Long Beach Councilman Roberto Uranga announces $50,000 effort to save Tanaka Park

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Tanaka Park

A 1.4-acre, privately-owned park in northwest Long Beach is up for sale — and a City Councilman has made it his mission to save the land.

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Councilman Roberto Uranga announced this week that he is dedicating $50,000 from his district funds in an effort to buy the property on which Tanaka Park sits, 1400 West Wardlow Road, so it can continue to be a community resource.

  • Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in...

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    Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in northwest Long Beach that has been used as a community green space for over a decade in Long Beach on Friday, May 17, 2019. That land is now up for sale, and City Councilman Roberto Uranga is kicking off a fundraising effort to buy the land so it can continue to be a park.
    (Photo by Brittany MurrayPress-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in...

    Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in northwest Long Beach that has been used as a community green space for over a decade in Long Beach on Friday, May 17, 2019. That land is now up for sale, and City Councilman Roberto Uranga is kicking off a fundraising effort to buy the land so it can continue to be a park.
    (Photo by Brittany MurrayPress-Telegram/SCNG)

  • Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in...

    Tanaka Park is a privately owned piece of land in northwest Long Beach that has been used as a community green space for over a decade in Long Beach on Friday, May 17, 2019. That land is now up for sale, and City Councilman Roberto Uranga is kicking off a fundraising effort to buy the land so it can continue to be a park.
    (Photo by Brittany MurrayPress-Telegram/SCNG)

“I am leading the effort to save the park by contributing $50,000 towards its purchase and land acquisition,” Uranga said in a statement Thursday, May 16. “Tanaka Park is a beautiful gem in West Long Beach that should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.”

The park has stood on the land since 2004, when its owners, the Tanaka family, worked with the city to transform it from a farming area for their business into a local green space. It includes a playground, half a basketball court and a walking trail.

Bruce Tanaka, listed in city documents as the property’s current landlord, could not be reached for comment.

The Tanaka family has continued leasing the property to the city as a park for the last 15 years; the lease was most recently renewed in 2017. Although that lease allowed Long Beach to continue occupying the lot through 2027, it included a provision that the agreement could be terminated at any time, should either Tanaka or Long Beach provide at least six months’ written notice.

But the lease also granted the city the right of first refusal to buy the property if that prospect ever arose, and it appears Long Beach is seriously considering the purchase.

The City Council directed City Manager Pat West during a closed session meeting last month to evaluate potential funding sources, submit an offer and begin negotiations to buy the parcel.

City spokesman Kevin Lee said he couldn’t provide further details because negotiations are ongoing. But, he added, any sale agreement would come back to the council during a public meeting for final approval.

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