By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
At the February 14 Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, John Padden, president of Palisades PRIDE, shared about a long-term plan that the organization has been working on with community members and representatives to revitalize Sunset Boulevard and the Palisades Business District.
“The sidewalks are buckled, it’s not very pretty, the sidewalks are dirty, there’s no streetscape, there’s no benches,” Padden said of Sunset Boulevard.
The idea of formulating a revitalization plan has been in the works by PRIDE since as early as 2015.
“So the concept was at that point to have Caruso work with the community through PRIDE to hire a professional urban planner to devise a plan, not only for Sunset but for a larger business district of the Palisades,” Padden explained, adding that they wanted to be as inclusive as possible.
A committee of 10 to 12 members, which includes representatives of the community council, Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce, BID, Village Green and “a couple of individuals who have been very vocal within the community” was created to formulate a plan.
Over the course of the last year-and-a-half, the committee has met five to six times.
“We have worked out a plan, which is almost 100 percent done,” Padden shared. “I would say we’re close with 10 phases of development.”
Though full details of the plan have not yet been revealed, Padden estimated completion could take up to 10 or 20 years, and gave a preliminary cost of $20 million.
“We couldn’t by any means do it all at once, so it may take a long time,” Padden added.
The committee has met with the offices of Councilmember Mike Bonin and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who said there is very little opportunity for fundraising from the city for the project.
“I think the idea would be that we would have to go to the businesses and the individuals in town that have the ability to give dollars to this and take it from there,” Padden said.
Padden explained that though he is the committee chair, any decisions would be made by representatives of the community.
“The folks that are representing the groups that I mentioned are all making the decisions,” Padden said. “And again, we will obviously take input, but at this point we have a general plan of what we’re thinking about doing.”
Padden acknowledged that the plan will change after it is rolled out to the community.
Lou Kamer, former PPCC at-large representative, expressed concerns about the community not being informed about the details of the plan.
“If we had invited the entire community, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere,” Padden explained, adding that since nothing is finalized, input will be welcomed after the plan is revealed to the community.
PPCC Secretary Chris Spitz added that when the plan is ready, Padden would present it at various venues in the Palisades, including in front of the community council.
“This group has really come together,” Spitz shared. “There’s quite a lot of harmony on this group … I think it’s going to be a great thing to present to the community at large for the community’s input. The intent is not to be secretive, it’s the total opposite of that.”
PRIDE was established in March 1992 “to continue to improve and enhance the visual appeal and aesthetics of Pacific Palisades,” the PRIDE website explains. Previous projects include the Sunset Boulevard bricks and the Marquez triangle.