North Long Beach may see its park supply increase thanks to a project that would nearly double the acreage of Ed “Pops” Davenport Park.
Located in the 8th District on 55th Street between Candlewood Avenue and South Street, the nearly 6-acre Davenport Park has been serving the northside since 2006.
The Planning Commission on Thursday will consider developing an additional 5.5 acres of unused space west of the park.
Highlights of the expansion include a new multi-sports field with bleachers, 5,000 square feet of new skate space, six fitness pads and a new parking lot with 31 stalls. Each of these new additions will be connected by a walking path that covers the perimeter of the park, an addition to the existing walking path that opened in 2017.
If approved, construction would begin next year and finish in 2022.
When first developed in 1938, the whole site—including the current park and the additional acreage—served as the Paramount Dump, a landfill operated by the city until 1948, when it became a private manufacturing building used by multiple companies. In 1993, the building on site was condemned due to “excessive settlement and elevated landfill gas concentrations,” according to city records, and it was declared to be a public health concern.
In 2001, the city’s now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency purchased the land currently used as a park, and mitigated the pollution concerns before greening the space. The land was then formally transferred from the agency to the city in 2006 under a law that allows the transfer of properties to municipalities without reimbursing redevelopment agencies. Further improvements, including the 2,200-foot walking path, were dedicated by Councilman Al Austin and city leaders in September 2017.
Long Beach’s Redevelopment Agency purchased the other unused 5.5 acres of Davenport Park from a private property owner in 2006. During the dissolution, which required all municipalities to sell their redevelopment parcels, cities could choose to identify properties that could continue to be used for government purposes; this parcel was one such property.
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