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Bob Hope Airport: Art lack hits project budget

City nixes airport's plan for columns in new transportation center.

April 16, 2013|By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com

To comply with the city of Burbank's requirement for public art, Bob Hope Airport needs to come up with an additional quarter-million dollars for its new transportation center.

Airfield officials are hoping to raise the money through an ambitious plan for a new pavilion celebrating the local airport's history.

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Monday voted 7-1 to move forward with plans to spend the extra money on artwork in its transit center, which is currently under construction, and to raise those funds by selling naming rights in the new pavilion.

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Commissioner Dave Weaver, a Glendale City Councilman, voted against the project.

As a condition of city approval for the transportation center, the airport is required to make a minimum investment of $377,198 for public art in the project.

Current plans for the transportation center include funding for 16 steel "art columns" at a cost of $30,000 each. But unless those columns actually feature artwork, that funding can't be counted toward the public-art requirement, according to city officials.

"It took the city months and months and months after they approved the project to come say, 'au contraire … you must have art on each column,'" said Dan Feger, the airport's executive director.

Feger said airport staff came up with a plan to take five of the columns and have the airport, the cities of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, and an as-yet-undetermined public agency outfit one column each with artwork of their choosing.

The artwork would be funded with a $50,000 stipend provided by the airport.

The $250,000 in stipends, plus $150,000 to build the five columns — which is already in the budget — would let the airport meet the city's public-art requirement.

Staff also suggested that the column project be funded by selling naming rights and sponsorships in a new "Freedom of Flight" pavilion, featuring a large sculpture and memorial bricks.

Feger said the airport plans to contact current and former Lockheed employees who worked in Burbank, and ask if they would like to purchase a memorial brick that would be etched with their name and brief information about their work at Lockheed.

A smaller brick would cost $130, while a larger one would cost $150. Officials plan to have 20,000 bricks in the pavilion, which will be located near Terminal A at the northern end of an elevated walkway that is planned as part of the transportation center.

Donors will also be able to buy naming rights on the large sculpture.

Feger said the memorial brick program will definitely move ahead, but the sculpture will only get the green light if there is enough sponsorship interest.

The airport could raise up to $4.3 million in donations if all of the naming rights were sold, Feger said.

He added that the pavilion would be built on a "pay-as-you-go" basis — meaning donations and sponsorships would be solicited up front to pay for the design and construction. Feger hopes to have 50 sponsors lined up by June and a groundbreaking ceremony in July.

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Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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