Santa Monica Civic Scores Funding

The sounds of music are poised to return to an aging Southern California hall following a recent city council vote.

After years of discussion over the fate of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, city councilors voted in a meeting May 26 to allocate $47 million in redevelopment agency funds to bring the building up to snuff.

New construction at the hall, which was built in 1958, will reportedly make it earthquake-safe and bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project already has the support of the Nederlander organization. City officials voted in March to partner with Nederlander as the exclusive promoter of the revamped venue.

But the project also has several opponents that claim the city is rushing into the renovation over fears that redevelopment funds would be lost under Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies in the state, the local LookOut reported.

“The only reason we’re here tonight is because of Jerry Brown,” councilman Bobby Shriver said. “We’ve allocated RDA funding before, and there was never this kind of intensity and fear.”

Councilwoman Gleam Davis added that the city is rushing into “building a theater for the Nederlanders,” without considering what’s really best for the Civic Auditorium.

“We can’t preserve the Civic in a way that 10 or 15 years down the road, we’ll be having the same discussion,” Davis said.

With the Nederlander deal in place, city subsidies to the Civic Auditorium are expected to fall from $3 million per year to $1 million annually, according to LookOut.