The sound of children laughing and skateboards clattering filled Lincoln Park for the first time in years Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it’s really cool—all the swings and the thing you can sit in and spin around,” said TC Thompson, 12, while he enjoyed the new playground.
The park includes a dog park, an outdoor reading room, various to-be-determined art installations, a half-basketball court, exercise equipment, and even a skatepark. It is also the site of a giant monster penny that Mayor Robert Garcia has predicted is “probably going to be one of our most Instagrammed moments and sites across the city.”
The skatepark was bustling with over a dozen kids riding the rails and catching air off ramps.
“It’s pretty small but fun,” said Damitry Reed, 13, who added it is a good park for younger skaters to improve their skills. “And it’s easy to get to.”
Julian Jeang-Agliardi, 12, who was skating the park with his younger brother, Quentin, 10, and over a dozen other kids, also noted the small size of the skatepark but said he really enjoyed the various rails and ramps. The boys’ grandmother lives a short distance from the new park, Julian added.
“If my parents are working, my grandma can just take me,” Julian said. “It’s only a couple blocks. It’s nice.”
City officials have said the park would officially reopen in February. This week, without much fanfare, the fences came down and crowds quickly arrived.
The new park is planned to be activated for 18 hours per day, according to city officials. Combined with maintenance and security costs, estimates for operating the park 18 hours per day are as high as $1.6 million annually.
Lincoln Park is the oldest park in the city, and was officially opened in 1888, though it was known as Pacific Park then. It was closed in advance of the rebuild of the Main Library, which is now the Billie Jean King Main Library.
“I think it’s lovely,” said Moyna Simon, 68, a Long Beach resident who lives on Ocean Boulevard a short walk from the new park. “I’ve been waiting on it to open for a long time—my grandsons are 2 and 6, so this is perfect for them.”
Moyna, along with several other residents, said she hopes the city is able to maintain the park better than the old facility.
While the library opened in September 2019, the site of the park and old city hall have remained fenced off as economic issues, some which were exacerbated by the pandemic, have slowed completion of the civic center.
On Feb. 1 the City Council approved a plan to use tax-exempt bonds to pay for the purchase and development of 580 residential units on the “Midblock” site next to the park.