Environmental community center for youth breaks ground at DeForest Park

Conservation Corps of Long Beach members and city officials celebrated the official groundbreaking of a new environmental community center at DeForest Park that will serve at a base of operations for youth development programs in North Long Beach.

The conservation corps provides workplace training and counseling to school-aged youth through park and open space maintenance jobs.

Dan Knapp, the corps’ executive director, said having the center based in North Long Beach will allow its uniformed blue-shirted members to care for the park and the DeForest wetlands as well as the lower Los Angeles River.

“You’re going to see more blue shirts up and down the LA River,” Knapp said.

A conceptual design rendering of a community center proposed for DeForest Park for summer 2021. Photo courtesy City of Long Beach.

The center will be built at the northern portion of the park where bathrooms are currently located. It will take up 1,400 square feet of space and will include storm water capture designs.

The project was funded through a $1.9 million grant from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy to the conservation corps.

Councilman Rex Richardson said DeForest Park and the surrounding wetlands are hidden gems in North Long Beach and said the park could potentially expand its amenities to provide campgrounds in the future.

“We’re taking a step outside of just the basics,” Richardson said. “We are raising the standard and thinking about conservation.”

Construction of the center will last from late September until the summer of 2022, according to officials.

Deforest Park in line for improvements after City Council vote

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