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Heal the Bay has released its annual report card on California water quality at beaches and in waterways, and Long Beach has made huge improvements we can all be proud of.
Thanks to the hard work and collaboration of the City with the Port, upstream localities, and environmental advocates such as Heal the Bay and Surfrider, 93% of our City's beaches earned "A" and "B" grades, a huge improvement over last year, when just 75% of beaches received As and Bs.
Long Beach, surrounding cities, and the County have all been implementing cutting edge technological improvements to divert pollutants from rivers, remove debris from waterways, and address the other issues that pollute our beaches -- and our efforts are really paying off.
In addition, I want to share some of the other great things we are doing to improve our environment. We have been making incredible progress with air quality, increasing parks and green space, and making Long Beach cleaner and greener. We've also added miles of bike lanes, dozens of bike racks, and planted more than 200 trees throughout the First District.
Here are just some of the other improvements we can celebrate in our City:
The Port of Long Beach aims to be the greenest Port in the world, and is making great progress.
The Port's Clean Truck Program is becoming a model for the nation, with 11,000 new clean trucks on the road and almost a 90% reduction in emissions.
15 million dollars in grants are being distributed to the Long Beach community to combat air pollution from the new Middle Harbor project.
On shore electrical power is reducing diesel pollution from ships, and new rail systems will decrease truck trips on the 710 and other local routes
Work is soon to begin on a massive transformation of the Westside, which will create a green barrier between the Port area and Willmore City, by adding acres and acres of greenspace, a nature center, and restored wetlands to connect Drake and Chavez Parks. This is expected to reduce air pollution to residential areas.
Parks and Green Space
In just 3 years, we have opened six new parks, and two community gardens, in the First District, with 3 more set to open in the near future.
New parks and open space include:
Seaside Park: With a new soccer field, a new playground, large open spaces, and a beautiful mural of famous peacemakers by local artist Jose Loza.
Michael K. Green Skatepark: Named for a beloved local teen skater, the park serves hundreds of teens and children every week.
K-9 Corner Dog Park: The city also opened its first ever 100% solar powered park at K-9 Corner.
New City Urban Farm: The Long Beach Housing Development Company and New City School partnered to open Long Beach's first urban education farm, complete with producing beds, a chicken coop, a farm stand, and an outdoor classroom.
Willmore City Heritage Garden: The community turned a formerly run down corner of Willmore City into a lush and sustainable garden, with a water efficient irrigation system, bike racks and reused planters and benches.
Harvey Milk Promenade Park: We recently broke ground on this urban park, the first in America named after Milk, and the first park in Long Beach named after an openly gay person.
Mary Molina Community Garden: Named for avid gardener and community leader Mary Molina, whose family generously donated the land for this project, the garden is a sanctuary for neighbors and great center for community on the Westside.
The Courts @ 14th: The courts will are sized for team play and feature bleachers for spectators.
Parks and Greenspace coming soon:
Craftsman Park: This park, in a beautiful historic district that has long lacked park space, will feature native plants and walking paths, and was designed by community members. The new park will break ground later this year.
Drake Park Expansion: This massive park project, restoring Long Beach's oldest park and connecting it to the LA River, will create one of the biggest and most attractive parks in the State, with new soccer playing fields, gardens, a nature center, bike paths, and the restoration of many of the park's historic features.
Armory Park: With the help of our Parks Department and our Traffic and Transportation Staff, we have already secured the funds that will help transform the City's most dangerous intersection, at 7th and Alamitos, into a calmer and safer location.
Other major park improvements:
Jenny Oropeza Community Center: We named the community center at Cesar Chavez Park after State Senator Jenny Oropeza, whose vision and devotion were responsible for creating that park where there had once only been blight.
Pacific & 6th Community Garden: We restored and enhanced the community garden at Pacific and Sixth, including the addition of artwork, new fencing, and other improvements.
Bembridge House Garden: This quaint and small garden space is located adjacent to one of the most beautiful historic homes in Long Beach, the Bembridge House near Drake Park. This garden space was created with the help of our Parks Department as well as the women from the Bembridge House, and features native plants.
I'm proud of all the progress and the hard work from all the community leaders, businesses and City staff that made these improvements to our environment possible. I want to again thank the hard work of our Parks and Recreation Commission, Long Beach Organic, and the Port. While these projects will help transform communities, there is still much more work to do to make Long Beach the cleanest and greenest city it can be.
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