In 45 years, if all goes according to plan, the city’s deteriorating central core will be teeming with new businesses, surrounding neighborhoods will be cleaned up and dotted with new parks, and Long Beach Boulevard will sparkle once again.
All this is forecast in the largest redevelopment project in the city’s history, and on Tuesday the City Council, with little discussion, gave the project its blessing.
The council voted 5-0 to give initial approval to the Central Long Beach Redevelopment Project Area, which includes a large portion of the city south of the San Diego (405) Freeway, north of the downtown business district, east of the Los Angeles River and west of Redondo Avenue. Councilman Douglas S. Drummond, who owns property in the area, abstained. Evan Anderson Braude, who also owns property there, was absent for the vote. Les Robbins and Doris Topsy-Elvord were on vacation.
The project will allow the Redevelopment Agency to take all future increases in property taxes within the project boundaries for reinvestment in the area. City officials estimate that by the time the project expires in 45 years, hundreds of millions of dollars will have been spent on revitalization.
Critics have said the project is too large and too vague, and several hundred skeptical property owners persuaded the council to exclude their homes from the project.
The City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the project Tuesday.