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News Highlights for the Week: Jan. 2 – 7

News Highlights for the Week: Jan. 2 – 7

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Welcome to 2024! Here are the latest local news highlights to kick off the first week of the year.


Long Beach Amplifies First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program
Stock photo via canva.com

The city of Long Beach is expanding its First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, extending opportunities for income-eligible residents citywide. Mayor Rex Richardson emphasizes the city’s commitment to realizing the dream of homeownership by enhancing this program, elevating grant amounts from $20,000 to $25,000. This expansion also removes previous geographical restrictions, enabling applicants from any part of the city to apply.

This grant-based initiative, part of the Long Beach Recovery Act aimed at revitalizing the city post-COVID-19, doesn’t involve loan or mortgage services. It specifically targets low- and moderate-income families, historically underrepresented in homeownership, aiming to assist them in purchasing their first homes and fostering multi-generational wealth. For further information on the expansion, application details, and the grant award process, interested individuals can visit the Community Development Department’s website at longbeach.gov/lbhomegrant.


 Long Beach Downtown’s Lincoln Park to Host Free Recreation Series for All Ages
Photo via yelp.com

The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine (PRM) has launched a series of free group recreation activities at Lincoln Park, situated in the Downtown area at 101 Pacific Ave. These events, which began on January 2, will continue until further notice. Here are the events that the city is offering:

Intro to Fitness with Park Equipment (13 and up): Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. offer an opportunity to learn about fitness using park equipment. This beginner-friendly class is open to individuals aged 13 and above, regardless of fitness level. It focuses on improving cardiovascular health, building strength, and alleviating stress through physical movement. Participants are encouraged to challenge themselves at their own pace within a supportive group setting.

Walking Group (all ages): On Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m., participants can join a walking group that embarks from Lincoln Park, strolling around the Civic Center and Billie Jean King Main Library. The walk, conducted on flat ground, welcomes individuals to walk at their preferred pace.

Come and Dance: Moving and Grooving (all ages): On Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m., participants will explore various freestyle dance forms accompanied by different music genres. This beginner-level class introduces line dancing and other enjoyable dance styles, inviting individuals of all ages to groove and learn together.

Play Dates in the Park (3 and up): Additionally, Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. offer a chance for casual playdates in the park, designed for children aged 3 to 12. These sessions focus on fun activities and are facilitated by the PRM team.

All these activities operate on a first-come, first-served basis. For further inquiries, individuals can contact 562.570.3551. Learn more here.


Long Beach Offers Incentive for Historic Property Preservation
Photo via longbeach.gov

The Long Beach Community Development Department has initiated the 2024 application cycle for the Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program, an economic incentive program designed to support designated historic properties within the city. The Mills Act not only aids in safeguarding historic homes but also offers substantial annual tax savings to qualified property owners. Eligibility for the program extends to owners of historic district properties, individual properties recognized as historic landmarks, and those who believe their properties hold historical significance and are willing to landmark them.

To participate in the 2024 Mills Act incentive program, applicants must attend two public workshops. The pre-application workshop, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, at Ernest McBride Park & Cal Rec Community Center, requires online RSVP for attendance. Following the pre-application workshop, eligible applicants interested in continuing the process must attend the virtual application workshop on Saturday, Feb. 10, by registering online to receive meeting details.

The submission deadline for the Mills Act application and a non-refundable processing fee is March 1. For inquiries about the Mills Act Program, individuals can contact 562.570.6194 or email MillsAct@longbeach.gov. Learn more here.


Long Beach Invites Community Input for Public Mural Program 
Flyer for Public Mural Program Survey via longbeach.gov

Long Beach has unveiled a community survey for its Public Mural Program, a facet of the Creative Grants Program funded by the Long Beach Recovery Act and managed by the Arts Council of Long Beach (ArtsLB). This initiative, aimed at supporting local arts, culture, and history entities, extends grants to nonprofits and professional artists for operational recovery, public murals, community projects, and artist fellowships. From now until Feb. 2, community members are encouraged to participate in the survey and give input on potential mural locations and themes such as cultural, health and wellness, entertainment, as well as Long Beach landmarks and history. This inclusive approach intends to ensure that the murals authentically reflect the local community. Detailed information on the survey is accessible on the ArtsLB website. Learn more here.


Long Beach Airport is Enhancing Passenger Experience and Accessibility
Photo via longbeach.gov

The Long Beach Airport is poised for infrastructure enhancements starting Jan. 8, with the launch of the Terminal Roadway Improvements Project. The initiative, endorsed by Mayor Rex Richardson and Councilmembers Megan Kerr and Daryl Supernaw, aims to streamline vehicular and passenger flow while adding facilities for those with mobility challenges. The project will bolster existing Americans with Disability Act (ADA) features, including curb access ramps, signage, handrails at drop-off and pick-up areas, and a clear ADA path to public transportation and parking facilities. Audible warning detection systems at pedestrian crossings will also be integrated.

The improvements will cost $16.6 million, with $10.6 million funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the rest from Airport revenue. Construction is scheduled primarily between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to minimize disruptions and is expected to conclude by fall 2024. Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry assures travelers of efforts to maintain convenience amid construction by providing regular updates through resources like LGBRoadImprovements.com, LinkLB notifications, a construction hotline (562.445.6439), and email (info@lgbroadimprovements.com). Additional signage will aid travelers in navigating around construction. Learn more here.

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