City Awarded $924,000 Grant For Willow Springs Park Improvements

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The City of Long Beach has been awarded a $924,000 state grant to improve wetlands and increase accessibility at Willow Springs Park by building trails, planting trees and re-establishing native vegetation. The park is located at 2745 Orange Ave.

“The grant will help restore the Willow Springs Park ecosystem and enable the public to experience natural resources in a highly urbanized area,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “These improvements will provide a range of recreational opportunities and activities for a healthier, more livable Long Beach.”

The Willow Springs Wetland Project comprises 12 acres and will improve accessibility from both the east and west sides of the park. Willow Springs Park is located between California and Orange Streets just north of Willow Street, and encompasses 47 acres. Longview Point, a feature of the Willow Springs Park and the highest accessible peak in the city, opened to the public in November 2013.

“I’m excited to see this new phase of Willow Springs Park moving forward,” said Councilmember James Johnson, who represents the 7th District. “When complete, this park will be the largest parkspace developed in Long Beach since El Dorado Park opened in 1952, as well as the largest park ever for the western half of our city. With this grant, along with the recent acquisition of the historic train terminal to be used as a visitor’s center, we’ve taken major strides towards the implementation of the Master Plan for this great public space.”

The Willow Springs Wetland Project will also feature an outdoor classroom site, and will create a system of bioswales and ponding areas (seasonal wetlands) that will function to divert stormwater and dry weather flows. These strategies increase water quality by keeping the water onsite, recharging the groundwater through infiltration and protecting the Los Angeles River and the Pacific Ocean from large volumes of polluted runoff.

The Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Program Grant was distributed by the Strategic Growth Council and funded by Proposition 84, which provides funding for projects to establish community green areas, reduce energy consumption, conserve water, improve air and water quality, and provide other community benefits.

The City’s FY 2014 Budget designates $350,000 in one-time revenues as matching funds for the Willow Springs Wetland Project.

The City of Long Beach has also received a $50,000 technical assistant grant from the Southern California Association of Governments to create a Habitat Creation Plan to support the Willow Springs Wetland Project; and a $15,000 grant from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association for a signage program to interpret the history of Willow Springs Park.

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