The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved reallocating a $4.3-million grant to the City of Long Beach that will pay for the first phase of a project to create a new recreational sports park at Chittick Field, historically known as Hamilton Bowl, located between Walnut and Cherry avenues, just north of Pacific Coast Highway.
The grant was approved at the board’s regional park and open space district meeting on Dec. 11.
The project, which officially broke ground on Sept. 29, includes the construction of a regulation football field encircled by a 400-meter all-weather running track, two youth soccer fields and one adult soccer field. The renovations also come with added lighting and a new parking lot.
The site, however, will remain a water detention basin for Long Beach, Signal Hill and LA County and will also feature several “bio-retention filtration planters as part of the park design,” according to a county staff report. Construction will resume in April since the county prohibits construction at any active storm-water management site during the “rainy season.”
The project will re-grade the existing bowl and add a low flow drainage system, a pump station, and various storm water treatment devices to meet current trash and bacteria reduction regulations.
The reallocation of $4.3 million will be supplemented by $650,000 in former City redevelopment funds for a project totaling more than $4.9 million, the staff report states.
The funding was derived from a neighborhood parks proposition in 1992 that allocated $6.2 million to the City. The funding was to go to fund projects at El Dorado Park and the “Hilltop Site.” However, it was later determined that the 40-acre Hilltop Site was not suitable for a sports fields because the site is hilly and has a natural spring on it. The site is now developed as a passive park with walking trails, site amenities, overlooks and native plants.
The new Chittick Field project is a replacement for the original proposal after a plan to build a grand $140-million facility was scraped in 2010. The Salvation Army first proposed to help fund the construction of a Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center at the site that would have included swimming pools, baseball and soccer fields, a gymnasium and community meeting rooms. But the Salvation Army ended up canceling the development, citing a lack of community funds raised for the project.
The new project funding was approved in addition to an addendum to an environmental impact report that includes increased water retention, new pumps and clean water requirements. The Salvation Army spent millions of dollars on preparing the environmental documents that were later donated to the City.