A new report published by the City of Long Beach has identified an empty property on the east bank of the Los Angeles River as an opportunity site for a new public park.

The empty site on the east bank of the L.A. River is owned by Los Angeles CountyGoogle Maps

The report, which was initiated at the request of the Long Beach City Council, recommends that the city pursue the development of public open space on an 11-acre property located immediately north of the 405 Freeway.  The land, which is owned by Los Angeles County, is currently undeveloped, but accessible via the L.A. River Bike Trail.

The County, according to the report, has put all future plans for the property on hold in order to work with the City of Long Beach to redevelop the site as a park.  The estimated cost of such a project would be $27.5 million, a figure which does not include the potential cost of leasing the land from the County.

Staff estimates that the planning process for the proposed park, including community input, environmental review, engineering, and design, would take upwards of 30 months.

Vacant properties considered as park opportunity sites by City of Long BeachCity of Long Beach

The report which recommended the L.A. River site examined more than 122 properties across Long Beach as park opportunities, gradually distilling that list down to nine sites, of which the County-owned land emerged as the favorite.

Among the properties dismissed from consideration is a 20-acre lot located directly south of the 405 at 712 W. Baker Street.  That property is also vacant, but currently in the midst of entitlement proceedings for the construction of up to 226 homes.  However, Newport Beach-based Integral Communities would leave roughly five acres of land at the northernmost corner of the property undeveloped to serve as open space.

The County site also neighbors a property at 3701 N. Pacific Place, which community activists have pushed to convert to park space, though its owner is planning a self storage facility and RV parking lot on the land.

Long Beach's plans for a new park would dovetail with countywide efforts to add new open space along the banks of the meandering L.A. River channel, which runs from 51 miles between the San Fernando Valley and San Pedro Bay.  The Lower L.A. River Master Plan previously examined several sites as open space opportunities to the south of Downtown Los Angeles - including properties in Long Beach.

Long Beach park equity mapCity of Long Beach

While Los Angeles County as a whole is known for its dearth of public open space, Long Beach is an exception to the rule.  In the Trust For Public Land's 2020 Park Score index, Long Beach ranked 23rd out of large cities nationwide, and fourth in California behind Irvine, San Francisco, and San Diego.  The City of Los Angeles ranked 49th in the index.