On Monday, construction on a new park and improved intersection allowing two-way traffic near Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and Alamitos Avenues, and Sixth and Seventh Streets will begin, the City of Long Beach announced Thursday.
In a release issued Thursday afternoon, the city announced street closures on MLK between Sixth and Seventh streets, where the new park will be built. The park is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
“We’ve been working on this project for several years, and it’s extremely exciting to see it coming to fruition,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in a statement. “Not only are we adding needed green space to this dense neighborhood, we’re making one of our busiest intersections much safer. It’s a huge win for this community.”
Specifically, the city will reconfigure Sixth and Seventh streets for two-way traffic between Alamitos and Atlantic avenues (to be completed by the end of 2015), the aforementioned portion of MLK will be closed where the new park is being built, MLK will end its southern portion at Seventh Street, and traffic on Sixth street will cross Alamitos Avenue in both directions (north and south).
“We are very excited to improve traffic flow and make it safer and easier for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to get around,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez in a statement. “The new park will improve the quality of life for approximately 32,000 residents who live within a half-mile radius of the intersection.”
The new park, titled Robert Gumbiner Park, will consist of 36,590 square feet of space. The Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) and the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum will donate art pieces, play areas, a skate plaza, shade structures and performance area, according to the release.
The intersection improvement project is funded by a $900,000 grant awarded by the Highway Safety Improvement Program through Caltrans. The park is being funded by a $2.83 million award from the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program to develop the park.
The park’s namesake, Dr. Robert Gumbiner, founded the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in 1996, as well as the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, which opened in 2010, according to the release. He was known for spearheading his medical practice and cultivating its growth into one of the largest HMOs in teh country, FHP International.
The City Council voted to name the park after Gumbiner, who died in 2009, in a January city council vote this year. Mayor Garcia sponsored the item.