City Council could approve contract for design of COVID-19 memorial installation • Long Beach Post News – Long Beach Post

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As Long Beach’s proposed COVID-19 memorial comes closer to becoming a reality, the City Council will vote on Tuesday on whether to approve a contract with a firm that could finalize a design for the installation, which would be located at Lincoln Park in Downtown.
The council voted in May 2021 to start a visioning process for a memorial that would commemorate those who died during the pandemic. The city requested artists to submit proposals in late November.
The $20,000 contract coming before the council would focus on a submission from PAO Design and would go toward finalizing the firm’s concept.
PAO would work to flesh out the design elements of the memorial under the contract and determine the technical feasibility of its design, along with an overall cost estimate. The city has estimated that the full project would cost about $850,000, and that money has already been set aside. Officials would use $650,000 from the city’s general fund and $200,000 from Measure A funding.
A proposal submitted by the firm shows two 20-foot-high and 40-foot-wide brushed steel arches straddling the open area in Lincoln Park just south of the Billie Jean King Library.
A rendering of a proposed COVID-19 memorial that PAO Design submitted to Long Beach. Courtesy of PAO Design
Inside the arches are etched names of those who perished, which slowly fade to blank lines that represent the names of those people whose deaths were not attributed to COVID and those who could die in a future pandemic.
Long Beach has reported 1,341 COVID-19 deaths through Monday.
James Shen, a founding partner and principal with PAO, was born in Long Beach and attended school here and recently moved back to the city. Shen said that PAO has worked on numerous public space projects but this would be the firm’s first memorial.
“This is a project that has a lot of meaning behind it, and everyone will be able to relate to it,” Shen said. “The learning of it is important to us.”
A rendering showing the retractable awning that could be stored inside the two arches proposed by PAO Design. Courtesy of PAO Design
The current proposal shows the arches aligning with the First Street entrance into Lincoln Park, which could ultimately connect all the way through to the Civic Center once the construction of a proposed housing project at the site of the old city hall is completed.
While Lincoln Park and Shoreline Aquatic Park were both identified as potential homes for the monument, Shen said his group picked Lincoln Park because it was more connected with the residents of Long Beach, whereas Shoreline Aquatic Park might have more visitors that are tourists.
The proposed arches could be paired with pavers that have a mirrored finish to “allude to the inconceivable vastness of the loss due to the pandemic,” according to the project’s submission.
Both arches would be hollow and house a retractable canopy that would be extended for community events or city events. Shen said the canopy is a nod to the temporary nature of the pandemic and its ability to bring the community together.
“It reflects the kind of adapting to changing circumstances our community is capable of to deal with this kind of crisis,” Shen said.
If the contract moves forward Tuesday, the council would have to vote again at a later date for construction of the memorial to begin.
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