The city of Livermore has completed another component of its ongoing downtown revitalization plan with the official opening of Livermorium Plaza last week, nearly one year after work began on the project.
The plaza is a new outdoor space that commemorates the creation of the element Livermorium, which was named for the city and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Located at 116 S. Livermore Ave., the space occupies what was formerly known as Mills Square Park. City officials said in a statement that the address was selected to coincide with the atomic number of livermorium, which is 116.
The city held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 15 to celebrate the plaza's completion and opening. Community members and local officials gathered to hear remarks and be among the first people to utilize the new facility, which went into construction last July.
Speakers at the ceremony included Mayor Bob Woerner, Quest Science Center CEO Monya Lane, former mayor John Marchand, LLNL Director Kimberly S. Budil and Jill M. Hruby, Department of Energy under secretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.
"This is a combination of art and science, and a place people can hang out. We always feel that we need to invest in the community that we work and live in," said Hruby, who spent decades in Livermore and raised her children in the community. "The plaza, which highlights the intersection of art and science, could not have been completed without the strong partnerships with the community, the Lab and everyone involved with the project."
Budil also spoke to the connection between science and community. "This brings science to the heart of our city. Residents can come here and be inspired," she said.
The plaza, which was completed by Robert A. Bothman Construction, features a 5-foot diameter granite water ball fountain that represents the nucleus of the Livermorium atom.
In the ground surrounding the water ball, there are 116 "electrons" represented by a combination of engraved markers, reflective markers, lights and tree wells. The water ball is engraved with 10 facts about Livermorium provided by LLNL and 12 engraved granite markers encircling the fountain display with additional facts. The stainless-steel bands encircling the fountain represent the seven shells or orbitals of the atom.
City officials said the water ball was quarried in Zimbabwe and manufactured in Germany.
The site of Livermorium Plaza was previously occupied by the Livermore Hotel in the 1800s and a gas station in the 1900s before becoming Mills Square Park in 1974.
"This park was a gathering place for many years for the Livermore community and I'm happy to see that it will once again serve that purpose, but much improved," Woerner said.
The city's poet laureate Cynthia J. Patton shared an original poem called "A Brilliant Light" during the ribbon-cutting event and music was provided by Matt Finders and the jazz band Element 116, which is made up of local middle and high school students.
Initially the city had planned for Livermorium Plaza to open on May 30 in time for Livermorium Day, which was established in 2013 by Marchand to recognize the official naming of the element that occurred on May 30, 2012.
City officials told Livermore Vine that they were unable to meet the intended date because they were not provided power at the space until May 31 and they couldn't complete all the testing and commissioning of the water ball feature without power.