individually chose; what they liked about the other options; what their preference was for features, and what should be contained in each individuals preferred concept plan.

Audience members were asked to complete “report cards” to submit with that information for consideration by RRM Design as to the most highly rated alternative concepts.

MINIMALIST ALTERNATIVE

The Minimalist Concept would retain most of the existing

relationships in the park, with the addition of an aquatic center and boat storage near the boat launch ramp; and would:

– retain the Santa Monica Windjammers’ Yacht Club and parking area that exists today;

– expand the existing community center;

– replace picnic structures with lighter, open-air trellises;

– provide for a performance tent area at the southwest tip of the mole;

– provide additional parking and landscaping with green areas adjacent to the waterfront promenade; and

– upgrade existing plazas and connecting points.

Implications of this concept:

– The aquatic center would have no pool.

– Much of the existing landscape would be retained.

– It provides bioswales for water quality purposes.

– It provides more surface parking inside of the park than other

alternatives.

– It is likely to be the least costly of all the alternatives.

EXPANDED ACTIVITIES ALTERNATIVE

The primary theme is to provide a plan that would provide “rooms” in the park for various activities under a design concept reminiscent of Golden Gate and Central Parks:

– combining the aquatic center and the community building;

– a 12,000-square-foot boat storage building;

– two swimming pools;

– Santa Monica Windjammers’ Yacht Club moved further east;

– a Burton Chace Green;

– bioswales flowing in center of park (bioswales are landscape elements designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water);

– native and adaptive plant demonstration garden;

– creation of a third knoll;

– establishing a Great Meadow;

– placing a performance area on the north side of the Burton Chace mole (a mole is a land formation, a breakwater or jetty);

– provision of a marine-themed playground with interactive water features;

– expanded picnic areas;

– plaza “bulb” at southwest corner of the proposed mole; and

– expanded transient boat dockage.

Implications of this concept:

– It provides the largest variety of uses.

– The performance area is shielded from the wind.

– It is the only plan with a playground.

– It includes expanded picnic areas.

– It involves tree removal and replacement.

– It is dependant on an off-site parking structure.

TRANSFORMATIVE ALTERNATIVE

The primary theme is a “destination” park that would celebrate its waterfront location, providing users with commanding views of the Marina while providing for performance, yacht club and aquatic center uses. Elements include:

– a large, elevated mound with a plaza and views of the Marina;

– cascading water feature down stairs and around base of mound;

– shallow pool feature on top of the mound for model boats;

– combined aquatic center and community building with two swimming pools near the boat launch ramp;

– a 12,000-square-foot boat storage facility near boat launch ramp;

– Santa Monica Windjammers’ Yacht Club pulled further east;

– provision of grassy “waves” at the entry to the park;

– a pier ramp for ADA-accessible (Americans with Disabilities Act) top of mound;

– extensive new replanting in the center of the park;

– ample picnic facilities;

– a performance area at west end of the mole;

– significant expanded transient boat slips on west end of the mole; and

– an off-site public parking structure to east.

Implications of this concept:

– It is a design that would put the park on the map as an installation of regional appeal, aspects of which would include:

— largest capacity performance area at west end of mole;

— removal of many existing trees but would replace them with many more; and

— water feature designed to capture the spirit of water;

– It is likely the most expensive alternative.

– It has the least amount of on-site parking in park.

– It depends on construction of an off-site parking structure to east of site.

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