Phil Hester and his Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine have done it again. The Department, which was selected Best In The Nation in 2006, has been involved with a committee of interested residents which formed in order to get Long Beach its latest, shiniest national distinction: Aquatic Capital of America.
One of those residents, Tom Shadden, presented a proposal to the City Council last night and when City Manager Patrick H. West put his pen to paper, the proposal was approved. Long Beach is now officially the Aquatic Capital of America.
Long Beach’s extraordinary number of aquatic assets and activities from beaches, boating and swimming/diving to the Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Port of Long Beach made the decision easy for all parties involved.
“This is all very positive for the city,” says Shadden. “It will bring attention to current events, like the Sea Festival, and draw more events… This is another way for the city to gain recognition nationally and internationally.”
The new tag will most likely be used on promotional material in an effort to draw big aquatic events such as the Olympic Swimming Trials, which were held here in 2004.
Along with enhancing the city’s reputation as a tourist destination, the moniker should also increase employment opportunities and expand water-related educational and recreational opportunities, while enhancing the significance and visibility of aquatic training programs and events.
“I’m excited to hear opinions from people,” says Shadden. “Ideas of how we can use in business and activities. This will be an evolving process, but it’s all about the exposure. It’s all good.”