Park-poor North Long Beach is primed to add new green space on a site near the L.A. River, per a notice circulated by the City of Long Beach.

For several years, officials have sought to transform a currently-vacant lot at 160 W. 51st Street into the 51st Street Greenbelt - effectively an expansion of the DeForest Wetlands. The roughly one-acre site, which stretches between 51st and 52nd Street, is currently fenced off from public access. Plans call for adding recreational amenities to the property, including pedestrian trails, a cycle track, fitness equipment, play structures, landscaping, bioswales, and ADA-compliant parking.

The City of Long Beach previously obtained $2 million in federal funding for the project as of March 2023, and was at the time seeking an addition $1.45 million in grant money to cover design and construction costs.

The adjoining DeForest Wetlands, which account for 34 acres of property along the east bank of the Los Angeles River, opened to the public in 2018. It is bordered to the north by the 15-acre DeForest Park.

Long Beach has recently taken new steps to expand access to open space along its river frontage, securing $30 million in federal funding for a realignment of Shoreline Drive which will effectively double the usable footprint of Cesar Chavez Park in its Downtown area. Since then, the city has announced plans for a $900-million replacement of the aging Shoemaker Bridge, which will add new features to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians.

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