Long Beach makes Westside’s Tanaka Park a permanent piece of the city

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Tanaka Park is now a permanent piece of Long Beach.

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The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, June 18, to approve the purchase of the 1.4-acre, privately-owned park on the city’s Westside for just over $1.1 million.

“This is almost a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity that we have,” Councilman Roberto Uranga, who represents the 7th District in which the park is located, “to get open space to become permanent open space in the city of Long Beach.”

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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.

The Tanaka family has continued leasing the property to the city as a park for the last 15 years.

But the family put the property on the market earlier this year, sparking concerns that the Westside could lose one of its only slivers of green space.

Last month, Uranga pledged $50,000 from his office’s budget toward an effort to buy the land for Long Beach.

In addition to those funds, Long Beach will use:

  • About $764,000 from the 1.5-cent parcel tax that Los Angeles County voters approved in 2016 for parks and open space;
  • Roughly $235,000 from Long Beach’s Construction and Demolition Funds; and
  • Nearly $56,000 from Breakers Development, LLC, the firm that’s currently renovating the city’s Breakers Hotel. Because of a reconfiguration of open space on that property, the company must supplement park space elsewhere in the city — and the folks behind Breakers chose Tanaka Park as the place to do it.

Uranga said that it’s difficult to find opportunities to add more green space in Long Beach, but he was proud to at least be able to preserve one more acre in his district for park use.

“Open space is hard,” he said. “One out of every six people in the city of Long Beach are missing an open-space opportunity to go out and recreate and create healthy lifestyles, and this park will certainly do that in perpetuity.”

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