Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Seeks Applicants to Help Save the Civic
By Lookout Staff
August 23, 2013 -- The City is seeking applicants to serve on a new nine-member advisory board tasked with coming up with ways to save Santa Monica's storied Civic Auditorium.
Applicants to the Civic Working Group (CWG) and its Technical Advisory Subcommittee must be passionate about saving the 55-year-old landmark that desperately needs an estimated minimum $50 million in renovations. The members also will be tasked with coming up with ways to revive a venue that once hosted the Academy Awards and legendary rock acts.
Applicants for the five available seats on the working group must live, work or own a business in the city; have a broad knowledge of Santa Monica, and possess professional expertise in one or more of a variety of relevant disciplines. The four other seats will be filled by representatives who serve on the City’s Arts, Landmarks, Planning, and Recreation and Parks Commissions.
Three members also will be appointed to a Technical Advisory Subcommittee, which will "convene a community process and serve in an advisory capacity to Council regarding options for the future of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium," according to City staff.
The working group’s objectives are as follows:
* To work with City staff and consultants to draft a vision for the future cultural and community use of the Civic as the hub of a cultural campus;
* To explore an appropriate mix of compatible adjacent uses, from open space to additional facilities as identified in the Urban Land Institute report;
* To evaluate potential financing options and programming and operating models for the Civic;
* To convene a community process to gather input and to build consensus regarding the future of the Civic, and
* To provide the Council with recommendations regarding the vision, feasible renovation options and the preferred long-term operating model for the Civic.
The City had initially planned to use money from its redevelopment agency (RDA), but those plans were dashed at the beginning of 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown axed the approximately 400 such agencies around California to help balance the budget. (“Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Will Close in June, As Planned,” October 26, 2012)
As a result, the working group will try to find ways to develop the area surrounding the Civic Auditorium into a cultural campus with an appropriate mix of adjacent uses that could range from open space to small hotels. The group also will have to consider how to finance the Auditorium's revitalization and to fund its ongoing operation, since experts have said it will likely not be able to support itself. (“To Preserve Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Revise Specific Plan, Says Expert Panel," May 13)
The working group and the subcommittee, officials said, would be the core of the community process the City is preparing to undertake in order to return the Auditorium -- which hosted legendary concerts by the Rolling Stones, James Brown, the Beach Boys and David Bowie -- to its former glory.
While staff will look over the applicants and make recommendations, the City Council will ultimately choose who will be on the group.
California law "imposes various restrictions that will or may apply to individuals serving on the CWG or its Subcommittee," staff said. For example, state law "requires public officials to disclose financial interests" and "prohibits officials from participating in or influencing any official decisions in which they have financial interests."
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