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©2010 Bob Foster
Long Beach Celebrates the Grand Opening of Harvey Milk Park and Equality Plaza
Harvey Milk Park

Mayor Bob Foster and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia celebrated the grand opening of the Harvey Milk Promenade Park and dedication of Equality Plaza.

 

“The Harvey Milk Promenade Park is an example of how a small, well designed open space can transform its surroundings and provide a profound purpose, “ said Mayor Bob Foster. “The park also serves as a place where visitors can learn about Harvey Milk and our very own Long Beach leaders who battled incredible odds for the rights of the LGBT community.”

 

Named after the late Harvey Milk, a San Francisco Supervisor and celebrated LGBT civil rights leader who was fatally shot while in office, the park features new signage, landscaping and enhanced paving, special lighting, seating and community chess tables.

 

“I’m proud that we are opening the first park in Long Beach named after an openly gay person, and the first park in the nation named after civil rights leader Harvey Milk,” said Vice Mayor Garcia. “The focal point of the park is Equality Plaza, an area dedicated to recognizing local area LGBT leaders and their contributions to Long Beach and the gay civil rights movement.”

 

The plaza includes a concrete replica of the soapbox on which Milk stood to inspire crowds when he spoke, and a 20-foot flagpole to fly the gay pride flag.

 

Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to office in California, and the first gay male elected official in American history. He brought mainstream attention and support to the LGBT movement with his courage and commitment to social justice.

 

In 1978 Supervisor Milk came to Long Beach where he passionately encouraged people to campaign against a California initiative that sought to bar gays and lesbians from working in public schools. Shortly thereafter, on November 27, 1978, Supervisor Milk and Mayor George Moscone were shot to death by a former supervisor who had recently resigned from the Board of Supervisors.

 

The Park also brings new prominence to “Long Beach Recreation,” a historic Works Progress Administration (WPA) mosaic mural, located at the northern terminus of The Promenade in Harvey Milk Promenade Park. The monumental mosaic illustrates many local activities and pays homage to its original location at the former Municipal Auditorium (now home to the Convention & Entertainment Center). Originally installed in 1938, the mosaic was saved from demolition and installed at CityPlace in 1982.

 

Funded by the former Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA), the Park is part of the third and final phase of The Promenade Master Plan, which incorporated pedestrian-oriented improvements on the three blocks of The Promenade from Ocean Boulevard to the north side of 3rd Street, transforming a stark, underutilized, concrete pedestrian walkway and performance venue into a safe, friendly, and beautiful space for residents, visitors and business people in the Downtown to enjoy.

 

The Promenade Master Plan included upgraded storm drains, new landscaping, lighting and traffic signals, gateway signage, community chess tables, a dog rest area, bike racks and public art. Three new residential projects have been developed and multiple businesses have opened along The Promenade, along with a new and expanded Bikestation Long Beach.

 

The Promenade Master Plan Improvements has succeeded at improving the pedestrian experience along these three blocks – providing safety, increasing aesthetic appeal and supporting a vibrant Downtown.

 

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Equality Plaza – Honorees

Robert Crow – Co-Founder and Current Co-President, Long Beach PRIDE

Ray Lowen – Founding member of The Center; Activist and Artist

Patty Moore – Former Chair and Assistant Director, The Center; Longtime Activist

Michael Noll – First openly gay Signal Hill Councilmember; The Center Board

Frank Rubio – Former President, Current Vice-President, Long Beach PRIDE

Ellen Ward – Signal Hill Councilmember, Former Executive Director AIDS WALK

 

Posthumous

Pastor Michael Cole – Founder, Christ’s Chapel Long Beach;

Founder, AIDS Food Store

Ellen “Mary” Martinez – 25-year member of Long Beach PRIDE;

Board Member, The Center

Jean Harris – Former Executive Director,

California Alliance for Pride and Equality; Political Leader

 

 

 

Harvey Milk Park

 

05-21-13 Harvey Milk Park (4)

Mayor and Vice Mayor stand on a replica of the soapbox that Harvey Milk was known for.

Harvey Milk Park

 

Harvey Milk Park

 

Harvey Milk Park

©2010 Bob Foster
Coming Soon to Orizaba Park: A New Community Center
Credit Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau

A Center for Neighborhood and Youth Programs

 

May 7, 2013

 

LONG BEACH – A new grant-funded community center is coming to Orizaba Park.  Tonight, the City Council approved the contract for the new community center, which will include vital after school programs and much more. The community center is the first of its kind in the area and is funded by a $2.2 million dollar state grant.

 

“Long Beach residents will soon have access to a great community center at a popular park,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “The Community Building will be an added accomplishment to all of the wonderful upgrades Orizaba Park has seen in the past few years.”

 

“A tired kid is a good kid, and this new center will create many tired kids,” said Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell. “This new addition to the Park will provide a space for much needed programs and keep kids busy during the after school hours.”

 

Located at the corner of 14th Street and Orizaba Avenue, the park has undergone significant construction to expand and improve its facilities. Some of the enhanced facilities include a skate park, basketball courts and physical training equipment. The new community center is intended to provide after school programs, digital academy training and potential space for neighborhood groups, meetings and events.

 

Orizaba Park holds a firm place in Long Beach’s history and continues to serve as an anchor for the communities in the west end of the Fourth District.

 

For more information, please contact the office of Councilmember Patrick O’Donnell at (562) 570-6918.

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©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: YMCA, Best Buddies Friendship Walk and Baker Street Park
Baker Park

Mayor Foster attended several events on Saturday.

 

The YMCA of Greater Long Beach hosted the Healthy Kids Day, a community event at Heartwell Park.  The free event included Fire Truck Tours, a Petting Zoo, Mobile Technology Lab, Cooking Demos, and Bike Safety Stations.

YMCA Healthy Kids Day

Mayor Foster with Sue Baker of YMCA of Greater Long Beach.

 

Mayor Foster helped to kick-off the 3rd Annual Best Buddies California Friendship Walk.  The Friendship Walk fundraiser benefits the seven Best Buddies programs in California: Middle School, High School, and College friendship programs, Jobs, Buddy Ambassadors, E-buddies and Promoters.  Best Buddies is a nonprofit dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Best Buddies

The Mayor with David Gauthier, one of the Best Buddies participants. David works in Mayor Foster’s office.

 

Saturday was also the grand opening of Baker Street Park. The new 1.25-acre park includes picnic areas, a small universally accessible playground and a walking path.

 

 

The park project is funded with $500,000 from the Los Angeles County Park District, $100,000 from Long Beach Container Terminal Inc. and park impact fees. Partners of Parks accepted the $100,000 donation from the Long Beach Container Terminal Inc. to be able to include the small universally accessible playground at the park.

 

Baker Street Park

Councilman James Johnson and Mayor Foster with members of the Encinas family. In the 1900s Gregorio Encinas purchased the land that is now the site of Baker Street Park from the Bixby family. The Encinas family was one of California’s early pioneering families and used the land to create a large ranch and farm.

 

 

 

 

Baker Street Park

Baker Street Park ribbon-cutting

 

©2010 Bob Foster
Occidental Petroleum Corporation Donates $1 Million for Chittick Field Improvements
Occidental Petroleum Corporation Chittick Field

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster announced today that Occidental Petroleum Corporation has donated $1 million to help fund improvements to Chittick Field. The 19-acre site near Pacific Coast Highway and Walnut Avenue is being revitalized with the construction of a new sports park with soccer fields, a football field, a track, restrooms and parking.

 

“Occidental Petroleum’s act of great corporate citizenship will benefit families in our community for years to come,” Mayor Foster said. “This generous donation will help improve an area of the City that is severely lacking in open space and recreational opportunities for youth.”

Chittick Field was developed more than 60 years ago with baseball and soccer fields, but has since fallen into disarray, which has led to the discontinuation of City sports league play. However, Chittick Field remains very popular with the community, and the improvements at the site constitute one of the largest park projects in Long Beach in several years.

“Oxy is proud to be a part of the Long Beach community,” said Stephen I. Chazen, President and CEO, Occidental Petroleum Corporation. “Our contribution to Partners of Parks for revitalizing Chittick Field is a reflection of our successful partnership with the City of Long Beach and our commitment to our neighbors in Long Beach.”

When this phase of improvements is complete, Chittick Field will feature two youth soccer fields, one adult soccer field, one regulation football field surrounded by a 400-meter all weather track-and-field track, a parking lot for approximately 136 vehicles, and a bike path connecting the area to the Pacific Electric Right of Way Bike Path.

“Occidental Petroleum’s generous donation will go a long way toward revitalizing Chittick Field, and the community as well,” said Councilmember Dee Andrews, who represents the 6th District. “Chittick Field will soon be thriving with adults and children enjoying themselves, playing sports and leading happier, healthier lives, thanks to these 19 acres that are for all of Long Beach to enjoy.”

The funds were accepted on behalf of the City of Long Beach by the non-profit Partners of Parks organization. Other funding sources include the County of Los Angeles, Park and Open Space District, and City of Long Beach Open Space Bonds.

“The mission of Partners of Parks is to support public parks, recreation and marine programs and facilities in the City of Long Beach. The board of Partners of Parks is proud to dedicate 100 percent of these funds from Occidental Petroleum to a project that will have so much impact on the community,” said Partners of Parks Executive Director Drew Satariano.

Chittick Field is also an active stormwater management facility. Construction on the first phase of improvements will begin in mid-April, and also include a low-flow drainage system, a pump station, and various storm water treatment devices to meet current trash and bacteria reduction regulations.

Future plans for the site include bleachers, lighting and a concession stand.

# # #

Above photo (left to right): Drew Satariano, director of Partners of Parks; Mayor Foster; Stephen Chazen, president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation; Councilmember Dee Andrews; and Geoffrey King, Partners of Parks Board President.

©2010 Bob Foster
Harvey Milk Promenade Park Groundbreaking Ceremony

 

Mayor Foster joined Councilmember Robert Garcia, Stuart Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation and several others at the Harvey Milk Promenade Park groundbreaking ceremony. 

The Harvey Milk Promenade Park is the first park in America to be named after the late Harvey Milk, and the first park in the City of Long Beach named after an LGBT leader.

Harvey Milk became the first openly gay person to be elected to office in California, and the first gay male elected official in American history, who brought mainstream attention and support to the LGBT movement with his courage and commitment to social justice.

 

Mayor Foster, Stuart Milk and Councilmember Garcia cut a cake in honor of Harvey Milk's birthday.

 

Mayor Foster with Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk's nephew and representative of the Harvey Milk Foundation.

 

Nine members of the local LGBT community were also recognized and will be inducted at the Harvey Milk Promenade Park.

©2010 Bob Foster
Long Beach Awarded $5.3 Million for Park Improvements

The State of California recently awarded $5.3 million in grant funds to the City of Long Beach for park development activities at Armory Park, and Drake / Cesar Chavez Park.

“It is so gratifying to again add urban open space and grow our parks portfolio,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster. “The Drake/Chavez Greenbelt increases active recreational opportunities and bicycle connectivity while Armory Park is an incredibly creative, community-driven idea that has been 5 years in the making. Our focus on park space is paying off — these are both huge wins for Long Beach residents and I can’t wait to see these finished projects.”

Long Beach faced fierce competition in this Statewide grant solicitation, as over 400 applicants submitted proposals that totaled $1.3 billion for a only $150 million of available Statewide Parks Program funding. Long Beach bested over 400 applicants, and will receive $5.3 million for park improvements at Armory Park, and Drake / Cesar Chavez Park.

“Building Armory Park has been a passion of mine since first coming into office, and I am delighted that the East Village will finally get its park,” said First District Councilman Robert Garcia. “In addition, these grants will also fund phase one of the Drake/Chavez expansion that will include two new soccer fields and play areas.”

Funding will assist with the development of Armory Park, a new 0.84 acre park at the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Alamitos Avenue and Sixth Street. Armory Park will host a new playground, half-court basketball court, exercise equipment and skate elements – all features that have been popular at various parks through the City. Long Beach’s newest park will also feature an art garden and sustainable landscaping around a brand new multi-use plaza and amphitheater. These facilities will be available for community use, free of charge.

Improvements that are planned at Drake / Chavez Park feature a Greenbelt that will connect the two parks, and a parkway trail leading to Anaheim Street. These accessibility components, coupled with two new soccer fields that will be constructed in the future, will provide ample green space for positive recreation.

The City’s Parks, Recreation and Marine Department is a leader in the industry. Recognized for providing outstanding facilities, programs, and management that reflect the needs and interests of a diverse community, the National Parks and Recreation Society awarded Long Beach the prestigious Gold Medal Award. The City has held this recognition for the past three years, and will continue to uphold these values as new parks are developed in areas of need through the City.

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©2010 Bob Foster
Follow the Mayor: Chittick Field/California Gardens press conference

This morning, Mayor Bob Foster, Councilmember Dee Andrews and Councilmember James Johnson announced a creative partnership for two major park projects that will significantly increase active and passive recreation opportunities in Central Long Beach.

Funding has been secured to revitalize 19-acre Chittick Field with a brand new sports complex, including three soccer fields, a football field and an all-weather running track at one of the busiest parks in Long Beach. Additionally, funding has been identified to begin developing California Gardens with a 3-acre park and trail featuring sweeping panoramic views, and will serve as an anchor for future improvements that are proposed for 48-acre California Gardens.

Mayor Foster says hello to a group of Long Beach youth who were practicing soccer at Chittick Field.

The group gets ready to throw out/kick the ceremonial footballs and soccer balls. (Left to right) Councilmember Johnson, Parks and Recreation Commission President Brett Waterfield, Councilmember Andrews, Mayor Foster, former NFL player Willie McGinest, and Connie Sziebel (Supervisor Knabe's office).

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