Tonight Santa Monica Mayor Ted Winterer and Councilmember Kevin McKeown will ask their colleagues to allocate $19,000 of discretionary funds to help Beautify Earth paint murals at seven more locations in the city.
The discussion is one of three last-minute items added to tonight’s City Council agenda by the city’s elected officials. The funding would help paint two large murals at Franklin Elementary, two murals at SMASH and one at both Grant Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary. Three new Pico Boulevard murals would be painted on Speak Easy Cocktail, Grey Block Pizza (two walls) and the Subway restaurant across from Santa Monica College.
The money would also help fund a new “civic love” marketing program to encourage trash cleanup on the beach. The city would provide half the funds required to paint the murals and Beautify Earth will raise the rest. There are now 25 murals on Pico Boulevard.
“It’s becoming something different and it’s so cool to watch,” said Beautify Earth founder Evan Meyers, of his organization’s work on Pico. He says the murals have attracted more customers to local businesses. “This is the point Beautify Earth intends to prove. It doesn’t take much to reshape a community through engagement and art.”
This is the first time the city would be putting money toward painting Beautify Earth murals at schools.
“Children have an opportunity to be part of the beautification and be part of something colorful and beautiful,” Meyers said.
In a separate item, Mayor Winterer and Mayor Pro Tempore Gleam Davis are also asking for discretionary funds to support Bergamot Station’s theater group City Garage. The group is struggling to pay higher lease rates that effectively doubled their rent in 2017 after a Los Angeles development firm purchased a portion of Bergamot Station. The Councilmembers are asking for a $10,000 matching grant to retain the theater group they deem “crucial to our community’s long-term plans for a cultural campus at Bergamot.”
City Garage was founded in 1987 to create and present original works that explore contemporary ideas and issues, according to their website. The company moved into Bergamot in 2012.
Finally, Councilmember Pam O’Connor wants to direct staff to notify owners and residents of properties in single-family neighborhoods that zoning rules have changed. The Council will likely pass an interim ordinance Tuesday to restrict the height of new homes to 28 feet, the maximum parcel coverage to 50 percent on a sliding scale with a maximum of 20 percent on the second floor and limit the square footage or second-floor decks and balconies. The temporary ordinance is in response to resident concerns about large, speculative construction changing the nature of local neighborhoods. O’Connor says the city should create a website where residents can sign up to be notified about future public hearings regarding changes to local development standards.
The City Council will meet Tuesday, Feb. 13 at City Hall, 1685 Main Street, Room 213. Closed session begins at 5:30 p.m.