Thanks to the LONG BEACH PRESS TELEGRAM for helping to spread the word about the new Promenade Square Park Playground PARA is currently raising funds for.  You can donate to the playground by using the link below.  PARA is a non-profit 501c3 organization, your donation may be tax deductible.  Below is the article that ran in the Press Telegram and can be found by clicking here

A robust increase of children downtown has spurred a push for a playground on The Promenade, which stretches from Third Street to Ocean Boulevard.

New families have moved into about 380 newly constructed condominiums surrounding the downtown business and retail district, and Deb Kahookele, president of Promenade Area Residents Association, which estimates that nearly 60 percent of the new households have children.

“It’s amazing how many have had children in the past year,” she said. “And we want to keep them here.”

To determine the level of support, the homeowners — with the help of Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, who represents downtown — is conducting a survey of the residents to determine their level of support for a playground. A July 27 deadline has been set for responses.

Funding for the playground would still need to be identified, but Lowenthal has put aside a portion of one-time infrastructure funding for the project, should there be public support, according to Broc Coward, Lowenthal’s chief of staff.

The residents’ association includes those who live in the area of Ocean Boulevard and Third Street, between Pacific Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. The Promenade is one block east of Pine Avenue. The playground would be situated at Promenade Square Park between First Street and Broadway.

The area is patrolled by security personnel for the Downtown Long Beach Association.

“We don’t have a lot of problems,” said Kahookele. “The kids aren’t really around traffic. It’s very safe.”

Without a park, young families need to travel to other areas of the city, including Caesar Park about a half mile away, or Bixby Park, which is 1½ miles away.

Kristin Dunn, a resident who lives near The Promenade, said she takes her 20-month-old daughter, Vanessa, to Livingston Park in the Belmont Shore area.

“It will be nice not to travel to other neighborhoods,” she said.

Kahookele said the area provides night life for young couples, and a dog run area, but nothing for children.

“There’s quite a demand for some type of kid activity,” she said.

The proposed play area would be about 45 feet by 40 feet, to accommodate 5- and 6-year-olds. The park now includes a stage and performance area, a water feature and an adjacent aerial plaza public art sculpture.

The play area is being proposed along the interior edge of the park closest to the Promenade so as not to interfere with other activities.

Joen Garnica, of Garnica Interiors and a DLBA board member, said the growing family population is a positive trend for the city’s downtown area.

“The area is much stronger and healthier with families in downtown,” she said, adding she’s been a resident of the area for 12 years.

The online survey includes a total of seven questions and an open field for comments. Additional questions are designed to help with a playground’s design.

Residents may take the survey at Residents without a computer may call Lowenthal’s office at 562-570-6684.


Photo and story courtesy of the Long Beach Press Telegram.