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June 2, 2009
On Tuesday June 2, the City Council approved the new 14th Street Skate Park. This new First District park will be built using federal stimulus money that the Obama Administration approved for Long Beach.
The neighborhood surrounding the 14th Street Park has many challenges. These funds will be used to renovate and greatly expand the existing skate park. This new park will serve as an important place for young people to gather and participate in fun, positive activities. This park is also important in deterring youth from gangs and negative influences.
Councilmember Garcia began meeting with city staff regarding the park as soon as he took office, and has made improving area parks a priority for his first term.
Several people and organizations helped make this new skate park possible: Former Long Beach City Councilmember Mike Donelon who has been a tireless advocate for this park and the young people who use it; Linda Palacios who is a strong advocate for the park and the surrounding neighborhood; Better Balance for Long Beach who adopted the park and whose members have spent years supporting the youth and community; city staff in the Parks and Recreation and Neighborhood Services departments who worked diligently to make the park a reality; and former Long Beach Councilmember and now State Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal who worked for many years improving the park and the local community.
Most important, however, are the young people who not only spoke eloquently at the Council meeting on behalf of the park they love, but who have also chosen to engage in a healthful, positive activity. Councilmembers and those in the audience at Tuesday’s meeting were universally impressed and inspired by the passion and sincerity of the young men who addressed the Council.
The skate park is just the beginning of a larger project. Councilmember Garcia has asked the community to help re-imagine the 14th Street parks as a “seamless green corridor that will improve the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods and set a shining example for the entire city.”
With design plans already in place, construction on the new renovated park will begin later this summer.
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