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Articles

Libbey Bowl Funding Approved

By Mary M. Long

Ojai City Council members convened on Tuesday to unanimously award the construction contract for the rebuilding of Libbey Bowl to McGillivray Construction Inc. After last week’s 2-2 vote, with Councilwomen Sue Horgan and Betsy Clapp declining to approve the contract until a study could be done of the financial impact on the city’s reserve fund account, the council met again on Tuesday, determined to find a solution to the financing problems delaying the project.                                                                                                         Architect David Bury presented an artist’s rendering of the proposed bowl renovation, explaining what would be covered by the $2.4 million contract for the Core Components of the bowl construction. Projects of this magnitude are often designed with a core component, with additional components which can be completed as funding is available.  He assured the council that “this building is designed to last for the ages,” engineered with steel and concrete and equipped to accommodate a broad variety of performing acts “anything you could imagine,” he added.                                                                                                               The core and central components and Alternatives 1 and 3 are currently funded. This includes the shell, stage right and left, the Green Room, manager’s office, rear deck, paving, lighting poles, access off the front, driveway, handicapped ramp, new sidewalk, site drainage, fencing, underground cables, seating, paving for seating, trash enclosure, new landscaping (with the addition of two dozen new mature trees) and restored wetlands near the historic Libbey sycamore tree. According to Bury, the design of the bowl is “simple but elegant” and he says, “I have never designed a project that has gotten more favorable views and comments. We have retained the character of the historic Libbey Bowl.”
The hard wooden benches will be removed and replaced with ergonomically designed seating offering comfort to bowl patrons. Dressing rooms and offices are climate controlled and the stage right and left have been made large enough to store pianos so that delicate instruments are protected from the elements. Alternative 2 is the addition of group dressing rooms and additional star dressing rooms for which, according to Ojai Music Festival President Esther Wachtell, sufficient funds are nearly raised.                                      Anna Cho-Wagner, who is the director of fund raising for the bowl project, said they raised an addition $50,000 last week with the “Last Gasp Party” alone bringing in $30,000 as well as an outpouring of community spirit. With $200,000 raised towards Alternative 2, the additional dressing rooms and rotunda, they are well on the way to having funds in place for their construction. Bury feels optimistic that they will be able to complete the project in its entirety, but also cautions that it “depends on the fund raising efforts of the festival.”
City manager Jere Kersnar provided the council members with a financial study of the impact on the city general reserves that financing the bowl renovation would create. Kersnar brought graphs of city reserves and presented “cautiously opti

Ojai City Council members convened on Tuesday to unanimously award the construction contract for the rebuilding of Libbey Bowl to McGillivray Construction Inc. After last week’s 2-2 vote, with Councilwomen Sue Horgan and Betsy Clapp declining to approve the contract until a study could be done of the financial impact on the city’s reserve fund account, the council met again on Tuesday, determined to find a solution to the financing problems delaying the project. Architect David Bury presented an artist’s rendering of the

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