Small business owners in North Long Beach revel in new parking lot

City officials hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday for a new parking space in the Virginia Village business district in North Long Beach.

Leoh Sandoval, resident and business owner of Aguas Way in Virginia Village, said the parking lot was something that was missing within the expanding corridor.

“This is what was needed,” he said. “I’m the same––if I don’t see any parking I’ll just keep going.”

The lot features 19 spaces, which will be free of charge for the next 90 days, according to city officials.

He and other local shop owners see the new parking space as an opportunity for new customers to stop and shop in the corridor.

“We have very limited parking on the street, and that’s worrying,” Juliette Simpkins, owner of Black Ring Coffee shop, said. “This is going to help us bring customers.”

The business corridor already had parking spaces at the intersection of Market Street and Long Beach Boulevard, however, Councilman Al Austin said the limited spaces proved to be a challenge to businesses arguing over whose customers could park there.

The new parking space was a former auto-repair site acquired by the city in 2011. The construction was partially funded with proceeds from the sale of the former redevelopment agency properties.

Solar powered electric-vehicle charging stations will soon be installed.

After 90 days, a fee will be charged to support maintenance and equipment upkeep. Parking is available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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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.
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