Long Beach council approves plans for new soccer field along LA River
Plans for new soccer fields adjacent to Drake Park received a green light Tuesday from Long Beach’s City Council. The athletic fields are part of City Hall’s plans to establish green spaces along the eastern bank of the Los Angeles River bed linking Drake Park to Cesar Chavez Park. In addition to approving new soccer fields, the council on Tuesday moved forward with other river-related plans by approving a funding deal with Caltrans for a stormwater treatment plant and appointed one of their own members, Al Austin, to a new regional body responsible for river planning.
“In the larger context, this has been a long time coming,” Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez said after the meeting in reference to the planned fields after the meeting. “I’d like to re-imagine this as a whole master plan.”
Gonzalez, who represents the area where City Hall plans to build the new fields, said existing plans for a Drake/Chavez Greenbelt can be updated to account for other developments along the Los Angeles River’s course through Long Beach. Besides issued discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, those also include the Shoemaker Bridge replacement project.
Plans for the newly-approved project calls for the construction contractor, C.S. Legacy Construction of Pomona, to lay out an artificial turf field on nearly 9 acres of land. Plans also include an “informal” natural grass field, a walking trail and new parking spaces.
Project specifications also call for cork and sand material to be used as an infill material for artificial turf. Long Beach’s parks commission established a policy last year mandating natural infill materials be used instead of less expensive crumb rubber in light of developing concerns that rubber materials obtained from recycled tires may pose cancer risks.
The city’s contract with C.S. Legacy Construction includes a contingency that brings its maximum value to nearly $2.9 million. City Hall projects the project’s full cost at roughly $3.8 million.
Funding for the soccer fields includes about $2.5 million in Proposition 84 grant dollars from state government, $300,000 from Los Angeles County government and about $1 million in one-time city dollars allocated to the project in the Fiscal 2014 budget.
The new soccer fields are expected to be completed in February, according to a city memo.
Council members cast another unanimous vote to Tuesday to approve a $28 million financing agreement with Caltrans for the design and construction of a stormwater treatment plant — formally named Long Beach Municipal Urban Stormwater Treatment Recycle Facility or LB-MUST.
Plans call for the plant to be built around Sixth Street and Shoreline Drive, near Shoemaker Bridge along the east bank of the Los Angeles River. The new facility would be designed to prevent urban runoff from carrying various pollutants into the river and Pacific Ocean, expanding upon existing facilities’ capacity to prevent water from carrying garbage into the river.
Long Beach officials have also applied to the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, a government agency, for $2 million for a wetlands project in the same area.
Long Beach Public Works Director Craig Beck told the council the planned stormwater facility may be in operation in about three years.
A third unanimous vote confirmed 8th District Councilman Al Austin to the Lower Los Angeles Working Group.
Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount, sponsored legislation to create the regional group before his election to Assembly Speaker.
The working group is responsible for planning for the restoration of the Los Angeles River from points south of Los Angeles’ city limits to Long Beach.
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