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Placemaking Challenge


The Placemaking Challenge application window has closed.  

Thank you for your interest in the Placemaking Challenge! 

What is the DTLB Placemaking Challenge?
Continuing its mission to enhance the vitality and visual appearance of DTLB, the Downtown Long Beach Associates is giving residents, business and property owners and community organizations an opportunity to apply for funding to enhance the vitality and visual appearance of Downtown Long Beach.

What’s new this year?

  1. Streamlined Application Process – The former multi-stage application process has been consolidated into one online application with the added convenience of giving users the ability save and return to their application.
  2. Extended Application Window – The application window has been extended to 10-weeks with applications due Friday, August 5, 2016 at 5PM.
  3. Increased Support – Applicants will be offered additional opportunities for assistance from workshops to one-on-one support.

What types of projects are eligible?
The project must be within the DLBA boundaries (defined as the area south of 10th Street, east of Shoreline Dr., west of Alamitos Ave, and north of the waterfront). Successful projects will capitalize on the uniqueness of Downtown Long Beach, improve the aesthetic quality and user experience of public spaces, and enhance the perception of public safety. The project must also have a lasting public benefit (Sorry! Events and private building facade improvements aren’t eligible). See below for a list of projects previously funded.

How do I apply?
Applications are to be completed online. Click here to apply. Applicants will be asked to submit a detailed application describing their project, anticipated budget, community partners, and implementation timeline. 

How much money is available?
Up to $10,000 may be awarded per project. There is a total of $40,000 available in this cycle.

How long is the application window?
The application window is open from May 31, 2016 to Friday, August 8, 2016 at 5PM.

Do I need to be a nonprofit to apply?
No. The Placemaking Challenge is open to residents, business and property owners, and community organizations. If you do not reside within the DLBA’s Business Improvement District boundaries you must have a local partner.

Do I need to raise matching funds?
No, but projects are highly encouraged to have other sources of funding. Projects that have additional sources of funding and/or in-kind contributions will be awarded additional points during the review process. Your project may also be eligible for additional funding through the City of Long Beach's Neighborhood Partners Program (NPP). Click here for NPP overview.

What are the criteria for a successful application?
The DLBA’s Public Realm Committee will be looking for projects that capitalize on the uniqueness of Downtown Long Beach, improve the aesthetic quality and user experience of public spaces, and enhance the perception of public safety. Examples of past successful applications can be found below.   

What if I need help with my application?
If you need assistance with your application the following opportunities will be available:

  1. Information Session – On Wednesday, June 15 at 6PM at MADE in Long Beach (236 Pine Ave.) the DLBA will be hosting an information session that will provide an overview of the DTLB Placemaking Challenge and offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions.
  2. One-on-One Advisor - To assist applicants through the application process an advisor will be available to provide one-on-one assistance. Advisors will be available to answer questions and provide direction with the application. All applicants that have begun their online application by Friday, July 1, 2016 will be eligible to receive one-on-one support.
  3. Drop In Application Workshop – On Tuesday, July 6 from 5:30 to 7:30PM at the Long Beach Main Library the DLBA will be hosting an open workshop where attendees can receive real time assistance with their online application. No prior online registration is required.

Who decides on finalists and winners?
The DLBA’s Public Realm Committee selects the finalists and approves the final projects and funding amounts.

How soon will I hear the decision on my application?
Qualified applicants will be invited to present their project to the Public Realm Committee on Thursday, August 18th and awardees will be notified soon after.   

Additional Questions?
If you have additional questions please contact DLBA Placemaking Manager Sean Warner at Also check this page on a regular basis for the latest information.

Click here to download a printable version of the FAQ (UPDATED 7/14/16)

Click here to download an example of a past successful application.

2015 Placemaking Project Examples (In Progress)

Urban Furniture
Pine Avenue

The Urban Furniture project aims to combine wayfinding, walkability, street art, and recycled materials. The project will feature creative street furniture designed and fabricated locally. The furniture pieces will feature local advertisements and will be created using recycled wood pallets. The furniture will create a cargo-like feel that will speak to our city’s nautical and industrial history. This $10,000 grant will contribute to the movement to make DTLB more walkable, artistic, and unique. 

5th Street Revitalization through Landscaping
Wilmore City

Located in the historic Willmore district, this $2,000 grant will improve landscaping along the parkways around the intersection of 5th street and Cedar Avenue. This intersection is located near a Metro Blue Ling stop, various local businesses, and has high pedestrian traffic. The improvements will add to the existing landscape and will include drought tolerant succulents and ground cover such as mulch, rocks, or gravel. The project aims to transform the intersection from a simple thoroughfare to a unique place and source of pride in the neighborhood. 

Children's Playground at Promenade Square Park
Promenade Square Park

This project will bring a uniquely designed children’s playground to the Promenade Square Park. This $10,000 grant will contribute to the creation of a 1,600 square foot playground that will complement the architecture and aesthetics of DTLB. Not only will the playground be an excellent amenity for families, it will also increase the overall safety of the Promenade by providing additional eyes and ears on the ground.  

Amphitheater at Cesar Chavez Park, Phase 3
Cesar Chavez Park, Willmore City

Following previous improvements to the Amphitheater in Cesar Chavez Park, this $8,000 grant will continue to realize the goal of making the park a destination for local residents and visitors alike. The project will provide for additional shaded seating areas with the installation of new benches and ADA accessible viewing areas. This grant is the third Placemaking grant secured by the Willmore City Heritage Association in their quest to make Cesar Chavez park a more enjoyable and supportive environment for our community.  

A Walk Through Time


A Walk Through Time is a project which aims to encourage walkability and a connection to the history of our city. The $10,000 grant will fund six mounted acrylic signs bearing street views of Downtown Long Beach taken since 1900. The signs will be a part of a walking loop that takes the participant through the changes that DTLB has undergone in the last 100 years. The informative signs and the walking loop will help create a sense of place by allowing residents and visitors to compare the Long Beach of the past with the Long Beach of today. 

Previous Placemaking Project Examples

Amphitheater at Cesar Chavez Park
Cesar Chavez Park, Wilmore City
The Amphitheater at Chavez Park will create a larger and more beautiful space for community events. The current size and configuration of the amphitheater stage does not allow for a variety of productions. These larger outdoor events could include theater, music concerts, yoga, and acting, music, or art classes. DLBA grant funds will be used for the expansion of the stage area, installation of sail shades, and installation of electrical conduits.

Embassy Park Renovation
419 E 5th St (East Village)
In an effort to enhance the appearance of their aging building, the Embassy Park HOA will be making
 improvements to their front entrance. The project involves building entryway enhancements,
 removal of a rusted metal fence, landscaping, permeable hardscape, and lighting on the HOA property. DLBA grant funds will be used for improvements to the adjacent public right-of-way and include installation of tree wells, tree plantings, and new landscaping. Embassy Park HOA will maintain the landscaping within the public ROW. Embassy Park HOA hopes that the improvements will lead to a cleaner, safer, and attractive street and spur adjacent property owners to beautify their property. 

Chidren's Gateway Garden at Cesar Chavez Park

401 Golden Avenue
The garden features nine raised vegetable beds, with three that are ADA accessible. Bordering the garden beds, are lime, grapefruit, orange and tangerine trees, as well as decorative rose bushes.
The project is the first completely ADA compliant fruit and vegetable garden in Long Beach. Designed to engage the community across cultural and economic lines, the garden promotes nutrition and healthy living by providing open local access to fruits and vegetables. The project was initiated by the Wilmore City Heritage Association (WCHA), through a partnership with the DLBA and several other community organizations and volunteers.

Chestnut Lot Food Forest
729 Chestnut Avenue
The Chestnut Lot Food Forest is a 10,000 sq. ft. garden in downtown Long Beach initiated by local not-for-profit Foodscape Long Beach. The formerly vacant parcel is part of an adjacent 25 unit housing complex. Community volunteers help maintain and further develop the project, getting hands on urban permaculture education. The Food Forest has hosted several classes, workshops, discussions and forums. Topics have included plant propagation, composting, food insecurity, food networking, permaculture, resource scarcity and more. 

Wilmore Heritage Garden and Jergins Pillars

(near the intersection of 7th St. and Maine Ave.)

The Wilmore City Heritage Association (WCHA), through a partnership with the DLBA and several other community organizations and volunteers, transformed a blighted and underutilized space at the intersection of 7th Street and Maine Avenue into a beautiful community garden, now known as Wilmore Heritage Garden.

A subsequent addition to the Wilmore Heritage Garden was the adaptive re-use of the Jergins Pillars, historic terra-cotta facade elements from the demolished Jergins Trust Building, that was originally located on the southeast corner of Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue.  They are now a beautiful formal entryway into the future Drake/Chavez Greenbelt. 

Alta Way Alley Beautification
125 Linden Avenue
This project aimed to turn the little-used East Alta Way alley into a pedestrian passage by removing and replacing deteriorating paving, planting trees and flowers, and creating an overall pleasant experience for East Village residents and visitors. Additional DLBA funded phases of the project included painted wall murals, seating, lighting, and art.

“The DLBA’s contribution to the NPP grant allowed us to take what was a visual blight in our neighborhood and create a warm and inviting pedestrian walkway,” said Michael Mosseli, President of the East Village Association. “Thanks to the existence of this and similar programs, community organizations like ours are able to take an active role in improving our Downtown neighborhoods.”

"Welcome to Pine Avenue" Gateway Sign
745 Pine Avenue
On August 16, 2013, North Pine Neighborhood Alliance (NPNA) and project leader Gina Herrera celebrated the completion of the “Welcome to Pine Ave” sign with a lighting ceremony that coincided with the monthly Twilight Walk.  The CIP Committee funded this project as a part of a community grant in order to provide a funding source for the residents and neighborhood groups to help beautify the Downtown.  This project has truly been a community effort to make positive physical change for the residents, businesses, and visitors.  The sign can be seen on 745 Pine Ave.

Fire Hydrant & Parking Meter Enhancement
Long Beach Boulevard
Along Long Beach Boulevard you won't find traditional red or yellow colored fire hydrants. Instead polished gold fire hydrants dot the landscape along one of Long Beach's most historic streets. The DLBA and Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau were funding partners for the Downtown Residential Council led project. Additionally the DLBA provided grant money to the DRC to enhance 256 parking meters throughout Downtown Long Beach.

Past Storefront Activation Grant Projects

The Storefront Activation Grant Program was designed to incubate art projects that temporarily occupy and fill vacant storefronts until market conditions warrant an operating business. The Storefront Activation Grant Program is not accepting applications at this time.

Nagahama, was curated by Emily Kiwa Tanaka and includes whimsically drawn cityscapes and bright colors that looks at the International City’s past, present and future. The grand opening reception, which was held on December 7, also featured art by Rowena Copon, Jennifer Hogue, Joyce Tanaka, Paul Hogue, Jeff Valiente, Forrest Butler, Sole Searching Long Beach, and the musical stylings of Peacock Social.

Long Beach Living Postcard: Miss Universe 1958
126 Linden
Created by local artist and Hellada Gallery owner Marek Dzida, Long Beach Living Postcard: Miss Universe 1958, is a living diorama of the 1958 Miss Universe Pageant, complete with walking contestants, motorized scenery elements, and hand-painted building replicas. The display was unveiled as part of the Second Saturday Art Walk. Former Miss Poland and Miss Universe 1958 contestant Alicja Bobrowska also attended and shared her experience at the pageant. The art display is especially timely since the Miss California pageant, a qualifying event for Miss Universe, returned to Long Beach this year. The exhibit will be on display for one year at 126 Linden, or until the storefront is filled with another business.

Quick Links

Click here to download a printable version of the FAQ (UPDATED 7/14/16)

Click here to download an example of a past successful application.

Key Dates

  • Wednesday, June 15 at 6PM – Info Session at MADE in Long Beach (236 Pine Ave.)

  • Friday, July 1 at 5PM –Deadline to register for one-on-one advisor support

  • Tuesday, July 12 from 5:30 - 7:30PM – Drop-In Application Workshop at Long Beach Main Library

  • Friday, August 5 at 5PM – Online application submittal due

  • Thursday, August 18 – Qualified applicants invited to present their project to the Public Realm Committee