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Laguna council to get update on Village Entrance project, determine fate of historic sewer digester building

Historic sewer digester building
The fate of this historic sewer digester building in Laguna Beach is linked with the city’s overall Village Entrance beautification project. City Council members will discuss what to do with the building during their meeting Tuesday.
(File Photo)

With work on the first phase of the Village Entrance project finished, the Laguna Beach City Council will now decide the fate of a sewer digester building caught in the crosshairs of the wider beautification effort and provide additional direction regarding landscaping, construction and public art.

Regarding the sewer digester building, council members will decide Tuesday whether to refurbish it, restore it or demolish it to make room for additional parking.

The facility is included on Laguna Beach’s historic register as a K-rated structure — meaning it has retained its original integrity and demonstrates a particular architectural style or time period.

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Depending on which way the council goes, the estimated cost to the city would range from $100,723 to $1.8 million.

In other Village Entrance-related matters, council members also will consider a proposed overall parking plan and receive updates on the public art component of the project.

Other topics of discussion will include whether to remove trees that are damaging part of the Laguna Canyon Flood Channel wall in Lot 12 and replace them with new landscaping and fencing, according to a city staff report. The city also is looking at additional improvements to the area between the parking lot and City Hall.

The first phase of the Village Entrance project saw the renovation of two parking lots — Lot 10 on Laguna Canyon Road and Lot 11 on the corner of Broadway Street and Forest Avenue — as well as construction of two vehicle bridges, one pedestrian bridge, landscaping, trails, decorative channel fencing, parking and pedestrian lighting.

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Construction resumed earlier this month after a brief summer break.

The current project phase entails reconstructing the city’s employee parking lot, improvements to Lot 12, and installing new debris walls, a retaining wall, additional landscaping and decorative channel fencing.

Construction for this phase is expected to be complete by June 2020.

Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 5 p.m. in City Hall, 505 Forest Ave.

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