Photos by Stephanie Perez.
Big plans for land surrounding Long Beach’s historic Queen Mary were finalized by a city council-appointed task force last night, including ideas for a world-class carousel, a planned 5-star hotel and amphitheater.
Community members discussed such ideas and finalized what will be a guiding document for the development last night, during a meeting held by the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force, an entity created last September to provide the Long Beach City Council with recommendations on how to revitalize 43 acres surrounding the once-seafaring vessel.
Map courtesy of the Queen Mary Task Force guiding principles document.
In addition to debating details surrounded the addition of a carousel, members discussed other elements of the guiding principal document. The document, created in consultation with Gwynne Pugh from the architectural and design firm the Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, outlines plans for an amphitheater, multiple ways to get to the area's attractions—namely, the Queen Mary Events Park, Sea Walk Village, several parking lots and vacant land—and the ability to access the site for free, except for parking fees.
When speaking specifically about transportation, task force member Ken McDonald highlighted the importance of not limiting entry vehicles "to one form" of transportation, suggesting that the task force facilitate travel by bus and water taxis, as they are also viable means of traveling to the area.
During the meeting, the task force also decided to remove specific details on a planned 5-star hotel, including the exact number of rooms or parking garages, to allow for the developer to have more design freedom.
As for the carousel, the community had a lot to say, before it was unanimously approved.
“Carousels have an iconic position,” Task Force Vice Chair Jeff Hoffman said. “It would be a spectacular piece to have as part of the development.”
While carousels can get expensive, longtime Long Beach resident Scott Ringwelski proposed using private investors for funding and local companies to design the building’s architecture, as well as art and engineering college students to help with various components.
Another member of the public recommended the use of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) students to design and manufacture the carousel, making for a true Long Beach project by using city resources.
Following the carousel's approval, the task force also reviewed and finalized the guiding principles document.
Many members of the community and task force expressed concern over the ship itself, calling for an upgrade to the vessel’s original state and bringing it back to its “historical elegance.”
The guiding principle document is expected to be presented to Long Beach City Council in late September.