September 11, 2012
Agenda Item: 3-A
To: Mayor and City Council
From: Martin Pastucha, Director of Public Works
Subject: Expo Maintenance Yard Buffer Park Professional Services Agreement
On November 23, 2010, Council directed staff to work with the community to create a buffer area facing the residential neighborhood along Exposition Boulevard at Stewart Street, adjacent to the Expo Maintenance Facility.
On April 28, 2011, the first community workshop, hosted by staff and the Pico Neighborhood Association, was held to solicit feedback on potential uses for the buffer zone. The community outlined several goals for the buffer, focusing on community involvement in a high quality design, noise mitigation, neighborhood integration, environmental sustainability, and local control.
On June 30, 2011, and September 6, 2011, Expo Construction Authority and design team, Maintenance Design Group, held community workshops on the Maintenance Facility design. The design team solicited community input regarding concerns and issues that they wanted addressed in the design. Achieving progress on the Maintenance Facility design made it possible for staff to advance discussions with the community about the use of the buffer zone.
On November 29, 2011, the City and the Pico Neighborhood Association jointly hosted the second community workshop on the buffer zone. Discussion groups defined desired characteristics of open space/park, including:
· Passive, active or mixed uses;
· Site connectivity to the neighborhood;
· Trees and landscaping; and
Participants asked that the sound wall from the Maintenance Facility have vegetation for screening, possibly large trees lining the wall. They were interested in a “tree bank” and expressed willingness to take trees being relocated from other areas in the city. Participants felt that landscaping should feel natural and native plants should be used. Pedestrian lighting should also be present. All groups were interested in community garden space. Additionally, several activity-specific amenities were suggested by participants including a jogging/walking path, lawn bowling, a pickle ball game court, a skate park, a bike and/or rollerblading lane, dog walking or a dog run (not an off-leash dog park), a BBQ/picnic area, a free-cycle area, exercise stations and a toddler play area.
On January 24, 2012, Council approved staff’s recommendation to support the community’s preferred use of the buffer site as open space/park and directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals for design services for the buffer as open space/park and to continue to work with the Expo Construction Authority, Metro, and their consultant teams on the design and construction of the Maintenance Facility in the interest of being a “good neighbor” to the community.
On April 30, 2012, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued, emphasizing the unique qualities of the project. Five weeks were provided for design teams to respond to the RFP. The City received 14 responses to the RFP and they were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of staff from Public Works, Community & Cultural Services, and the City Manager’s Office. Evaluation of the submitted materials was based on the following selection criteria:
· A track record of professionally acknowledged and innovative design work.
· Experienced and successful participatory design efforts involving community groups.
· Completed projects that show a commitment to sustainable landscape practices and use of native plants.
· Previous neighborhood and/or “pocket” park design experience.
· Proposed cost and unit cost breakdown for comprehensive design services.
· Timely completion of prior assignments.
· Thorough knowledge of California codes and regulations.
Respondents represented a wide range of design collaborations. The selection committee short-listed two teams whose qualifications stood out above the others. Interviews with the two short-listed teams took place on July 31, 2012. Each team presented their team’s approach to the project, provided examples of relevant past work, discussed their approach to community engagement and outlined the team’s organizational structure. Following the interviews, the selection committee recommended Mia Lehrer and Associates (MLA) to provide full design services for the Expo Maintenance Buffer Park project.
MLA represent a strong landscape architect-led cohesive team with experience in innovative public engagement processes, a high level of experience in civic design and a sensitive and insightful analysis of the site and the neighborhood. MLA is the landscape design firm responsible for the open space design of the Annenberg Community Beach House and the Santa Monica Village. Current and/or recently completed landscape projects by MLA include:
· Los Angeles Natural History Museum
· Vista Hermosa Natural Park
· Treepeople Center
· South LA Wetland Park
· Westside Rainwater Park
· Silverlake Reservoir
Following execution of the contract with MLA, the design consultant and staff will initiate a community engagement process for the new buffer open space/park followed by reviews by the Recreation and Parks Commission and City Council at each stage of the design.
The agreement to be awarded to Mia Lehrer and Associates is $297,978 (including a 10% contingency). Funds are available in the FY2012-13 Capital Improvement Program Budget. The agreement will be charged to the following accounts:
C017060.589000 $ 47,978