While CCCC members support the Civic Center Vision (above) adopted by the City Council, we organized due to our concern that more community input, research, and expertise would be needed regarding short-term preservation of the buildings from further damage, seismic retrofit options, and potential program activities for the buildings and the park.
Ideas—already included in the Gehl recommendations, based on community input, but not cast in stone—include:
- In the Maudelle Shirek Building, an interactive museum of Berkeley history and culture (based on the existing Berkeley Historical Society) and Berkeley Community Media*, with flexible meeting spaces, exhibit space, potential office rentals and a café. The City Council could conceivably return to meeting in the original Council Chambers in the building, and the Romare Bearden mural (see below) could go back in place there.
- In the Veterans Memorial Building, an "arts hub" or Center for the Arts with classroom, studio, gallery and performance spaces, making better use of the existing auditorium and offering arts classes for people of all ages.
- Additional, improved performance infrastructure in the park—for large and smaller events
- Other improvements to make the park a more inviting, family-friendly space.**
- Support for critical greening efforts to address the impacts of climate change in the downtown area
- All designed with accessibility for all of Berkeley's people and visitors to the city
* Berkeley Community Media does not seem to be mentioned in the Gehl report, but it already occupies the building and provides valuable services to the City government and the community, especially including teens and young adults.
** The former fountain is already slated to be replaced by the Turtle Island Monument along the lines shown above.
The CCCC group is open to any and all interested individuals, particularly those who live or work in Berkeley.
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