Urban guru and pedestrian lover Sean Warner, the Placemaking Manager at the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), once told us, “If you genuinely don’t care for making the place where your community lives more livable, you are at a competitive disadvantage. Bringing more parking downtown doesn’t bring people downtown. It’s people on the streets that attract more people.”
That is the reason behind the DLBA’s Placemaking Grants: to put more people on the streets and in parks through your own idea of what makes a space a place you want to be.
From the grandeur to the grounded, the DLBA’s Placemaking Grants have helped fund projects across the Downtown area and make them become a reality. The Children’s Gateway Garden at Cesar Chavez Park, Long Beach’s first ADA-accessible garden? Check. The Welcome to Pine Avenue neon sign, just south of 8th on the west side of Pine? Done. The golden fire hydrants? Awesome.
The small things add up—and each of the projects mentioned above (among more) were funded entirely or at least in part by the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA)’s Placemaking Grant Program.
And this year’s pot of money—$40K, of which a single proposal can earn up to $10K—is bigger, seeking bolder ideas and the chance to #BeInspired. After all, when you bring more people to the streets, especially through ideas that are harnessed to your own neighborhood, you create a better community, a stronger connection, and enhanced activity.
“The initial application [due June 24] simply asks for a description of the project in 200 words or less, how much it will cost, and how it will benefit DTLB—that’s all,” said Sean Warner, Placemaking Manager at DLBA. “We wanted to make the application process accessible to as many people as possible while at the same time spurring creative project ideas.”
The people behind eye-catching projects—reviewed and selected by the DLBA’s Pubic Realm Committee—will have to further elaborate on their projects beyond the 200-word limit if their project is chosen to move into the second phase of the selection process. Following that review, successful projects will then be chosen and will capitalize on the uniqueness of Downtown Long Beach, improve the aesthetic quality and user experience of public spaces, and/or enhance the perception of public safety.
“Ultimately, we are looking for the ideas that creatively solve simple problems or projects that aesthetically and physically contribute to the greater good of a neighborhood,” said Ryan Altoon, Chair of the Public Realm Committee. “It’s not just the mission of the DLBA to enhance the vitality and visual appearance of DTLB; it’s the prerogative of our organization to ensure that the opinions of residents and stakeholders are taken into account. After all, they know what will benefit them more than anyone else.”
The DLBA will also host an informal mixer on June 10 from 6PM to 8PM at MADE in Long Beach, located at 236 Pine Avenue, where budding idea-makers can meet and potentially collaborate with other like-minded individuals interested in applying to the DBLA’s Placemaking Grant Program. Attendance is not required but is recommended for those looking to enhance their project idea by partnering with other DTLB stakeholders. Free two-hour parking is available in the City Place parking structure on 3rd St., east of Pine.
Time to go get your mural on, DTLB. Or urban farm. Or parklet. Or…
To apply and discover examples of previous grant winners, click here. Applications are due June 24.