Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine to Receive Awards of Excellence

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Great Fall Classes Available for Everyone From Parks, Recreation and MarineLong Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) is the recipient of three Awards of Excellence from the California Parks and Recreation Society (CPRS), whose annual competition recognizes outstanding community improvements, programming, facility design, park planning, and professional and citizen leadership. The awards will be given at the 2013 CPRS Annual Awards Banquet in San Jose on Friday, March 8, 2013.

Service Award of Excellence – Champion of the Community
The West East Side Community Association (WESCA) was named a “Champion of the Community” for its work involving partnerships with the PRM to improve the quality of life for residents in an area of Long Beach bordered by Pacific Coast Highway, Anaheim Street, and Cherry and Temple Avenues, WESCA unites neighbors with monthly neighborhood clean-ups, and has partnered with PRM to offer recreation programs such as a summer Skateboard Safety Fair and Halloween Carnival, which the City can no longer fund due to budget issues. WESCA also assisted with advocacy efforts for a $2.2 million State of California Resources Agency Parks & Recreation grant to fund an expansion to Orizaba Park. Community planning meetings were held at WESCA board meetings. This outreach assisted Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine with the grant’s community involvement criteria, and helped the City secure the grant.

Creating Community Award of Excellence
Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine’s Homeland Cultural Center was honored in the category of “Serving the Underserved,” with programs that serve ethnic minorities, and economically disadvantaged residents. Homeland Cultural Center opened in 1989 at MacArthur Park, 1312 E. Anaheim St., to provide a safe place for more than 2,800 people each month to practice traditional and contemporary art forms that represent their cultures. Programs include dancing, writing and theater programs, open mic nights and poetry readings; most are done in partnership with community arts organizations and are offered seven days a week and later in the evening so young people have a fun alternative to being on the streets.

Excellence in Design – Facility Design
Long Beach’s Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Los Cerritos shared this award for major restoration projects completed in 2012 that preserved their facilities and improved historic interpretation for visitors.

Rancho Los Cerritos added a new visitor center and re-landscaped arroyo, which helped to fully interpret the site’s Spanish and Mexican heritage through exhibits using archaeological and historical collections; as well as open more of the adobe for tours and expand repeat visitation.

Rancho Los Alamitos restored its Barns Area including the Ranch House, Gardens, Blacksmith’s Shop, Dairy, Stallion and Horse Barns; Feed Shed, and Sheepherder’s Wagon. These restoration, preservation and interpretation efforts begin a new chapter of experiences and bring back the historical character, sights and sounds of the original working ranch.

Both Rancho projects were the result of the support of private foundations that conducted fundraising and applied for grants to complete the renovations with no taxpayer dollars.

For more information, visit http://awards.cprs.org or call Jane Grobaty, Superintendent of Community Information, at 562.570.3233.

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