City reports on community feedback for new Facilities Master Plan

City representatives recently engaged with local residents in a series of public meetings to gather feedback and ideas for a new Facilities Master Plan currently in development. This event marked the first phase of the plan, which aims to assess and address the present and future needs of more than 288,000 square feet of facilities across Laguna Beach. These facilities encompass public safety buildings, community and art centers, parking lots, the library and more.

On May 16, four 45-minute stakeholder meetings were held, each dedicated to specific topics: the Susi Q Center and the Community & Recreation Center, the Festival of Arts complex and the Laguna Playhouse, the Animal Shelter and the Library. Participation ranged from 10 to 35 residents per meeting, providing valuable community insights.

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Feedback addressed key themes

Feedback gathered through discussions, highlighted on flip charts for further discussion, and via resident emails prior to the meetings, emphasized several key themes:

Susi Q Center and Community & Recreation Center

Residents expressed the need for more meeting spaces for non-profits, improved parking and accessibility, and better utilization and modernization of existing spaces. Enhanced emergency and digital capabilities were also important, along with the addition of outdoor and social spaces like bocci ball courts and lounges. Some suggested temporary and rooftop community pools as long-term solutions to meet community needs.

Festival of Arts and Laguna Beach Playhouse

Feedback emphasized the urgent need for ADA compliance and structural updates at the Playhouse. Residents suggested repurposing existing spaces, such as tennis courts, for arts centers, and identified a need for more performance and rehearsal spaces. Parking issues, particularly during peak times, were a significant concern. There was also strong support for expanding spaces dedicated to performing arts.

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Community members highlighted the need for expanding the shelter’s space and improving its outdated facilities. Upgrading technology to provide better animal information and creating dedicated adoption spaces were also important. Enhancements for volunteer facilities and ensuring ADA compliance were discussed, along with the necessity for power backup systems and overall facility resilience during emergencies.

Laguna Beach Library

The community strongly supported keeping the library at their current Downtown location while undergoing comprehensive renovations to improve study spaces and meeting areas. Addressing parking and traffic issues around the library was a key concern. Residents also suggested integrating local art and expanding the library’s role as a cultural and educational hub, emphasizing their cultural, historical and communal importance.

Additional Feedback

Residents highlighted broader issues, including the need for better parking solutions citywide and creative options like converting fields into parking lots. There were calls for improved mobility plans to address the lack of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and suggestions to mitigate traffic and noise impacts on nearby homes.

Gavin Curran, assistant city manager/CFO, expressed the importance of community input. “Listening to residents and understanding their perspectives on the history, use and vision for our facilities provides invaluable insights toward developing the Facilities Master Plan. Their feedback will help create a plan that reflects the community’s needs and improves facilities that serve everyone in Laguna Beach,” Curran said.

This community feedback will help shape the Facilities Master Plan, ensuring it meets the needs and aspirations of Laguna Beach residents. The next phase will refine these ideas into actionable plans.

Click here for the Facilities Master Plan informational webpage and full report on the FMP Community meetings feedback.

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