After a year of talking through visions of what Scherer Park in North Long Beach could be, residents are being asked to vote on two conceptual designs via an online survey.

The two schematic designs presented at a community meeting Thursday included improvements to all park amenities like its sports courts, bike and pedestrian path, the dog park, duck pond and parking. Each design, however, prioritizes a different aspect of the park.

The first design, titled “Eco Adventure,” keeps the current layout of the park intact but would include added improvements like a viewing deck at the duck pond and a large community garden.

The first schematic design for the Scherer Park vision plan titled “Eco Adventure.” Courtesy of City Fabrick.

The second design, titled “Nature Waves,” centralizes the sports facilities and playground in the northeast corner of the park near the Long Beach Police Department’s Del Amo station. The rest of the design will be expansive greenspace with picnic areas spread throughout and a joint pedestrian and bike path that weaves throughout.

The second schematic design for the Scherer Park vision plan titled “Nature Waves.” Courtesy of City Fabrick.

Residents do not have to choose between one design or the other. In the survey, which is open until Nov. 19, they can pick and choose what elements of each design they prefer.

Residents are asked to vote various features like where to relocate the amphitheater, how to configure sports fields, whether to construct separate walking and bike paths or one larger path and whether to relocate the community center, among other questions.

At Thursday’s meeting, homelessness was a top concern among residents, who have asked for better lighting at the park.

It could be years, however, before Scherer Park, a 26-acre space that sits between Long Beach Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, north of 46th street, is fully revamped.

The city is working with City Fabrick, a nonprofit urban design and planning organization. Community engagement is a key part of the process, said Mina Emamifar Roades, the nonprofit’s director of landscape architecture.

City Fabrick and the Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine have been heading the community feedback meetings and the vision planning process since September 2022. They are also currently creating a similar vision plan for Martin Luther King Jr. park in Central Long Beach.

Scherer Park is located in Councilmember Al Austin’s 8th Council District just north of Bixby Knolls. Austin said he sympathizes with the community’s concerns and assures that the city is doing what it can to address the issue of homelessness not only at the park but citywide.

“It’s very difficult to control who utilizes public park space,” Austin said. “Controlling hours, locking restrooms at a certain time of the night and discouraging folks from camping in the park overnight…these are always the efforts that we’re making.”

Betty Belle, a District 8 resident, brings her granddaughter Imani Dixon to play at the park often and said she’d like to see the playground expanded so kids have more space to play. Belle said she’d also love to see more park programming and group activities to make the park more inviting.

Nancy Villaseñor, a bureau manager for the parks department, said that while there is currently no funding available for improvements to Scherer Park, once the city develops a vision plan they can begin applying for federal, state and local grants through like Measure A, Prop 68, Measure W and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

While Austin is serving his final term as councilmember, he hopes to see Scherer Park continue to be a beloved park space used by many residents.

“I want to see the community’s vision be realized at some point,” said Austin. “A future city council member is going to be responsible for, you know, identifying the resources and developing a plan of action to deliver on the vision that many residents have been involved in.”