Lecture Series Addresses Future of Civic Center

It is a simple albeit important question: What are the possibilities for our Civic Center?

This question will be addressed at a special lecture to be held Monday, September 10 as part of The Future of Long Beach discussion series presented by the Long Beach/South Bay chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Long Beach Heritage (LBH).

The series was created to have experts address current and pressing issues that pertain to architecture and urban design within Long Beach, particularly the Civic Center and eventually the Pine/Ocean intersection—where the Ocean Center Building lies—of which half is neglected.

The Civic Center has specifically gained attention since LBH, a nonprofit group which advocates for the knowledge and preservation of what it considers to be historical and architectural resources, placed the Civic Center on its Endangered Properties Watch List.

According to the LBH, the Civic Center is “threatened with replacement in the near future.” Given the alteration of the entire area surrounding the Civic Center, with the mid-century modern courthouse currently at Ocean Blvd. and Magnolia Ave. moving north two blocks to Broadway and an abandonment of the rooftop garden which once sat atop the Main Public Library, LBH and the AIA want citizens be involved in discussions about what the future holds for the Civic Center.

To address the possibilities of the Civic Center’s future will be 2nd District Councilmember Dr. Suja Lowenthal offering the introduction and a panel featuring Maureen Neely, librarian and historian; Alan Pullman, Senior Principal, Studio One Eleven; Don Gibbs, architect of the current Civic Center; and Ken O’Dell, partner at MHP Structural Engineers. The panel will be moderated by Rick D’Amato, principal at LPA, Inc.

While Lowenthal will be the only City representative to discuss the Civic Center—Verbryck cited the City’s discomfort with speaking at an event whose main issue has not been formally discussed by the City Council—the Pine/Ocean lectures will feature Jill Griffiths from the Planning Department. She will address issues regarding adaptive re-use incentives for the Ocean Center Building, the Jergins Trust site and tunnel, as well as the intricacies and technicalities of the Downtown Plan.

The Civic Center discussion will occur this upcoming Monday, September 10, at 7PM at the Ocean Theatre in the Aquarium of the Pacific. The Pine/Ocean discussion will take place on Wednesday, October 24, at 7PM at the Ocean Theatre. Tickets, set at $5 each, are currently available by visiting www.aialb-sb.org/events.

NOTE: The article originally reported that Alex Kitnick, art historian, would be speaking; his schedule has not permitted him to do so.

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