The Children’s Gateway Garden and amphitheater at Cesar Chavez Park, Long Beach’s first ADA-accessible garden. The Welcome to Pine Avenue neon sign, just south of 8th on the west side of Pine. The soon-to-come historical wayfinding signs to grace DTLB…

The small things add up—and each of the projects mentioned above (among more) were funded entirely or at least in part by the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA)’s Placemaking Challenge. Innovative community members and creative neighbors alike can now bring their beautification ideas to fruition by way of the Challenge as application forms are now officially open here and will run through Friday, August 5, 2016 at 5PM.

Following last year’s record-setting applicant pool—where over 50 applications were received—Downtowners who believe they have an idea that can truly transform public space into a more livable space are encouraged to apply, as applications for the community-based grants officially became available online today. Individual projects can receive up to $10,000 from a $40,000 pool after proposals are evaluated based on the ability of the project to have a lasting impact on the neighborhood in the areas of public safety, beautification, and space activation. Style and execution can vary on each project; previous community projects have ranged from the upgraded amphitheater in Cesar Chavez Park (awarded in 2014 and 2015) to historical wayfinding signage (2015). The project must also be within DLBA boundaries.

“We really wanted to increase accessibility to possibly score a grant,” said Sean Warner, Placemaking Manager at DLBA. “New to this year’s application process is a streamlined wholly online version of the application, meaning that applicants have only one application that they can save and return to later if need be. Just importantly, we’ve created workshops that we will offer to those who are seeking one-on-one support to strengthen their application or simply have questions about the process.”

An orientation mixer will be held on Wednesday, June 15 from 6 to 8PM at MADE in Long Beach (236 Pine Ave.). Two hour free parking is available in the City Place parking structure on 3rd St., east of Pine Ave. Those seeking one-on-one assistance have access to advisors that 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. Additionally, on Wednesday, July 6 at 6PM (location TBD), 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.

Applications will then reviewed and selected by the DLBA’s Pubic Realm Committee, which will seek out projects that capitalize on the uniqueness of Downtown Long Beach, improve the aesthetic quality and user experience of public spaces, and/or enhance the perception of public safety.

If you have additional questions please contact DLBA Placemaking Manager Sean Warner at seanw@dlba.org. Also visit www.downtownlongbeach.org/placemakingchallenge for the latest information.