Vice Mayor Rex Richardson to propose the naming of Houghton Park Community Center after community icon Doris Topsy-Elvord

Plans to recommend the naming of the new community center at Houghton Park after the first Black woman Councilmember and two-term Vice Mayor, Doris Topsy-Elvord, were announced by Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson alongside over 50 Long Beach community leaders and organizations, according to a press release.

The recommendation will be made at the Tuesday, April 6 Long Beach City Council meeting.

The naming of the center in honor of the community icon would recognize her “pioneering contributions to the community while serving as a source of inspiration for residents across the Long Beach community,” the press release said.

(Image Courtesy of Rex Richardson)

“Mother Doris laid the foundation for leaders across the city,” Vice Mayor Rex Richardson said. “She is recognized as a ‘mother of equity,’ having introduced the concepts of economic inclusion and equity to City Hall, as she was instrumental in expanding the Port’s Small Business Enterprise Program and the Green Port Policy. Her accomplishments are numerous, and her legacy will be felt for generations to come. It is past-time that she is recognized for her contributions to the Long Beach community.”

Topsy-Elvord has over 35 years of service under her belt. Notable accomplishments include co-founding the Long Beach African American Heritage Society, the historic site designation of the home of civil rights icons Ernest and Lillian McBride and the development of the Port’s Small Business Enterprise Program.

“As such, her civic service history, community engagement, and leadership continue to have lasting impacts on our whole city,” the press release said.

The Doris Topsy-Elvord Community Center will include the community center at Houghton Park and the Center for Families and Youth. The new community center accounts for over 26,000 square feet that include two large multi-purpose rooms, a courtyard, a Teen Digital Academy, a weightlifting gym, and a sound/plant garden. According to the press release, the new health center will supply the youth and families with healthcare and workforce services

“This proposal is accompanied by a growing list of citywide community leaders, community based organizations, and stakeholders,” the press release noted.

The community center serves over 95,000 residents and is open Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from noon to 4 p.m, and closed on Sunday. Services and programs offered include senior citizen activities such as crafts and dancing, youth programs such as after school and sports as well as meal programs. 

For more information about the services and programs, visit their website here.

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  1. When you start naming facilities after people, no matter how accomplished they may be, there will be a group who feels alienated. What is wrong with naming the Houghton Park Community Center just that: the Houghton Park Community Center. There is no question about where it is located and no question about the community it serves.

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