`BY HELGA GENDELL

The first of three public workshop design “charrettes” offered residents a chance to suggest ideas for reconfiguring Burton Chace Park, at the water end of Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey.

A proposal to expand Burton Chace Park would provide nearly double the land area and four times the water area.

A design charrette is defined as a final intensive effort to finish a project, especially an architectural design project before a deadline, but it has also come to mean a collaborative design process. In this case, it is used to begin a design planning process with input from the public in a series of meetings.

Existing park acreage is 7.19 acres of land and 1.61 acres of water, with a small portion of Basin H at the edge of the park containing 0.57 acres of water.

Additional acreage proposed to be added to the park from three adjacent parcels would be 6.63 acres of land and 6.77 acres of water, which would give the park a total of 13.82 acres of land and 8.95 acres of water.

This first design charrette — held Wednesday, November 15th, at Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey — was chaired by T. Keith Gurnee of RRM Design Group, an urban planning consultant to Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, and Stan Wisniewski, director of the department.

The suggestions that seemed to be of greatest importance to attendees were: an aquatic center, followed by a small boat harbor, dry storage, a hoist for boats, a boat launch ramp, easier access for vehicles dropping off equipment for boats, more transient docks, water-related youth activities, a marine exhibit, a water taxi dock, subterranean parking, more concerts, larger community rooms and continuing the boat show.

Gurnee described the workshops as an “open slate” for residents to express their opinions as to how they would like Burton Chace Park to be redesigned and what new uses they would like to see.

The workshop process began with nine categories for proposed ideas for the park expansion.

The information garnered from this workshop will be included in the next public workshop, with those results also included in the final public workshop.

The categories included:

— events and activities;

— access, circulation and parking;

— landscape elements;

— community center;

— water uses;

— park uses;

— aquatic center;

— infrastructure; and

— other uses and ideas.

After listing ten to 12 ideas per category, the attendees were then asked to rate the scale of importance by placing colored dots next to suggestions.

Gurnee then asked attendees to work with large maps at each table, identifying the most popular suggestions and placing a symbol on the maps representing those ideas.

This information will be incorporated into the process for the next public workshops.

The format for the design charrette seemed to work well to elicit creative ideas from the meeting participants, although Wisniewski expressed disappointment that less than 40 residents showed up to participate in the process to essentially help design their own park.

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