Last night, the City Council took a final vote and selected a construction team to build a brand new park, pictured below: Gumbiner Park. The new park, which will occupy what is currently Martin Luther King Avenue between 7th and 6th street, directly across from the Museum of Latin American Art, will not only add needed green space to this dense neighborhood, it will also improve one of the city’s most difficult traffic issues by simplifying the intersection and calming the flow of vehicles. It’s a huge win for downtown and our entire city.
This project is the culmination of years of hard work and planning involving multiple city departments, numerous community groups and countless residents who gave their time and ideas to improve this unique part of our downtown. Because this project is so important and positive, it was one of my top priorities when I served as First District Councilmember, and I want to thank current First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez for continuing the progress we made and seeing it through to completion. I also want to acknowledge Brian Ulasewski, who has been instrumental in its planning and fruition from the inception of the project.
The new park, named after the late local philanthropist Dr. Robert Gumbiner, will include a playground, pedestrian promenade, picnic area, skate plaza, a great lawn, native plants, and plenty of shady, peaceful areas to sit and relax. There will also be programs for youth. Almost all the funding for the park’s construction comes from State Prop 84 and Caltrans grants. Those funds will also support changes to the traffic in the area, including parts of 6th and 7th street becoming two-way.
Construction is scheduled to begin this spring, and we’ll kick it off with a groundbreaking ceremony that I hope you can attend. Gumbiner Park will be a fantastic and unique addition to Long Beach, and I look forward to seeing many of you there once it opens.