CCLB Woodyard Breaks Ground at Willow Springs ParkRelease Date: 2021-07-15
The Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB) is preparing to open a wood yard at Willow Springs Park that will repurpose lumber from removed street trees. The CCLB just signed a 20-year lease with the City for the use of the 2.6 acre space which will host 1.1 acres for the wood yard and 1.5 acres of additional habitat restoration for the park. This project was funded by a CalFIRE grant received in 2018 to keep trees out of landfills and maintain the carbon sequestered in the wood by repurposing it into furniture or art. CCLB estimates they can be up and running by the end of July.
CCLB Director, Dan Knapp, views this project as a social enterprise that can help provide funding for CCLB in addition to providing new job training opportunities contributing to CCLB’s mission, “to develop at-risk youth to reach their full potential through work, service, conservation, and education.” Knapp said this model has worked well elsewhere, but the Long Beach wood yard will be the first to source lumber from public trees. He foresees three main impacts from this program: reducing GHG emissions, providing job training, and generating job placement opportunities with program partners for youth that complete training on site. “All the youth involved in lumber ops will learn about the process and what it takes to do this work,” Knapp said. “At the end the City has offered to hire youth into the Street Tree division, and West Coast Arborist has offered to hire anyone who completes the program.”
This is a pilot program, so its future will depend on how well it is able to run in this initial phase. The CalFIRE grant funding expires in March 2022, but Knapp hopes they will be granted an extension on that funding. CCLB has already received inquiries about purchasing lumber from their yard, so the word is getting out and people are interested. Customers may also be attracted by the yard’s unique ability to track lumber to its source offering customers the ability to purchase lumber from a beloved street tree that was removed to turn into art or furniture for their home.
The City regularly removes many trees due to age, disease, and street projects. The CCLB lumber yard will be able to give them a second life while providing job opportunities for youth in our community. This is a truly sustainable enterprise and we hope you’ll consider buying CCLB’s locally sourced lumber for your next project.