Signal Hill City Council approves View Park construction

Rendering of planned View Park in Signal Hill, along Cherry Avenue south of Burnett Street (Courtesy City of SH)

Nearly 2-acre park, on Cherry Avenue one block south of Mother’s Market, scheduled to open in spring 2022.

During its Feb. 9 meeting, the Signal Hill City Council approved a contract to build a new park set to open in late spring 2022. 

View Park will run along Cherry Avenue from Burnett Street to N. Legion Drive, intersecting the cul-de-sac of E. Creston Avenue. 

The narrow but elevated 1.8-acre park will feature landscaping, a lighted walking trail and views of Long Beach and the ocean. 

Since the site has a downward slope, the park will also feature a stormwater-infiltration system to help prevent water runoff.

Aerial view of planned 1.8-acre View Park in Signal Hill, shaded in red (Courtesy City of SH)

The council approved the $2-million construction contract with the Conservation Corps of Long Beach, a nonprofit that assists at-risk youth. 

Public Works Director Kelli Tunnicliff said the project’s total cost is $3.3 million – including design, landscaping and construction – mostly funded by a $2.4-million grant from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.

Created by the State of California in 1999, the conservancy’s mission is to preserve open space for low-impact recreation and educational uses, wildlife-habitat restoration and protection, and watershed improvements.

The council also reviewed a related parking-impact study that determined there are enough parking spots on surrounding streets to accommodate the new park’s users. The study, completed in January, shows a total of 52 parking spaces available on Gardena Avenue, E. Creston Avenue and N. Legion Drive.

However, five area residents approached the council during the meeting to complain that park visitors will take up all available parking on N. Legion Drive, where most of them live. They also expressed concerns about security and increased traffic and noise from park patrons.

The council approved the park’s construction nonetheless in a 5-0 vote, noting that the City will observe parking for six months after the park’s completion to determine if there’s a problem. 

Councilmember Tina Hansen suggested the City should examine parking citywide, especially in light of new development projects such as View Park. She added that there will be time to consider alternate parking possibilities for the park as it’s constructed over the next year.

Electronic sign

The City had also wanted to install an electronic message-board at the northern entrance to the planned park at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Burnett Street, but the council decided against doing so after hearing those same residents’ concerns about how it would block the view and create a traffic distraction.

The council conceded on not installing the electronic sign there but possibly finding another place for it or donating it to a local school.

Nixed sign: Rendering of an electronic message-board that the Signal Hill City Council decided not to install at the corner of Cherry Avenue and Burnett Street following resident complaints during its Feb. 9 meeting. (Courtesy City of SH)

Councilmember Lori Woods noted that the sign was actually the original inspiration to create View Park at that site. The City had purchased the sign some years ago but couldn’t install it at Cherry Avenue and Hill Street, near City Hall, due to resident complaints. The idea for View Park came in part as a place to put it, she said. 

City Clerk Carmen Brooks noted that Signal Hill could use a message board to communicate to residents who don’t otherwise receive the City’s electronic communications through its website or social media, especially during events such as the current pandemic.

“The need is there for something that people can just drive by and see versus using an app,” she said. 

Hansen said that, like parking, communication is a bigger issue the City should address, especially to reach those without electronic devices like cellphones or laptops. 

Mayor Edward Wilson concurred that the City should provide equal access to information, which is why it had purchased the electronic message-board in the first place.

The council asked staff to report on other places to potentially install the sign for it to consider at a later date.

“We can never, ever communicate too much,” Wilson said. “The more information you can put out that people can read, the better we are.”

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