Placemaking Grants

With the purpose of enhancing the vitality and visual appearance of DTLB and fostering community pride, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) provides funding opportunities to residents, business and property owners and community organizations for their creative placemaking ideas.

Completed Placemaking Challenge Projects:

2016 Awardees

East Village Arts District Mural Expansion (in progress)
The East Village Arts District Mural project seeks to expand the neighborhood’s outdoor mural collection by creating an outdoor art gallery along Frontenac Court and Liberty Court in the East Village Arts District. The project aims to increase foot traffic and neighborhood pride, potentially reducing litter and the perception of an unsafe environment. The project brings together renowned local and international artists and business and property owners that share a desire to beautify the East Village.

Broadway Tree Planting (in progress)
This project enhances a currently barren stretch of sidewalk in the core of Downtown by adding new tree wells and Tabebuia trees on the north and south side of Broadway between Pine Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.

Augmented Reality at Harvey Milk Park (in progress)
The project will develop a platform for Augmented Reality technology as a part of the reimagining of Harvey Milk Park and Equality Plaza into a collaborative community space. The new space will enhance and reconfigure Harvey Milk Park with amenities that allow it to serve as a functional outdoor communal space, including WiFi, charging ports, seating, and shade to create a space that encourages productivity, creativity and collaboration. The augmented reality technology provides an opportunity to teach visitors about the legacy of Harvey Milk; provide info about City and DLBA services; promote local businesses; push advertisements for local events; and more.

Urban Furniture – Pine Avenue (in progress)
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.

Step Back – Multiple Locations
Step Back is a project which aims to encourage walkability and a connection to the history of our city. The $10,000 grant will fund 3 Step Back viewing devices placed through the East Village and Downtown core to tell the story of Downtown Long Beach’s evolution. The devices are 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

2015 Awardees

5th Street Parkway Enhancements – Willmore 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 Line 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 – Promenade Square Park
This project brings 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 – Willmore 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.
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.

Children’s Gateway Garden at Cesar Chavez Park – Willmore City
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 Willmore City Heritage Association (WCHA), through a partnership with the DLBA and several other community organizations and volunteers.

2014 Awardees

Embassy Park Streetscape Landscaping – 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.

Chestnut Lot Food Forest – Willmore City
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.

Willmore Heritage Garden and Jergins Pillars – Willmore City
The Willmore 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 Willmore Heritage Garden. A subsequent addition to the Willmore 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.

Nagahama – Pine Avenue
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 – East Village
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.

Seaside Way Dog Zone
The Seaside Dog Zone is located between Elm Avenue and Linden Avenue on East Seaside Way and was created through a partnership between the Ocean Residents Community Association, Long Beach Convention and Visitors Center, the City of Long Beach, and the Downtown Long Beach Alliance.

2013 Awardees

Alta Way Alley Beautification – East Village
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 – 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.