Long Beach, CA - Today, Mayor Robert Garcia presented his proposed budget to the City of Long Beach. His announcement included funding one of Councilwoman Stacy Mungo’s top priorities, the planning and design for the City’s first premiere all-inclusive playground targeted for El Dorado Park West. The portion of El Dorado Park outside the gates off Studebaker and Barrios between Spring and Willow.
Since her time as neighborhood association president, Councilwoman Mungo has always prioritized the input of neighbors and has consistently worked closely with neighborhood associations. She has helped form park advocacy groups to organize and support community priorities that focus on our resident’s most important needs.
“When talking to neighbors I hear many ideas. Consistently I hear that parents agree: We need to invest in our outdoor play spaces, so children have areas to imagine, exercise and interact with other children,” said Councilwoman Mungo. “Ensuring our playgrounds are clean, safe and inclusive spaces ensures our differently-abled children are able to grow with and play alongside their peers.”
One coalition of neighbors call themselves PLAY Long Beach, an acronym for Park Land Advocates for Youth. Jon Schultz, the PLAY Long Beach chair said, “It’s great to know our elected leaders are listening. Working with Councilwoman Mungo, Partners of Parks, the Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association, the Morris Foundation, the Bess Hodges Foundation and Long Beach Littles has been a collaborative experience that has gained momentum and wide community support to reimagine several parks play spaces. We share the councilwoman’s commitment and are excited the mayor is proposing funding a landmark project in El Dorado Park.”
Last summer, Jon Schultz received a Long Beach community award for leading the fundraising and community build of an inclusive playground on the campus of Carver Elementary, but that playground is behind gates and now only serves the students. His passion for adding, replacing and refurbishing play spaces, keeping inclusivity front of mind, aligned with the community’s goals – this is when PLAY Long Beach was born.
Khalil Gharios, President of Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association, stated “Our Board is in full support of revitalizing park spaces and will pledge $15,000 to refurbishing the Pan American Park outdoor play space as well. We can see firsthand the benefits of having new and accessible play equipment for our young families.”
“With 1 in 40 kids being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum, there is a growing need for accessible playgrounds that all kids can enjoy,” shared PLAY’s Vice Chair Sumer Temple. “As a mother of a 6-year-old on the spectrum, I treasure places I can take my son, daughter, nieces and nephews, so that they can all enjoy an afternoon playing together. Thank you, Mayor Garcia for your commitment to working with us and Councilwoman Mungo. I hope the community will join me in making a donation toward building inclusive playgrounds in Long Beach. I will personally match the first $25,000 in donations made to PLAY through August 31st. Please join me by donating through the Partners of Parks donation portal at www.PlayLB.com or by sending a check to 1150 E. 4th Street, Room 104, Long Beach, CA 90802 (made out to “Partners of Parks” with PLAY Long Beach noted on the check memo line).
Premiere playgrounds that meet the standard safety and accessibility requirements have ranged in cost from $700,000 to $1,200,000. The planning process will determine the price tag on this project.
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PLAY Long Beach is committed to providing inspirational, educational and recreational spaces for kids of ALL ages and abilities to PLAY – www.PLAYLB.com.
Partners of Parks supports the City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine programs by managing strategic partnerships and seeking development opportunities that support PRM activities especially benefiting Long Beach teens, seniors, and economically disadvantaged children – www.PartnersofParks.org.
Lakewood Village Neighborhood Association is a grassroots East Long Beach neighborhood association comprising of community volunteers that represent about 2,200 households – https://goLVNA.org.
Long Beach Littles is a resource guide dedicated to connecting parents to fun things for kids to do in the Long Beach area – www.LBLittles.com.
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