More open space for Wrigley is on the way: Construction on greenbelt project set to resume this fall

After months of delays this year, the construction of a greenbelt in the Wrigley neighborhood will resume this fall, according to city officials.

​​The Wrigley Greenbelt Project, which stretches along DeForest Avenue from 26th Way to 34th Street on the eastern side of the 710 Freeway, launched in 2007 with the intention of restoring and preserving open space in the Wrigley neighborhood. Upgrades to this strip of land include replacing and planting more trees along with adding a walking path, dry stream beds, benches, picnic areas and water fountains.

The Long Beach Department of Public Works received two permits from the county’s public works building and safety division this month. They’re required to conduct grading and alternations for the greenbelt project.

The third permit, which will be issued by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, will likely be finalized this month, said Adrian Puyolt, project manager for the greenbelt. That permit will allow encroachment onto and alteration of the district’s right-of-way for new construction, which includes storm drain realignment, landscaping and bikeway construction, according to the district’s permit guide.

A screenshot of an image used during an April 7, 2021 presentation by the Long Beach Department of Public Works about the Wrigley Greenbelt Project. The area shown is facing southward towards 32nd Street in January 2021.

The project has already been delayed twice. On March 19, public works temporarily halted tree trimmings and removals after receiving criticism from residents over its potential impacts on bird nesting.

Then in May public works director Eric Lopez said that a county permit necessary to resume work on the greenbelt had “unintentionally expired.” Puyolt said that during the reapplication process, the flood control district added two more “supplemental” permits to the list of requirements before starting work.

Once a new start date is set, the city will send notices to the surrounding area of the proposed work schedule two weeks before crews start working. The department will also schedule a virtual community meeting to discuss the project updates with the public, Puyolt said.

Puyolt said he’s grateful for the patience of nearby residents who are waiting for an upgraded greenspace.

“I’m sure they’re sick of staring at a dirt lot,” he said.

Expired permit forces city to halt work on Wrigley greenbelt project for a second time

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