We are a group of Fullerton citizens concerned that the historic Hunt Branch Library building is in imminent danger of being sold by the City of Fullerton. We are exploring viable options for its use to benefit the community rather than allowing this public asset to be sold to a private concern. We invite your ideas and participation. For general information about the Hunt, visit the page "About the Hunt Branch Library" on this site.
On June 15 the Fullerton City Council will consider a policy statement concerning the Hunt Library. The statement, reproduced below, begins with the very important statement that the Hunt should remain a property of the city and be utilized for the benefit of the public. Save the Hunt was founded to see a policy like this supported by the city and put into effect.
The Goals and Visions include recognition of the structure’s style and historical importance. This is a critical position for the council to adopt to avoid inappropriate restoration and/or additional structures on the site that might compromise this unique structure and campus. It could only be strengthened by adding that no additional structures should be built near the Hunt.
One might also wish for the council to support a policy of the Library Board of Trustees having some role in overseeing the site and activities there.
The City Council meeting will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave., CA 92832, 303 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, Ca, 93832. Options for public participation can be found below:
“PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: Pursuant to Executive Order N-29-20 and given the current health concerns, members of the public can access meetings streamed live online at https://fullerton.legistar.com, on Spectrum Cable Channel 3 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99. The City Council Chamber will have limited seating available on a first- come, first-served basis for members of the public to attend the meeting in person. All persons visiting City facilities shall wear face masks and observe social distancing protocols.
In lieu of public attendance, members of the public can submit comments electronically for City Council consideration by clicking on the eComment link accompanying the agenda posted online at https://fullerton.legistar.com until the close of the public comment period for the item.
Alternatively, the public can send correspondence to the City Council regarding agenda items by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “CITY COUNCIL MEETING CORRESPONDENCE – ITEM #” (insert the item number relevant to your comment) or “CITY COUNCIL MEETING CORRESPONDENCE NON-AGENDA ITEM”. Staff will forward correspondence received to City Council. All correspondence received becomes part of the official record of the meeting and posted online with the supplemental materials for that meeting. Contact the City Clerk’s Office at email@example.com or (714)-738-6350 with any questions.
The Fullerton City Council unanimously approved the applicant recommended by a review panel to begin engagement with the city about providing programming and renovations to the Hunt Branch Library. A joint proposal by Heritage Future and ArtsOC received the support of all five members of the council, but not before at least two other applicants complained about what they perceived as an opaque selection process. Several speakers representing Access California, who scored third of eight applicants, asked the council to continue the decision to a future meeting. Council member Jesus Silva countered with a concern that the $ 2.5 million state grant secured by Assemlbywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (his wife) for restoration and upgrades to the facility might not be available for an indefinite period, and urged a timely decision by the council.
Council member Ahmad Zahra suggested that the motion to approve Heritage Future/ArtsOC should include a backup selection of runners up, but that effort was ultimately sidelined. Zahra eventually joined the other four members in voting in favor of the winning application without such a provision.
The city will now, according to the agenda report for the June 2 meeting, “begin work with the selected provider to finalize both physical improvements needed at the site in order to utilize a $2.5 million State appropriation secured by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and create a partnership agreement outlining the terms of operations and services for the future of providing the priorities as outlined by the Hunt Branch Library Ad Hoc Committee. The agreement will be brought back to the City Council for approval.”
Plans for renovations of the building and grounds merit close scrutiny. We will be following the process to see what the applicant and city have in mind, and work, where necessary, to ensure that any physical work on the building is appropriately conceived and executed.
The council’s approval of a partner to present new programming the facility marks a milestone in the efforts to Save the Hunt, once viewed as a relic whose best use to the city would be to sell it off for a short term financial gain. Instead, the building and site have been removed from the city’s list of surplus properties and have received some measure of historical recognition and protection, a public committee has recommended that the facility remain in public hands for the purpose of arts and literary programming, a partner selected to do just that, and $ 2.5 million secured to address the Hunt’s infrastructural needs. The story continues to unfold, but without the support of community members like yourself, none of these goals could have been achieved.
The California Historical Resources Commission has approved the California Register landmark nomination for the 1962 Hunt Center and Library. The landmark nomination was one of four nominated properties on the consent calendar of the Commission’s February 1 meeting agenda. The report accompanying the nomination noted that the “district retains a high degree of historic integrity.”
The Hunt Center includes the Hunt office building, the designed landscape, a platform with metal canopy, six modernist benches, and six hexagonal planters. The Hunt Office Building was characterized as exhibiting “all the striking elements of the international style,” including its “rectilinear form and steel structure, glass panels, and repeated modular panels.” The Hunt Office Building and its surrounding grounds are owned by Grace Ministries International, who added a large unrelated structure to the property after purchasing it was Hunt Wesson, Inc. Grace Ministries currently leases the Hunt Library from its owner, the City of Fullerton.
The Hunt Library, conceived as a companion to the Hunt Office Building in style, was described as embodying all the features of a small branch library of the period, designed in the international style, one seldom otherwise used in Fullerton. The nomination also cited the importance of the Hunt Library having been designed by word famous architect William Pereira and commissioned by Norton Simon, a self-made industrialist and art collector.