Houghton Park in North Long Beach is in the beginning stages of getting a new playground, something residents have long awaited.

At a community meeting next week, residents will have the opportunity to give feedback on the city’s conceptual rendering of the playground project, which includes expanding the current structure and adding new equipment.

The community meeting will take place at the Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

The planned improvements include added swings and slides, something that Charlene Angsuco, project management officer for Long Beach Public Works said is, “essential and classic playground equipment that contributes to children’s wellness and their ability to understand their physical limitations and mobility.”

The plans also include playground equipment unique to Houghton like musical elements, as well as large climbing structures, a sand play area and a nature exploration area.

Depending on the type of feedback received at the meeting, the city could break ground on the playground as early as fall of 2024 and could unveil the new additions by 2025.

Funding for the project was kick-started with $200,000 from Measure A to start the design process, according to the public works department. The city also received $2 million in state funding allocated by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and there is $800,000 coming from the mayor’s ‘Elevate 28’ plan.

Ralph Brooks, president of the Houghton Park Neighborhood Association, has lived in the neighborhood for 23 years and said residents have been asking for a playground upgrade for a long time.

Brooks said they’d like to see new swings, added open space for kids to play and artificial turf instead of sand.

The majority of concerns from residents and community leaders have been about homelessness and crime occurring in the park and surrounding neighborhoods.

Despite these issues, Brooks sees the park as “a diamond that has some rough edges,” but deserves to be invested in.

“For me, it’s a place of serenity and Uptown pride,” he said.

A representative from the city’s Homeless Services Bureau will also be present at the meeting to address concerns and questions related to homelessness at the park.

“We’re in the early concept phase so this is the time to give feedback and input,” said Angsuco. “If folks want to express an opinion or feel like things should be added or removed, … we’ll use that information to further the design and make refinements.”

The Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center is located at Houghton Park at 6301 Myrtle Ave.