CITY HALL — At least for now, plans for a museum at the end of the Santa Monica pier have been placed on hold.
The Pier Restoration Corp. had planned to ask the City Council for $5,000 at its Tuesday meeting to begin planning the museum but decided at the last minute to pull its proposal from the agenda.
Ben Franz-Knight, the executive director of the PRC, said he wanted to contact members of the California Coastal Commission, which also has to agree to allow the museum, before asking the council for money.
The proposed museum would be located in a 775-square-foot space known as “the west end public viewing deck” that sits above Mariasol restaurant at the end of the pier. The deck has no doors and is open to the public 24-hours a day, so using the space for the museum would require some renovation. The Coastal Commission has to sign off on the idea because it involves limiting access to a public space that offers an ocean view.
Exhibits at the proposed museum would include artifacts from the pier’s 100-year history, including dance tickets from the La Monica Ballroom, a venue that dates to the 1920s, and gambling chips from the S.S. Rex, a floating casino that was anchored in Santa Monica Bay in the 1930s.
Setting up the museum is expected to cost $100,000, half of which would be raised from private donors, Franz-Knight said.
The delay in bringing the proposal to the council came after Richard Bloom, a City Councilman and member of the California Coastal Commission, raised questions about the proposal.
In an article published in the Daily Press on Monday, Bloom said he had concerns about restricting access to a public space and wasn’t convinced the site was a good place for a museum because of its remote location.
“I would be hesitant to spend a bunch of money out there … if people don’t frequent the facility,” he said.
Franz-Knight said he’s continuing to work on the museum idea and believes it would enhance the public’s enjoyment of a little-used area on the pier.
He said there’s no new date for the museum proposal to come before the City Council.