L.A. Now

West Hollywood approves $86-million park renovation

West Hollywood Park renovation to include 'grand staircase' and rooftop swimming pools

Rooftop swimming pools, a $3-million “grand staircase” and multiple children’s play areas are features of an ambitious remodel of West Hollywood Park approved last week by city officials.

But what about the dogs?

That’s what members of the West Hollywood City Council and numerous residents have been asking in this city known for its animal-friendly laws, where pets are formally recognized as “companions” and their owners as “guardians.” The plans for a multimillion-dollar park makeover, so far, do not include a dog park but do include three children’s play areas.

“The sort of institutional fetishization of kids is surprising because – we love our children here – but … I’m just really aware that this is an adult city,” Mayor John D’Amico said at a City Council meeting last week while asking project designers to study adding an area for dogs in the park.

There are only a few hundred children who live in the city and thousands of dogs, D’Amico said to cheers from the audience.

The council last week approved a budget of $85.8 million for redevelopment of the park between San Vicente and Robertson boulevards. A final design will be voted upon at a later date, and council members asked the designers to come up with such options as a dog park.

West Hollywood resident Manny Rodriguez told the council that it was a surprise to him that “after all this time a dog park just hasn’t even been considered” in a city that bans the sale of fur garments, cat declawing and the retail sale of cats and dogs.

“We’re a city that’s really a fantastic advocate for animals,” he said. “So the next logical thing to do, I think, is to have a dog park in this beautiful new park.”

The project -- which is being designed by architecture firms LPA Inc. and Rios Clementi Hale Studios -- includes plans for a new recreation center with two swimming pools (a lap pool and a recreational pool) on the roof. That new building will be next to a five-story parking structure that has three rooftop tennis courts.

Plans call for new adult fitness equipment to be added to West Hollywood Park, as well as a free-standing bathroom with two toilets, according to city documents.

A $3-million staircase will lead from the park’s ground level to a landscaped rooftop “respite deck” and an entrance to the new recreation center. City officials and designers say that putting amenities on the roof frees up the room to create open park space in the dense, 1.9-square mile city.

The project will include demolition of the park’s existing auditorium, pool facilities and other structures to create more open space. The structures set for demolition will not be torn down until the new facilities are built and operational, said Lisa Belsanti, a spokeswoman for the city.

Construction is expected to begin in June 2015 and to be completed by January 2018, according to city documents.

The new upgrades are the second phase of a major renovation of West Hollywood Park. The first phase included the building of a three-story library that opened in 2011, and the parking structure and tennis courts, as well as the creation of more green space.

The park will also include a new National AIDS Monument to recognize the lives lost to AIDS. The design for the monument, which is to be built and funded by a private nonprofit, has not yet been created, but it is expected to be near the entrance to the West Hollywood Library, according to city officials.

Twitter: @haileybranson

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times