The City of Santa Monica and the Civic Working Group hosted the second in a series of community workshops to reimagine the future of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (Civic) over Superbowl weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday around 120 people participated in the sessions and were the first to utilize an online tool that enabled them to match their vision and aspirations for the site with available land and funding options.
Karen Ginsberg, the City’s Director of Community and Cultural Services, said the tool offers the public a remarkable opportunity to wrestle with the same challenges and trade-offs as City decision-makers.
“It is an entirely new way of engaging the public in a more meaningful and realistic way,” Ginsberg said.
Feedback from participants over the two day workshop was overwhelmingly positive in regard to the use of this new planning and budgeting tool, according to the City.
Participants, online and in person, are able to try different approaches to land use and choose financing options that balance both capital and operating budgets; exploring the land use and financial tradeoffs associated with funding new cultural and open space uses on the Civic site.
“The Civic Working Group brought together a complex set of issues and data together in this tool, which is tailored to the Civic’s unique features and circumstances,” said Chair Nina Fresco.
The tool tracks land use choices across four indicators: the amount of land used, parking required, capital contribution and construction cost, and operating revenue and expense.
During the workshop sessions the results were analyzed in real-time, and at the end of the workshop, it was possible to share the input gathered that day.
The online tool allows those who were not able to attend the workshops over the weekend an opportunity to weigh-in with their choices for the Civic.
This will help the Civic Working Group collect perspectives from a larger group of people.
The budgeting tool is available on the City’s project website at http://www.smgov.net/departments/ccs/civicauditorium/MetroQuest.aspx, where there is more information about the overall planning process, as well as a presentation and video from the workshop.
The platform will be collecting data for the next two weeks, the results of which will ultimately inform the Civic Working Group’s recommendations to the City Council.
The Civic is a 58-year old historic landmark with a storied past including hosting the Academy Awards and large concerts featuring acts like Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones.
In June 2013, the Civic was forced to close due to the loss of redevelopment funds needed to rehabilitate the facility.
In October 2013, City Council appointed a Civic Working Group to lead the community planning process and advise the Council on options for the site.