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The State of California just announced that they have awarded the City of Long Beach a total of $5.3 million for the development of two parks in the First District. These funds will fund the creation of the long awaited Armory Park in the East Village and Phase 1 of the Drake Park Expansion project.
Long Beach faced fierce competition in this Statewide grant solicitation, as over 400 applicants submitted proposals that totaled $1.3 billion for a limited amount of Statewide Parks Program funding. We bested over 400 applicants.
Armory Park has been a passion project of mine ever since my good friend and architect Brian Ulaszewski conceived it. He proposed this park over 5 years ago and has hosted dozens of community meetings and forums to engage the surrounding neighborhoods about the positive impact building a park in this location would have. In addition to solving safety issues, the new park will create green space in a neighborhood that has none.
When I was elected to office three years ago, I promised Brian that we would get this project done, and thanks to his dedication and ideas, we have taken a huge step forward. Armory Grant has been awarded $2.8 million that will be combined with an additional $900,000 that we have already been awarded to build this new park. The grant will allow us to reconfigure the corner of 7th and MLK, and begin to close down MLK from 7th to 6th to build the park. We will be turning the most dangerous intersection in Long Beach, into a beautiful green landscape.
In addition, we have also been awarded $2.5 million to begin Phase 1 of the Drake Park expansion project in the Willmore City Neighborhood. The state grant will fund building out two new soccer fields, walking trails, and play areas at Drake Park.
Mayor Bob Foster also released a statement today praising our Parks team, and I agree:
I am so proud of our Parks, Recreation and Marine Department staff for their continued success at securing grant dollars to improve our community. Being able to create additional open space and recreational opportunities is huge win for Long Beach and our residents. I look forward to breaking the ground of our new Armory Park and improved Drake/Cesar Chavez Park.
I will send more info as soon as I hear more. This is a great win for Long Beach, the East Village, and Willmore City.
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