Long Beach residents cheered Wednesday as bulldozers began knocking down the last tenement house where construction will begin later this year on the city’s first new park in 20 years.
In its place, according to a blueprint developed by 200 residents, will be ball fields, tennis courts, a community center and acres of open space.
During a ceremony to mark the demolition phase of the project, Councilwoman Jenny Oropeza said the 14-acre site on the western edge of the downtown residential district has been the key to renewing the once-blighted neighborhood.
“We’re no longer talking about demolition and destruction,” she said. “Now we’re talking about building.”
About $4 million is needed to complete the still unnamed park, Oropeza said. Already, the project has cost $14 million in real estate alone, not including the estimated $9 million in construction costs. She said that more private and public cash may be on the way.
“I have been assured by the city manager that we will find the money,” she said.