Drake Park Renovation Revealed, Headed For EIR Process • Long Beach Post

Drake Park Plan

6:50am | Designs were revealed this week for the expansion and renovation of downtown’s Drake Park, which will begin the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process on September 1 after having received the necessary $150,000.

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“This is a major project for Long Beach that will transform our city,” said Councilmember Robert Garcia said, in a statement. “I can’t wait to get this next phase started.”

The project received $100,000 from the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and $50,000 from the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA). When completed Drake Park will be the largest park in west or downtown Long Beach and will include new soccer fields, a nature center, a community center, plans for wetlands restoration and updates to historical Drake Park. The EIR must go through a thorough approval process before construction on the massive project can begin.

“It is Councilman Garcia’s priority to create a healthy environment for the residents of Long Beach. The ultimate goal of the project is to connect the whole area along the Los Angeles River channel. This is a big project with lofty goals, and I am happy to support it,” Supervisor Knabe told the LBPOST.com.

Several community meetings were held to pool ideas for designs and additions to the park renovations. If you attended the meetings and see portions of the design below that either do or don’t fit with your requests, please let us know in Comments section below.

We’ve compiled a list of the features planned for the new Drake Park and enlarged each section of the map above to make it easier for viewing. Scroll down to see what the new design has in store.

A – Cesar Chavez Park and Greenbelt Link
This portion of the design creates a link between the two parks with a recreation-friendly area that consist of a soccer field, skate park, two half-court basketball areas and access to the Los Angeles River walking and biking trail. In addition, the existing building at 620 San Francisco Avenue will receive upgrades.

B – The Boardwalk
This long, looping walkway will provide easy access from Cesar Chavez Park to other areas of the Drake Park master plan, including a nature center and community center. On the way there, plenty of seating and viewing areas are provided as well as parking spaces and emergency access if needed.

C – Community & Urban Nature Center
As one of the main hubs of the Drake Park master design, this area features easy access for either buses or parents that are both picking up and dropping off. Once there, plenty of activities are available thanks to the multi-level community center and nature center as well as basketball courts and a nature-themed playground.

D – Wetlands
Four acres of tidal marshland will be preserved here and include an elevated walking path and wildlife observation station with even more access to the river trail. Excavated soils from this area are used to elevate nearby soccer fields, and there’s also a tidal gate to control flushing and water levels.

E – Community Gardens
Several dozens community garden plots will be available to nearby residents in this area, in a secured property with perimeter fencing and two garden shelters along with plenty of open space and walking paths.

F – DeForest Avenue
Picnic tables and two park shelters will dot this walkway along the Los Angeles River.

G – Greenbelt Downtown Trail
Another park shelter, more open space and walking/biking paths form this area along the river.

H – Parkway
Two-way access from DeForest Avenue will run through this narrow road that provides parking spaces and traffic circles to keep speeds low but constant. There is also one-way access from 7th Street.

I – Drake Park
Based on input from several community meetings, the updated Drake Park will retain historic elements while renovating restrooms, a promenade walk with arbor structures and enhanced street crossing. The playground and water spray area form the center attraction next to the current gazebo and existing tennis courts.

J – Recreation Fields
These two terraced soccer fields are surrounded by restrooms, three park shelters and six handball courts.

K – Loma Vista Corridor
Access to both Anaheim Street and Loma Vista Park is dotted by enhanced landscaping.

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