Pike Park adds additional green space to Downtown’s growing urbanity

In the world of pocket parks—green spaces in cities that aren’t massive, tucked into places that would otherwise be swallowed up by development—Long Beach could very well reign supreme in how efficient it is at finding such spaces: the Miracle on 4th Street park in Alamitos Beach, Peace Park in Central Long Beach, K-9 Corner in Downtown Long Beach…

Pike Park is one such addition.

A giddy child uses the slide inside Pike Park in Downtown Long Beach on Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Brian Addison.

A public-private partnership between the city and the OceanAire’s developers, the 8,000-square-foot space includes a dog park along with a separate play area that Mayor Robert Garcia noted “is as much for kids as it is for adults” at a grand opening earlier today.

Lennar is the developer behind OceanAire just a bit west of Pine Avenue at Ocean Boulevard and whose property Pike Park sits on.

Councilmember Jeannine Pearce and Mayor Robert Garcia are the among the first to use the slides at Pike Park in Downtown Long Beach on Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Brian Addison.

Originally, the developer sought to avoid paying a $498,000 Park and Recreation facilities fee. The fee has not only been part of our code since 1989 but is a crucial component to how other parks in far more marginalized areas get much needed access to green space.

Developers can negotiate rather than pay the fee, as did Irvine-based developer Brandywine Homes and Integral Communities, the groups behind the suburban Riverwalk development: Instead of paying the fee, they constructed Molina Park.

Pike Park in Downtown Long Beach on Feb. 13, 2020. Photo by Brian Addison.

Lennar wanted to skip the fee and skip constructing anything, claiming the work they contributed to Victory Park—the small stretch of green in front of OceanAire’s north-facing facade—was sufficient. The appeal faced the council in July, where it was laid over until August at which point the appeal was withdrawn by Lennar, who agreed to construct Pike Park in lieu of paying the $498,000.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.
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