Five Projects That Make DTLB a Better Place • Long Beach Post

Photo by Brian Addison.

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When we first told you that the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) was giving away $40K in placemaking grants for DTLB-focused projects, we weren’t kidding.

Five projects have been selected for funding (one of which, we’re proud to report, is from one of our very own contributors, Katie Rispoli, of We Are the Next, the badass who moved an historic train depot rather than seeing it destroyed, amongst other achievements).


List of Funded Projects:

Project Name: Urban Furniture – Stop, Shop and Stroll
Applicant: Shelby Batalla
Location: 100 – 200 S Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA, 90802
Grant Award: $ 10,000

The proposed modular urban furniture collection aims to introduce dynamic and creative street furniture pieces and wayfinding devices to add visual interest and cohesion to sidewalks in DTLB. A series of seats, benches and bike racks of similar colors and formal language made out of recycled shipping pallets (recycled from the Port of Long Beach) and detailed by renowned local fabricator – Patrick Vogel – are to be installed along sidewalks to activate the streetscape. The recycled wood from the pallet, an affordable and easy-to-maintain material, will be sculpted into dynamic action words such as LBC, EAT, SHOP, SEE, ART and etc,. Wayfinding messages and advertisements are to be branded onto the upcycled wooden pallets (pyrography) to provide opportunities for local businesses to sponsor and advertise, giving the furniture a distinctive cargo-like look that speaks to Long Beach’s nautical and industrial history.

Project Name: 5th Street Revitalization through Landscaping
Applicant: Katie Buckley
Location: 505 Cedar Ave. Long Beach, CA 90802
Grant Award Request: $ 2,000

This proposal includes landscaping improvements in the right of ways around the intersection of 5th Street and Cedar Avenue. This is a high pedestrian traffic area due to the adjacent metro stop, neighborhood grocery and local business. The area does have mature trees, but lacks low level landscaping which would add to the appeal of this neighborhood and bring some much needed color to the streetscape. The proposed landscaping would also assist in bringing some level of pride to the neighborhood with hopes that the passersby will respect the area as a neighborhood rather than just a thoroughfare. This proposal would include drought tolerant, hearty succulents to withstand foot traffic with ground cover such as mulch, rocks or gravel.

Project Name: Children’s Gateway Garden, the Continuation.
Applicant: Kathleen Irvine (WCHA)
Location: Cesar Chavez Park
Grant Award Request: $8,000

Virtually unusable, the Amphitheater was too small, too hot, had limited ADA seating and no power. Located across the street from a bus stop, near freeways, the LA River and the City bikeways, easily reached by Downtown walkers, this space provides an accessible destination for all. A comfortable, shady, outdoor space is attractive to not only local residents, but also Convention Center attendees, tourists, and the wider Southern California population. WCHA improved this space by enlarging the stage, adding electrical outlets in a low, suitable-for-seating retaining wall, and a massive sail shade over the performance area. Currently, the only thing missing from this description would be a “shady” and “comfortable” seating area. There is seating on the lawn (which could well disappear with the drought) and on concrete ledges, both with no back support. For our seniors and disabled, it would mean a very long night at the theater! The project adds eight (8) outdoor benches, along with removing a small portion of lawn in the back row, and replacing it with concrete or permeable pavers, for benches/flexible seating. New plantings are planned for around the stage area itself, along with four of the benches as part of the upcoming NPP Grant. Another round of grants will see the addition of more sail shades, hopefully before next summer, that will further shade the seating areas.

Project Name: Children’s Playground at Promenade Square Park
Applicant: Debra Kahookele
Location: Promenade Square Park
Grant Award Request: $10,000

The Promenade Area Residents Association (PARA) is pleased to submit this proposal for the addition of a playground in Promenade Square Park. Funding from DLBA will support PARA in our efforts to secure a total of $170,000 for the project. Located in the heart of Downtown, Promenade Square Park is the ideal location for the installation of a playground which will improve access to outdoor recreational opportunities, as well as further beautify the Promenade for both residents and visitors alike. Like the surrounding Promenade, this 1,600 sq. ft. playground will be completely custom designed improving the aesthetic quality of Downtown. The design team has created a playground reminiscent of ocean waves in order to add to the unique and tasteful architecture of the Promenade. Additionally, this playground will serve as a more accessible playground for Downtown residents and visitors who currently must travel to either Cesar Chavez Park or Bixby Park. Families utilizing this playground will also serve as additional eyes and ears on the street to improve public safety along the Promenade. Taken as a whole, this proposed playground will only further contribute to the vibrancy of our beautiful Downtown.

Project Name: A Walk Through Time
Applicant: Katie Rispoli
Location: 6 locations within Downtown
Grant Award Request: $ 10,000

“A Walk through Time” would be an immersive experience for both residents and visitors of Downtown Long Beach. It would recall the change in our cityscape over the last one hundred years. This experience would involve the creation and installation of six mounted acrylic signs bearing street views of Downtown Long Beach taken since 1900. The signs would be accompanied by a walking loop designed to take visitors and spectators through the series while highlighting special points of interest throughout Downtown. Each sign will be placed in a location chosen for its unique history or design features. Locations proposed include the Promenade mural and the Civic Center, among others. These signs would intrigue visitors and captivate residents, passerby, and participating walkers in the legacy of Long Beach, building a connection to our city.

Participants in the walk would feel surrounded by community and sense the network of support which made an investment in bringing “A Walk through Time” to life. This sense of place would create an impression of security and safety that lingers with the participant, encouraging further exploration of Downtown Long Beach and a desire to return long after the activity is complete.

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