Issuu on Google+

Signal T R I B Reinventing City Hall VOl. 34 NO. 37 U N E “The Messengers” mixed media on paper by Annie Stromquist See page 13 for more information and works by this artist. February 15, 2013 SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL Your Weekly Community Newspaper Concerns over earthquake readiness spawn talk of major overhaul for LB Civic Center Rising costs, state regulations for oil-well cleanups impede development in Signal Hill, other cities CJ Dablo Staff Writer The Long Beach City Council has taken a small but significant step towards overhauling the Long Beach Civic Center. At the Feb. 12 meeting, the City Council voted 7-2 (Councilmembers James Johnson and Al Austin dissenting) to move forward with a staff recommendation that extends an invitation to the development community to overhaul the city’s civic center. City Hall is approximately 36 years old, and a 2006 seismic study that analyzed how the building would fare under a moderate earthquake revealed major problems. The 15-story city hall building has four wings on each corner that house the elevators, stairwells and restrooms, and Director of Public Works Michael Conway reported that while the core of that city hall building is “structurally sound,” there are still major safety issues. He said that the four wings have “weak connections,” that there are deformed columns, and that the wings’ concrete panels create excessive weight. Conway concluded that these problems, among others, would hamper those trying to exit the building in the event of a major earthquake. The seismic study determined that it would cost about $119 million to retrofit the building, including the soft costs to relocate City Hall employees and services while the building is undergoing construction. Since that study is now several years old, those costs have been estimated to be closer to $170 million. Assistant City Manager Suzanne Frick stressed the Sean Belk/ Signal Tribune An abandoned oil pump located on vacant land between Willow and Spring streets is an example of many properties that could become future development. However, a combination of rising costs, changes to state regulations and the loss of redevelopment to properly abandon oil wells continues to hinder development in the city. Sean Belk Staff Writer For years, Signal Hill city officials have suggested that four city blocks of land along Spring Street between Atlantic and California avenues is prime real estate for a hotel or other commercial uses. The acreage owned by the State after being transferred from the now defunct Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency (RDA), however, remains undeveloped. CJ Dablo/Signal Tribune View of Long Beach’s City Hall building. A report from the public works department found that one 2006 study determined that City Hall needs “substantial seismic remediation.” urgency of moving forward with a plan. “So Mayor, Members of the Council, we need to do something about this,” Frick said Tuesday. “We can’t just let this building go unattended. We have to be making some decisions about how to deal with the seismic issues.” Frick explained to the Council that the recommended RFQ (Request for Qualifications) will primarily see if the development Bixby Knolls Car Wash & Detail Center Full service wash • Fast exterior wash 6 self-serve wash bays with air dryers (3) We have the most polite and friendliest employees, & best of all... THE BEST CUSTOMERS IN THE WORLD! Shell & Sheldon Grossman Owners for 35+ years 577 E. Wardlow Rd. @ Atlantic • 562-595-6666 community is at all interested in partnering with the City to provide a new Civic Center facility. She acknowledged that developers could propose to simply rehabilitate the current facilities. Before he voted against the action to move forward with the RFQ, Councilmember Johnson asked if the Council could explore the possibility of adding a structure to the Changes to state regulations and rising costs associated with cleaning up old, abandoned oil wells, a procedure known as oilwell re-abandonment, continues to be a major deterrent for economic growth in Signal Hill and other cities in the region, leaving the once revenue-producing properties to remain barren wastelands, according to city officials and oil-industry experts. Vacant land between Willow and Spring Noll opposes locating electronic message board at SH Park; commission asks for further study Nick Diamantides Staff Writer At a community workshop conducted during its Wednesday evening meeting, the Signal Hill Parks and Recreation Commission inched the City closer to installing a monument sign with an electronic message center, but the location of the device may not be close to the corner of Hill Street and Cherry Avenue as was originally planned. The workshop’s purpose was to give residents and business people the opportunity to voice their opinions about the sign. Toward the end of the discussion, even Vice Mayor Mike Noll told the commissioners that, in his opinion, installing the sign there was “unacceptable.” After about two hours of staff reports and see OIL WELLS page 18 comments from residents, the commission voted unanimously to direct staff to further study certain aspects of the billboard, taking into account the concerns expressed at the meeting. A second community workshop, which will include an updated staff report, will probably take place at the commission’s April meeting. During the Wednesday meeting, which took place at the Signal Hill Park Community Center, nobody opposed the City’s plan to invest about $49,000 to install the high-tech monument. The only bone of contention was the proposed location near northeast corner of Signal Hill Park. At the opening of the workshop, Pilar 15 through February 19, 2013 Weekly Weather Forecast February PRESIDENTS’ DAY see COURTHOUSE page 19 Friday 80° Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday 79° 68° 63° 60° This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: Sunny, very warm Partly sunny and warm Mostly sunny and not as warm Low clouds, then sun Showers possible Lo 49° Lo 50° Lo 49° Lo 48° Lo 47° see SIGN page 16 WEEKEND SALE See page 23

Feb. 15 issue

Related publications