This city-owned parking lot, once home to Rand Corp., will be transformed into a 6-acre park called Palisades Garden Walk. (photo by Brandon Wise)

CIVIC CENTER — Billed as possibly the last opportunity to create new open space for the public, City Hall is asking residents this Saturday to weigh in on two new parks planned for the Civic Center.

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., residents will get a chance to take a tour of the project sites, which encompass roughly 7 acres in the heart of Santa Monica, connecting the footsteps of City Hall to Ocean Avenue and the Santa Monica Pier.

The design team led by the prestigious James Corner Field Operations, will also be on hand to hear what residents want when it comes to open space.

There will also be three other workshops. The concept design workshop will be held in September, the schematic design workshop will be held in November, and the design development workshop will be held in January of next year.

The City Council in April hired James Corner for $3.2 million to design the parks following a competitive interview process that included an outside panel of design and planning professionals and city staff.

One of the parks will be called Palisades Garden Walk and will be located directly across from City Hall at the former RAND Corp. site. It will encompass six acres and has been described as a place “for informal play, picnicking, strolling, jogging, sitting and viewing.” The second park is expected to be one acre and will be called Town Square Park. It will replace City Hall’s lawn and has been described as “the central focus for community and social activities and would be a forum for political debate and social gathering — a democratic space.”

Residents who attend Saturday’s workshop are encouraged to bring comfortable shoes, sunscreen and a hat for protection from the sun’s rays. Parking will be validated at the Civic Center Parking Structure (333 Civic Center Dr.). Those wishing to take the Big Blue Bus can hop on lines 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 or Rapid 3. A bike valet will also be available for free.

For more information, call (310) 458-8310 or e-mail

City Hall has also set up a website ( that features information on the proposed parks and the Civic Center Specific Plan, as well as a survey.

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