Nothing says civic pride like a city’s parks and makes that claim in a dramatic way. Beverly Gardens spans Beverly Hills for nearly two miles along Santa Monica Boulevard and is seen every day by thousands of people who pass through the City.
The long, narrow park is home to a replica of the historic, arched Beverly Hills sign, which has become a popular photo backdrop for visitors. At each end is a fountain: the iconic Electric Fountain at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and a smaller, but equally beautiful Doheny Fountain at the border of West Hollywood. In between are cactus and rose gardens, some amazing trees, and a growing collection of world class sculptures.
Yet for years, the park has been in need of a complete renovation—a task put aside in favor of more urgent projects. We now have an extraordinary offer from one of the City’s residents: to restore Beverly Gardens Park though a private fundraising effort.
This offer came from Steven Gordon, a well known philanthropist who grew up in Beverly Hills, who has a vision of a pristine park in keeping with the Beverly Hills brand. He sees a welcoming landmark for residents and the many visitors we hope to attract for the 100th Anniversary celebration in 2014. He has paid for the initial architecture and design himself, and hopes to raise money for the full restoration. In a true partnership, the City would retain full approval authority over the design and scope of the project.
Rather than redesign the park, Mr. Gordon’s proposal is to restore its original splendor and consider enhancements faithful to the site’s historic status. The fundraising effort will also incorporate a maintenance fund and may include the fenced-off parcels of vacant land along Civic Center Drive.
The proposed renovation would be integrated with projects that are currently in development: Santa Monica Boulevard roadway reconstruction, the various gateway projects and irrigation upgrades, which are made possible through Los Angeles County Proposition A maintenance grants.
I continue to be impressed by the philanthropic spirit of Beverly Hills residents. Through the vision and leadership of Mr. Gordon and others like him, we now have a and next year will open the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Beverly Gardens Park is yet another example of the creativity and generosity of our citizens and the rewards of a public-private partnership.
For more information on the fundraising efforts, call the Community Services Department at 310-285-2536.
You can watch the City Council discussion about this project at two previous meetings:
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