Atlantic Avenue is one of the most historically rich stretches within Long Beach but after its peak as a cultural hotspot, fell way to dilapidation and a loss business. Its residents, however, have not given up hope on restoring the famed stretch back its former glory—and the City has taken note, beginning work on an improvement project that stretches along Atlantic from 52nd Street to North Atlantic Place.
The improvement project, stretching between the 8th and 9th Districts, will come at a $3.2M cost through funds acquired by Prop C and bonds from the now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency.
Median landscaping will occur from 52nd to 56th and 59th to Aloha Drive, where drought-resistant, indigenous plants will line the street in the form of a whole new median. Along the sidewalks, stretching from 52nd to 63rd, will be new trees.
Between 56th and 59th, the project will focus on what the City call’s the stretch’s “commercial center,” which is home to the famed Atlantic Theater (which I’ll talk more about below).
In addition to the aforementioned median improvements, this area, dubbed the North Village Center, will feature new streetlights, bike racks, and trash cans. Kaleidoscope bus shelters—curved awnings over seats—will be installed at South Street, where the intersection will also be home to a bulb-out, increasing pedestrian real estate and making the space more accessible. Decorative crosswalks will also be installed in the area.
From 59th to Atlantic Place, the entire strip will be resurfaced and re-striped with asphalt that includes 15% recycled material (mostly old tires, with the project estimating to recycle over 2,200 tires).
This street improvement project follows the already-in-motion demolishing of the Atlantic Theater—the 1951 cinema staple that also joined other movie houses such as the Crest, which opened in 1947, in becoming the model for the Fox Theaters throughout Southern California—to make way for the new North Branch Public Library.
The $11M revamp—having been in discussion for over a decade and will include original parts of the theatre, including its tower cupola—will transform the space into a new 25,500 sq. ft. building into a library that will not only triple the space of the current North LB library hub at Orange and 56th Street. With a vast increase in population compared to the times when the current library was built, the new space will quadruple the public computer access while offering meeting spaces that can also act as classrooms.
The RFP contract for the new library is expected to be handed out in April, with construction expected to begin in May.
The street improvement project is expected to be completed by October of this year; however, the sidewalk improvements are still under design and its completion is unknown.