Paseo moves closer to reality

CITY HALL — The City Council last week pushed forward with plans for a pedestrian walkway that will link a number of the city's downtown civic buildings to Brand Boulevard across from the Americana at Brand.

Council members approved design work done to date and instructed staffers to continue the work.

The paseo — which has been a concept for nearly a decade — will create a pedestrian connector between the new Adult Recreation Center, Central Park, a revamped Central Library and Brand Boulevard. The project will also include the reconfiguration of the alley and parking lot between Central Park and the east side of Brand Boulevard.

City officials have said the roughly $2-million project, to be financed with a $29-million redevelopment bond approved by the City Council last year, will help fulfill a longtime goal of connecting the downtown area's civic and retail centers.

The paseo’s design — which includes a hardwood planked portion, a water feature, and large palm trees — is closely coordinated with plans for the future home of the Museum of Neon Art, which would be located adjacent to the proposed walkway.

When Councilman John Drayman first approached city officials about bringing the museum to the city, its future home was one of two buildings slated to be demolished to make way for the proposed paseo. To accommodate the museum, officials narrowed the planned walkway from 100 feet to 50 feet wide to allow the former Rite Aid building to remain.

Last week, Drayman said the museum would help draw people to the walkway.

“What were we going to have prior to that? We were going to have a 100-foot wide opening between Brand Boulevard and the park,” he said. “We need to activate that passageway, and this is the way to do it.”

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