One of three options for how downtown Berkeley’s Civic Center Park could look one day. Image: Gehl Studio
One of three options for how downtown Berkeley’s Civic Center Park could look one day. Image: Gehl Studio

The city of Berkeley is forging ahead with plans to rethink Civic Center Park and has asked the public to weigh in.

Gehl Studio has put forward three design options for the park, each of which has a different focus. The deadline to submit your feedback is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. (We know it’s late notice but we hope you will forgive us.)

Under Option A, “A gracious ceremonial plaza acts as the defining feature of the park, linking government and community meeting spaces and Council Chambers, back at the Maudelle Shirek Building, to an activated front porch of 2180 Milvia. Beyond the plaza, smaller, human-scaled ‘outdoor rooms’ provide invitations for play, people-watching, and engaging with the arts and culture in close proximity to the new Berkeley Cultural Hive (home to rehearsal and performance space as well as flexible multi-purpose community rooms), within the historic Veterans Memorial Building.”

Then there’s Option B: “Anchored by the presence of Council Chambers in the Veterans Memorial Building, the park is defined by a central ceremonial plaza and a performance green. A pavilion structure celebrates the presence of the Berkeley’s Farmers Market and invites for temporary, and semi-permanent, outdoor market space. The Maudelle Shirek Building is reconceived as a Performing Arts space, supporting arts and culture within Berkeley Civic Center.”

And finally, Option C: “Council Chambers returns to the heart of Berkeley’s Civic Center, redefining the relationship of the park to 2180 Milvia. An open and flexible green defines the park, providing opportunities for everyday activities and special events to unfold. Supporting the Berkeley Cultural Hive, positioned within the Veteran’s Memorial Building, the Arts and Performance Plazas provide a platform for culture and the arts in the public realm.”

The design team has made it incredibly easy to share thoughts, learn about each proposal and see high-resolution images and videos about all three ideas.

If you’re ready to jump in, visit the project website, which was designed by Neighborland, and scroll down to the “design options” section on the front page. There, you can see all three options and add your comments.

There are many resources on the project website and you may also want to review the Berkeleyside story about what is driving the effort. Don’t miss your chance to help shape the future of what some hope may one day become the heart of the city.

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...