City Fabrick Executive Director and Post Contributor Brian Ulaszewski talks adaptive re-use. You can also find this video and more like it through our active print edition.

Long Beach City Council Tuesday approved a motion to explore the idea of adaptively reusing the Shoemaker Bridge, which is the I-710 connecter into Downtown Long Beach.

Citing concerns of structural issues on the current bridge, a new I-710 connecter must be built in the coming years. But instead of tearing down the old Shoemaker Bridge, Vice Mayor Robert Garcia urged City Staff to explore the feasibility of turning Shoemaker Bridge into an elevated public park.

Pointing to examples like High Line Park in New York City–which sits on an abandoned above-ground railroad line–Garcia extolled the virtues of adaptive re-use, a sentiment echoed by several residents during public comment.

{loadposition latestnews}While City Council asked City Staff for a feasibility report in 90 days, City Manager Patrick West said that would not be a sufficient timeline for a full study. Instead, he said that they would include these options and ideas about adaptive reuse as part of the $5.5 million design funding for the replacement of the Shoemaker Bridge, which was also approved Tuesday.


5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske expressed one reservation about the project: whether or not maintaining both a new bridge and the old bridge structure would affect the Los Angeles River’s ability to continue to provide enough flood control at its crucial southern end. City Manager Pat West assured her that the Army Corps of Engineers–who is responsible for maintaining the L.A. River channel–would be consulted as part of the feasibility report.

If converted into a park, Shoemaker Bridge would expand Caesar Chavez Park and even connect to Drake Park to the north.

However, the footprint of the new Shoemaker Bridge is entirely dependent on that Environmental Impact Report that is anticipated to be released in 2014. And while City Council has set aside $5.5 million for design funding, there is no approval for any construction. Construction costs are estimated to be $90 million.

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