Funding Restores Hope for Two Parks in Long Beach

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The group gets ready to throw out/kick the ceremonial footballs and soccer balls. (Left to right) Councilmember Johnson, Parks and Recreation Commission President Brett Waterfield, Councilmember Andrews, Mayor Foster, former NFL player Willie McGinest, and Connie Sziebel (Supervisor Knabe's office).

The City of Long Beach announced a creative partnership Friday that will propel forward two major park projects to enhance recreational activities in dense neighborhoods that lack park space.

  • The 19-acre Chittick Field site near Pacific Coast Highway and Walnut Avenue will be revitalized with the construction of a new sports park with soccer fields, a football field and an all-weather track.
  • In addition, a parking lot, trail head, trail and overlook will be the first phase of parkspace built on the California Gardens site, on Orange Avenue between Spring and Willow streets.

“This is a major win-win for the City of Long Beach,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “These two park projects will not only increase recreational opportunities that are needed in Central Long Beach, but will appeal to all environmentalists and sports enthusiasts no matter where you live in Long Beach.” 

The City has already secured grant funding through the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District for a sports park that had been planned for California Gardens, but the site’s hilly terrain and other factors made the project cost-prohibitive.

On Tuesday, August 9, the City Council approved transferring the grant monies that will fund the construction of a sports park at Chittick Field.

For California Gardens, the City has identified funding to construct the first phase of parkspace. Once that funding is secured, this 4-acre project will signal the long-awaited first phase of open space at the 48-acre site.

“Sixty years ago, the City of Long Beach began building baseball fields, and then soccer fields, right here on this very spot. Despite falling into disrepair over the years, Chittick Field remains one of the most used parks in Long Beach,” said Councilmember Dee Andrews, who represents the 6th District. “Now, major improvements are on the way, and these 19 acres are going to be restored to their former glory, complete with modern facilities. Soon these fields will be full of children and adults playing sports, becoming more active, healthier, and enjoying life more. “

The Chittick Field neighborhood has only 2.45 acres of parkspace per 1,000 residents, and the California Gardens neighborhood has only 0.18 acres of parkspace per 1,000 residents. The citywide goal is 8 acres per 1,000 residents.

“The need for recreation opportunities and open space continues to grow in the northern, central, and western portions of Long Beach,” said Councilmember James Johnson, who represents the 7th District. “California Gardens is an opportunity to develop over 40 acres of City-owned land into a natural oasis the whole region can enjoy.  The proposed park at California Gardens is located at the highest accessible point in Long Beach, offering a 270-degree view of the Pacific Ocean to Palos Verdes to the mountains and Downtown Los Angeles.  After more than 100 years of City ownership, the time has come to start opening this property to the public to enjoy this natural open space in the middle of our city.”

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