The 51st Street Greenbelt project in North Long Beach could finally have the funding it needs to kickstart construction now that the U.S. Congress has allocated $2 million toward that goal.
Transforming the undeveloped plot of land that separates the community north of Perry Lindsey Academy from the Los Angeles River has been talked about for years, but it could now move forward with the new funding that was included in the recently adopted federal budget.
The roughly one-acre parcel could include a walking trail, play areas for children, new trees, native landscaping and stormwater capture features once it’s redesigned, according to a memo put out by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Marine Department in July 2021.
Completing the greenbelt project would add green space to an area of the city that has historically lacked it. City leaders have acknowledged that North, West and Central Long Beach are park poor, with those areas averaging about one acre of park space per 1,000 residents. That ratio is about 16 times worse than in more affluent parts of Long Beach.
The funding for the project was requested by the city and advocated for by Congresswoman Nanette Bargain, who now represents a larger part of North Long Beach after last year’s redistricting process. Long Beach also pledged $2.4 million in grant match funds in its five-year infrastructure plan approved during the city’s budget process that concluded in September.
Long Beach also received $13 million of federal funding for other projects through Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s efforts, with the largest portion of that funding ($7 million) going toward a revitalization of the Anaheim Street corridor that the city says will improve pedestrian safety.
A city memo announcing the funding noted that, because of an anticipated stalemate in Congress, this may be the last bill the city sees in “quite some time” that provides funding for community projects. Democrats maintained control of the U.S. Senate after the November election but Republicans won control of the House of Representatives.