Admiral Kidd Park History

This 12.29-acre park is located on the west side of Santa Fe Avenue, between Hill and Willard Streets. The original 4.74 acres of this park was purchased in 1941. On March 25, 1942, the Long Beach City Council named the park Isaac C. Kidd Park, in honor of Rear Admiral Kidd, who was killed in action at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Admiral Kidd was a Commander stationed on the U.S.S. Arizona Flagship of Battleship Division 1. He resided in Long Beach.

The park site was used by the armed forces during World War II. Construction of all walks and promenades were completed on July 11, 1946. In 1947, Local Realtor Rex L. Hodges donated a 175’ x 330,’ or 1.3 acre parcel of land to enlarge the park, bringing the park’s total to 6.1 acres. In December 1954, the City Council approved a development plan that included a baseball field, a playground, a small recreation center/restroom building and a Boys Club clubhouse. The enlarged park was opened in 1956.

In the late 1970’s, the Westside Neighborhood Facilities Center was built in Admiral Kidd Park. Built with federal grant funds, the facility center was originally shared by recreational and health programming, but the Health and Human Resources Department (HHD) programming grew throughout the 1980’s until HHD had almost total use of the facility by the early 1990’s.

On February 16, 1988, the City purchased 1.5 acres of adjacent land from a Southern California Edison maintenance yard for a youth soccer field. The City also acquired land from the naval housing project site, south and west of Admiral Kidd Park. In 1991, the ARCO company donated funds and labor to renovate the park, including installing a new playground.

By May 6, 1997, with the decision made to allocate the naval housing site land to Long Beach Unified School District, the Job Corps program, veterans housing, and California State University Long Beach, the City developed a new master plan for Admiral Kidd Park to expand north to Hill Street. On that date an additional 2.05-acre purchase was approved by the City Council. In 2004, the expansion to Hill Street was completed including a new soccer field, new game courts, and a badly needed new parking lot. Most of the funding for the land purchase came from the Los Angeles County Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Act of 1996, and the construction funding came from that bond act, the 2002 California Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond Act, Park Impact Fees and Redevelopment Agency North Long Beach Project Area (NLBPA) funds.

The original 1954 1,660-square foot recreation center was grossly inadequate to the needs of the park by the beginning of the 21st Century. Thus, the new 4,500 square foot Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center was constructed and opened on March 24, 2007 with four times as much space from recreational programming and community events. The new Community Center includes a social hall, fitness room, game room, kitchen, staff offices and restrooms. The building is designed with a series of French doors so that adjoining patio areas can be used for indoor/outdoor programming and events. Funding was provided by the federal Urban Park and Recreation Recovery program, park Impact Fees and NLBPA funds.

On November 6, 2007, Admiral Kidd Park reached its current size with the acceptance by the City Council of a parcel to the south of the park to Willard Street from the NLBPA of 3.03 acres. The NLBPA had acquired the property in 2005 and cleared the site of a blighting industrial building complex known as the “Green Monster” before transferring the property to the City for Admiral Kidd Park expansion.

On December 9, 2008, the City Council rezoned the site for park use and approved the development plan of primarily passive use of the new section with walkway, lawn, and a new parking lot. Also included is renewal of the existing oldest sections of the park with a new playground, and improved sports fields. Development is expected in 2009 with funding from NLBPA, State Safe Neighborhood Parks Bonds Act of 2004 and Park Impact Fees.

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