Future uses for the present Livermore City Council Chambers were discussed at the July 8 city council meeting. Within the next few months, the new City Council Chambers, at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and S. L Street, will be completed, leaving vacant the old chambers, 3575 Pacific Avenue, with the building itself slated to be demolished.
Councilmembers agreed unanimously that a study of future utilizations for the site should be brought back for discussion. Ideas include police department uses, and possible benefits for the arts, sciences and other groups.
Livermore Principal Planner Scott Lee told the council that the police department has requested the space for an indoor training facility, and storage of vehicles, equipment, and police property and evidence. Several local nonprofit groups have also asked to use the facility for storage and a meeting place.
Councilmember Bob Coomber and Vice Mayor Bob Carling wanted verification that the present building was not going to be used. Lee answered that was correct. City Manager Marc Roberts noted that significant resources would be necessary for the present building to remain in service. Mayor John Marchand reminded the council that the current building was “on the verge of collapse.”
Councilmember Bob Woerner remarked that, concerning future uses of the site, a study should figure out what makes sense. He wanted to be sure that the plan would take into account what some of the nonprofits have asked for at the site.
During the Citizens Forum, Greg Scott suggested using the current building for the homeless.
Lisa Tromovitch, producing artistic director of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival, said she hoped part of the site would be considered for arts and science groups in the city.
Nancy Bankhead agreed, stating that she wanted to have space available for the working part of the arts, as the arts do a lot for downtown businesses and the people of Livermore.
Alan Burnham noted that the science center in the downtown plan will have little space for fabrication and storage.
Jim Schmidt, president of the Livermore Valley Opera, said that his group has been looking for a place to build sets, and named nine other cultural groups that also needed space.
Karl Wente stated that public safety should be of the highest and utmost importance. “The primary need was identified for police department facilities, but also to make the plan as comprehensive as possible for other uses,” he said.
Councilmember Carling suggested a study for the area including the homeless, the arts and the police department.
Councilmember Trish Munro said she wanted to see a few plans offered for a range of uses.
Coomber agreed that other groups should be considered along with the police department.
Woerner concurred, with the full understanding and proviso that a plan will come back later after staff considers other requests.
Livermore Community Development Director Paul Spence said that a space-assessment study would be initiated, with presentation to the council at a later date.