Berkeley's City Hall by Bakewell and Brown was completed, the Beaux Arts design inspired in part by the Hotel de Ville in Tours, France.
The Veterans Memorial Building was built, designed in the office of County Architect Henry H. Meyers.
Parts of what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park having already been acquired by the City, a bond measure provided the funds needed to purchase the rest of the block behind the former Farm Security Administration building to create what was then called the Civic Center Plaza. Parts for the fountain were acquired from the Treasure Island Fair that closed in 1940.
The first Indigenous People's Day celebration in the United States, a reimagining of Columbus Day, took place in MLK Civic Center Park. It inspired ideas for a Turtle Island Monument to replace the fountain, which had not functioned since the 1970s.
The Berkeley Historical Society, after 15 years in temporary locations, opened its first exhibit in the Veterans Memorial Building. History on the Park featured the history of the Civic Center area, including City Hall, the police and fire departments, Berkeley High School, and veterans' organizations.
Mayor Shirley Dean called for a renovation of MLK Civic Center Park that would include elements honoring Native Americans.
Berkeley voters approved Measure S, a $49 million bond which included $4 million for landscaping and street improvements to the Downtown and Civic Center areas. $900,000 was allocated for the park.
The park was designated a City of Berkeley Landmark to preserve its historic features, including the fountain area.
The Civic Arts Commission put out a nationwide call for art proposals for the Turtle Island Monument.
The winning artist, Scott Parsons of Sioux Falls, Idaho, delivered his four bronze sculptures of loggerhead turtles (to be positioned at the four cardinal directions) and eight stone medallions by eight Native American artists.
The Berkeley City Council created the Civic Center Overlay, limiting the future use of several historic buildings, including the Maudelle Shirek Building ("Old City Hall"), the Veterans Memorial Building, and the Post Office, to community uses including government functions, nonprofit cultural organizations, libraries, museums, and a public market.
Berkeley voters approved a bond measure called "T1" to repair, renovate, replace, or reconstruct the City’s aging infrastructure and facilities, including the Maudelle Shirek Building, the Veterans Memorial Building, and Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.
Berkeley voters approved an advisory measure "advising the Mayor to engage citizens and experts in the development of Vision 2050, a 30-year plan to identify and guide implementation of climate-smart, technologically-advanced, integrated and efficient infrastructure to support a safe, vibrant and resilient future for Berkeley."
City Council entered into a contract with Gehl Studio consultants for the Civic Center Vision and Implementation Plan, funded by the Measure T1 bond and focused on the park and the two adjacent buildings.
Gehl consultants gathered information and ideas from City officials, organizations, Berkeley High students, Farmers Market shoppers, other community members, similar projects in other cities, etc. and prepared a 225-page report with recommendations and more than 600 pages of appendices.
On September 22, 2020, the City Council accepted the Civic Center Vision and Implementation Plan and Presentation developed by Gehl Studio and their partners, but held off on approving the recommended Preferred Conceptual Design Option (see page 196) due to various concerns about the Plan.
Representatives of the Downtown Berkeley Association, Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, Berkeley Historical Society, Berkeley Cultural Trust, and others began meeting to discuss what steps might be taken next and decided to create this group, Community for a Cultural Civic Center. Also that month, the Vision 2050 report was issued. Many of its recommendations are relevant to the Civic Center planning process.
On November 2, CCCC wrote to the Mayor and City Council requesting a portion of the Measure T1 Phase 2 funding be allocated to following up on the Gehl report by further study of the historic structures’ seismic and water intrusion issues and development of detailed plans for the buildings and park. On November 16, CCCC wrote to the Mayor and City Council to express serious concern about the proposed construction of new Council Chambers in Civic Center Park.
Nov 2020–March 2021
CCCC met weekly for a while, then created three exploratory subgroups, focusing respectively on the park, the "Berkeley Center"/Maudelle Shirek Building/Old City Hall, and the Veterans Building/"Arts Hub." Records of those meetings and related documents have been compiled in Google Drive.
We learned that the City was considering a major infrastructure bond measure and began advocating that the Civic Center projects be included. We decided it was not our place to be discussing specific programming options for the buildings yet. The subgroups merged back into one and agreed to meet monthly and focus on advocacy with the City and guest speakers who could lend expertise. A coordinating committee, primarily the facilitators of the subgroups, was formed that meets at least monthly.
At the June 22 general CCCC meeting, Tipping Structural Engineers provided a new concept for reducing earthquake damage risk and adding usable space to both buildings for a much lower cost than previously projected. Elmar Kapfer from Public Works reported on the water intrusion issues. ELS Architecture and Urban Design provided, pro bono, some ideas and drawings for both a small amphitheater behind 2180 Milvia that would seat about 300 and temporary stage setups for events in the park with as many as 3000 attendees. On June 29, the City Council adopted a budget for 2021-22 that includes $200,000 for further Civic Center planning and $400,000 for infrastructure bond planning.
The coordinating committee wrote another letter to the Mayor, City Council, and other officials thanking them for the above budget allocations and reminding them of the valuable information CCCC had already gathered. The coordinating committee decided a summer break was in order, but development of this website continued with assistance from Berkeley City College students. (See Latest Updates for more on developments in 2021 and beyond.)