New Ocean Front Walk Restrooms, Bond Study Approved

Monday, 2 Sep 2013, 9:03:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

Almost $740,000 in funding was approved by Santa Monica’s council members Tuesday night to build new restrooms and to conduct a voter survey on a potential ballot measure.

G2K Construction, Inc., will receive $711,700 to upgrade public restroom facilities as part of the 2400 Ocean Front Walk (OFW) Beach Restroom Replacement Project, while $27,800 of City funds is allocated to the firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates so they could conduct a voter survey for a potential ballot measure for the 2014 election.

According to City staff, the OFW Beach Restroom Replacement Project would update current public restroom at 2400 Ocean Front Walk and bring them into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“The project would remove the existing non-compliant facility, and provide new, fully compliant restroom facilities and associated amenities,” City staff stated.

G2K Construction outbid five other contractors for the project, which has submitted bids ranging from $698,000 to $930,000; the company previously worked on Beverly Hills’ Hamel Park Project, Long Beach’s Orizaba Park Project, and Pasadena Unified School District’s Hamilton Elementary Project.

City staff stated construction would begin in October and continue for 199 working days. If construction completes without delay, the public restrooms would open prior to the Memorial Day holiday in September 2014.

Meanwhile, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz, and Associates – also known as FM3 – will be conducting a voter survey of potential ballot measures on funding for capital projects and affordable housing.

While it is unclear whether the potential ballot measures on capital project or affordable housing funding have already been developed, City Hall might be bringing both issues to voters in 2014 in hopes for filling a monetary void left by state lawmakers when they dissolved redevelopment in 2012.

“With the dissolution of redevelopment, the City has lost its primary source for capital project and affordable housing funding,” City staff stated. “Redevelopment funds were previously used to provide pay as you go funding or to cover the debt service of tax allocation bonds for the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and construction of priority community facilities.”

Though City Hall has managed to “accommodate [a few] high impact projects that could no longer be funded with redevelopment funds,” other programs, such as affordable housing, fire station construction and upgrades, and work on the City’s safety communications equipment and Corporation Yards were all left unfunded.

“It will be necessary for the City to seek new financing and funding sources for these projects,” City staff stated.

Accordingly, Santa Monica voters could see one or more ballot measures next year, potentially proposing a way to raise the requisite amount of funding to execute various civic projects.

The projects City Hall was able to execute despite the loss of redevelopment funding were the Pico Branch Library, the Early Childhood Education Center, and the Colorado Esplanade.

FM3 previously worked with City Hall in public opinion research polling. The firm had already earned $123,185 in separate contracts in the past five years, gaining insight of local public opinion on the modernization of the Utility Users Tax in 2008 and the viability of Measures Y and YY in 2010. The firm also conducted a pair of biannual resident satisfaction surveys in 2011 and 2013.

Both items were on the council’s Consent Calendar and approved unanimously.

Council member Tony Vazquez was not present at the Aug. 27 meeting.

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