<!-- Missing image removed: -->The Long Beach Greenbelt
is different from the traditional notion of community recreational parks. Originally slated to become a block of self-storage units, it was instead transformed by community activists into an open space habitat for California native plants.
The site served for over half a century as a portion of the Pacific Electric Red Car line
, linking Orange County to downtown Los Angeles. A mural on a garage wall facing the Greenbelt still depicts the old Red Car. Varying factors caused the closure of the Los Angeles - Long Beach route in 1961; and the site sat mostly vacant until approximately 1999. It was described by an EPA website as "a weed strewn and derelict vacant area". A group of local residents and environmental activists staunchly opposed the conversion of the site to a gated community of single family homes on one portion and self-storage units on another, citing Long Beach's lack of per capita open space land (3.11 acres per 1,000 population).
Uniting as the Long Beach Greenbelt Committee in March 1998, they successfully lobbied to have the entire of the abandoned Red Car right-of-way
remain open space. This preserved an almost pathway from a densely populated portion of the city directly to the park surrounding the Colorado Lagoon. Organizing grants, donations and volunteers the Committee cleared a portion of the site of non-native plants, spread mulch over the entire... Read More