Long Beach seeks $3 million in grant funding for 51st Street Greenbelt park in North Long Beach

The Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine department wants a $3 million state grant to fund the renovation project of green space along the Los Angeles River by Deforest Avenue between 51st Street and 52nd Street in North Long Beach.

The park would revitalize a .97-acre parcel of fenced-off land to include a walking trail, stormwater capture and reuse areas, play nodes for children, trees and native landscaping, according to a memo from Parks, Recreation and Marine Department Director Brent Dennis.

The park would also improve water and air quality, increase tree canopy and new park acreage to an area that is lacking in park space.

“The project also sits directly along the 1-710 corridor, where the community faces higher levels of air pollution, asthma and obesity, which affects life expectancy and with many of these areas being home to communities of color, having access to parks within a 10-minute walk can directly improve life expectancy for those most vulnerable,” the memo read.

Park officials will seek the City Council’s approval during an upcoming July 13 meeting to submit the application for the grant.

If awarded, the $3 million from the state’s Ocean Protection Council would fund the construction of the park within approximately 3 years, according to the memo. The grant would pay for site clearing and grading, construction and water treatment bioswells, a trail and other natural elements.

Park equity has become a contentious topic for residents in upper West and North Long Beach, an area with less acreage of open green space than communities in East Long Beach.

A report from the city on park creation in April showed that the biggest challenge the city faces to create new green space is to find funding to develop parks.

Aside from the potential $3 million, the parks department received $999,115 from the Port of Long Beach Community Grants Program that will be used to complete the park’s landscaping.

Councilman Al Austin, who oversees the region of North Long Beach where the greenbelt will be developed, said the grant would help develop a neighborhood park along the LA River.

The city is partnering with local nonprofits City Fabrick and the Conservation Corps of Long Beach to fill the grant’s requirement to form community partnerships to develop the park.

City Fabrick is the city’s on-call park consultant and has worked on previous projects with the city, according to their webpage. The Conservation Corps of Long Beach will use the construction of the greenbelt as job training for its members, according to the city memo.

Once the park is completed, park officials calculated that it will take $40,000 annually to maintain the park. The funding to maintain the park has not yet been identified and is currently not budgeted, park officials said.

Long Beach receives $1.9 million for park projects in Downtown, North Long Beach

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Sebastian Echeverry is the North Long Beach reporter through the Report for America program. Philanthropic organizations pledged to cover the local donor portion of his grant-funded position with the Long Beach Post. If you want to support Sebastian's work, you can donate to his Report for America position at lbpost.com/support.