February 27, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Pico Neighborhood Ready For New Library:

The Pico Neighborhood may again be on track to have its very own library, but it may only come to fruition if the City of Santa Monica pays a hefty “ransom” to Sacramento.

About 20 years in the making, the Pico Branch Library could start construction in mid-2012. If all goes well, it could open in 2013 as the Santa Monica Public Library’s (SMPL) fifth branch, which would be located adjacent to the Thelma Terry Community Center at Virginia Avenue Park.

Council members approved a single-story design plan submitted by Koning Eizenberg Architects on Feb. 22, but its future has been fairly uncertain up until this month.

Up until Aug. 9, a major obstacle to the new Pico Branch Library was the potential lack of funding.

There was $11.4 million allocated in Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funds for the new library, but Gov. Jerry Brown had threatened to cut state RDA funds to local municipalities in order to stabilize California’s budget. However, on Aug. 9 the RDA funds were preserved, but with some conditions.

While Brown signed one bill into law eliminating all RDAs in the state, he also moved forward a second piece of legislation that allows municipalities to maintain their RDAs “if they agree to make huge ransom payments to the state,” said Andy Agle, Santa Monica’s director of Housing and Economic Development.

Last week, Santa Monica’s council decided to make those payments. The City’s first installed “ransom” payment to the state would be $27 million; another $6.4 million would be paid annually afterward.

Tom Afschar, the library’s project manager, estimated construction would take about 19 months. He said the only formality left was to complete the design development phase

Originally, about $12.8 million in RDA funds was allocated to the library. The funding also included plans to increase parking at Virginia Avenue Park. However, it was ultimately decided that no new parking would be required and the funding allocation was adjusted accordingly to $11.4 million.

Originally part of the neighborhood’s 1983 community plan, the Pico Branch Library will be a welcome addition by some of the area’s residents, including Crystal Anderson, who commended council members for pushing forward the project during the Feb. 22 meeting.

“We are happy that finally Pico Neighborhood gets a library,” Anderson said. “It’s been several decades of asking for it. All of the other neighborhoods already have a library. If this project gets stopped, it’s again the Pico Neighborhood who loses out.”

At the Feb. 22 council meeting, Council member Kevin McKeown acknowledged the patience of residents who live in the Pico neighborhood who have wanted their own library.

“Our Pico neighborhood has waited its turn,” McKeown said. “It’s exciting to be here on the council in the moment in history when we finally get to move this forward. (The library is) meant to also attract neighborhood youth to mix education with their recreation by having a library right there in the park. It’s going to be a new and key resource in our lifelong learning community.”

However, some area residents believe taxpayers were the real losers.

“We’re opening a library that is completely useless. It’s essentially a stripped-down version of a library,” said Robert Kronovet, the chairman of Pico Improvement Organization, who spoke out as an individual, adding the library would not revitalize the Pico Neighborhood. “We’re destroying the (Saturday) farmer’s market,” he said. “We’re shoving a library into a municipal property. It’s a lousy use of taxpayer money.”

Still, that municipal property, which has a community center named after a local activist, is on the verge of having a 7,500 square foot structure serving as a local library that the Public Works Department said was “a convenient location for educational and cultural programming.”

As it stands now, the closest libraries for Pico residents are the Ocean Park or Fairview branches.

As part of the new library’s design and construction, certain aspects of Virginia Avenue Park’s surrounding area would be preserved, including green park space, recreational programs, and a farmer’s market. Additionally, the new library branch includes plans for a detached community room and a new seating area in the park. Council must first approve design schematics before construction can commence.

in News
Related Posts

Santa Monica College Unveils 2024 Spring Jazz Series Lineup

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

Tickets for each concert are priced at $10 and can be purchased in advance The Santa Monica College Music Department...

Downtown Wellness Center Bridges Gap Between Psychedelics and Meditation

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

The Center Has Partnered With Local Agencies and Gave Free Sessions to Around 500 Veterans in Two Years By Zach...

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Calls Special Board of Education Meeting

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

SMMUSD Gathers to Address Time-Sensitive Resolutions In a press release sent on Saturday, February 24, The Santa Monica-Malibu School District...

 39th Independent Spirit Awards Celebrates Independent Cinema in Santa Monica

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

Santa Monica Pier Hosts Annual Awards Ceremony Amid Pro-Palestinian Protest The 39th Independent Spirit Awards ceremony, another precursor to the...

U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Consider Landlords’ Challenge to Rent-Control Laws

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

New York Landlords’ Bid to Challenge Rent-Control Laws Fails The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a significant property rights...

Ocean Park Triplex Hits Market Again After 36 Years at $1.6M

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

The property presents an enticing opportunity for owner-users or developers For the first time in over 36 years, this triplex,...

Cher Drops Price of Her Seven-Bedroom Malibu Mansion by $10M

February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024

The legendary singer bought the parcel for $2.95 million over 30 years ago By Zach Armstrong Music icon Cher has...

(Video) Baltaire’s DJ Brunch is Ready to Make Your Weekend Fabulous

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Baltaire is America’s Favorite Neighborhood Steakhouse. A Contemporary Restaurant in Brentwood With Classic Genes, Baltaire Is Where to Enjoy Brunch...

During Lean Times for the City, Certain Staff Members Slated to Get Hefty Raises

February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024

Proposed Equity Adjustments Raise Questions Amid Budgetary Concerns The next Santa Monica City Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday,...

Blue Bus Seeks Input on How to Improve Service

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Through Brighter Blue, Big Blue Bus Aims to Develop a Strategic Plan for Implementing System Enhancements Over Five Years Santa...

Amid Delays, House of Pies Sets New Opening Date for Venice Spot

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

For About a Year, the Development’s Construction Has Seemingly Been Inactive By Zach Armstrong House of Pies, a popular L.A....

(Video) Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2024 at Father’s Office in Culver City

February 22, 2024

February 22, 2024

Russian River’s Pliny the Younger 2024  at Father’s Office in Culver City. The ticket got you two pours of the...

Culinary Bliss Awaits: Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Debuts in Santa Monica

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Santa Monica Pier Welcomes the Inaugural Los Angeles Wine & Food Festival Santa Monica is set to become the birthplace...

Indulge Your Cookie Cravings and Support Local Scouts: Girl Scout Cookie® Sales Now Open

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

Multiple Ways to Purchase Iconic Cookies and Make a Difference You can satisfy your Girl Scout Cookie® cravings this season...

Popular Coffee & Tea Franchise Opens Another Santa Monica Spot

February 21, 2024

February 21, 2024

The News Comes Four Months After the Announcement of Its Third Santa Monica Outpost By Zach Armstrong Coffee Bean &...