Page 95

LESSONS

Once known as Library Park, this piece of Civic Center open space was renamed Memorial Park after World War I.

In 2015, another controversy about the open space of the Civic Center was in question, this time regarding the 1922 YWCA designed by Julia Morgan. It remained vacant and neglected until the city protected it by acquiring the historic property through eminent domain.

Opponents view this open space as a symbolic embodiment of democracy, and that building upon it is a breach of public trust. For its part, the City of Pasadena points to the 1924 Civic Center diagram on page 47 and the Central District Specific Plan Appendix adopted in 2004 in support of its position.

In order to recoup its costs and put the building back into use, the City issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in July 2012. The winning submission by Kimpton Hotels included a detailed restoration with additional rooms being added to a newly constructed wing.

All would seem to agree that an issue so fundamental should not be in question at the final stage of the planning process.

While there is praise for the restoration of the YWCA and acceptance for creating a new wing, there has been fierce opposition. The issue stems, in part, by a perceived error in the initial RFP, which did not define or alert the public to a shift in the boundaries of the Bennett Plan.

With these ongoing questions of what constitutes open space, the patterns of development are clear: When the public is informed and involved—as was the case in building the City Beautiful Movement’s momentum for a Civic Center— exemplary results follow. When the public is not engaged as a common stakeholder, disagreement, legal action, and delay follow. The “My City” process that helped produce this Civic Center goes far in addressing these fundamental questions.

CENTRAL LIBRARY

MEMORIAL PARK

NOW PARKING

NOW PARKING

YWCA

SR. CTR

The width of the space on the right will not be maintained on the left. KIMPTON (YWCA) HOTEL: A CURRENT OPEN SPACE DISAGREEMENT A hotel planned for the former YWCA building has faced controversy in the 2010s as it seeks approval. Proponents argue that the Bennett Plan of January 1923 was actually superseded by an heretofore unknown plan later in 1925. Opponents argue that new construction will extend into what currently comprises the Civic Center open space and that it will also crowd the two busts of the Robinson Memorial (above). CIVIC AUDITORIUM

When the Plaza Pasadena (Paseo) mall was built across the Garfield axis of the Civic Center, the parks were lost. Within 20 years of its publicly subsidized construction, the mall was demolished at public expense, and the Civic Center axis reopened in 2000. The two small parks, however, were not replaced. By 2015, the open space at Green and Los Robles was lost as well.

THE MALL AUDITORIUM

NOTE: Green has been added here to highlight open spaces. Central Park was not originally differentiated.

THE AUDITORIUM PARKS & PLAZA PASADENA MALL, 1979

AUDITORIUM

95

OVERVIEW

PROJECTS

EVENTS

PLANITORIUM

NEXT STEPS

CONCLUSIONS

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"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

"My City"  

"My City" tells the story of Pasadena’s City Beautiful Movement and the century that followed, exploring how this proven approach can be rev...

Profile for mycityis
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