Santa Monica is having a lot of work done in the next few years and maybe the biggest change, other than getting rapid transit, is the arrival of the new Civic Center Parks. The city announced that work has begun on part of the Field Operations-designed parks, specifically the six-acre green space formerly known as Palisades Garden Walk (pictured). Tree relocation, including the displacement of non-native palm trees, is currently underway. A parking lot is getting torn up and "overgrown ivy and debris on the sloped site between City Hall and the I-10 Freeway have been cleared and a row of boxed trees placed at the top edge of the slope," according to a press release. "Once the site was cleared, old stone wall terraces were revealed. A native meadow seed mix ground cover with slope stabilizer will be planted in this area." The area in front of Santa Monica City Hall is also getting made over as part of the Civic Center Parks project. That proposed park, formerly known as Town Square, has been more contentious but it may finally be getting worked out.
After numerous design iterations, the City Hall park received approval from the Landmarks Commission on Tuesday, reports the Santa Monica Daily Press. (The space is historically designated, hence the Landmarks Commission approval.) It was important to the Commission to retain views of the 72 year old City Hall and create a "softer, shady space, good for meetings and civic discourse." Field Operations principal James Corner and "his representatives walked away with explicit instructions to reduce the number of trees, keep the [original] bricks, wherever they might be, minimize the tall, decorative grasses proposed for the lawn and keep the footprint of the planters in the front of the building."