(March 5, 2012, 8:40 p.m.) -- Citizens About Responsible Planning (CARP), the grassroots group that has pursued an ongoing legal challenge to City Hall's desire to build a Belmont Beach Aquatic Center (BBAC) adjacent to the sand in affluent SE Long Beach, has offered to drop its lawsuit if the City Council agrees to build at least two pools serving historically disserved parts of the City.
One way or another, that Council vote is coming.. That's because a Feb 11, 2021 Coastal Commission vote withheld final approval of the BBAC unless the City commits to equity/environmental justice actions -- and brings them back for Coastal Commissioners' review and approval -- to try to address the proposed location of the BBAC in affluent SE LB several miles distant from working class and historically disadvantaged LB neighborhoods. .
Belmont Beach Aquatic Center proposed site.
Calling for a Swim Center Social Equity Plan that includes new pools in underserved Long Beach neighborhoods, CARP said it would drop its lawsuit against the $80+ million proposed BBAC if City Hall commits to building public pools in underserved Long Beach neighborhoods. A CARP release didn't specify locations but Long Beach Council districts 1 and 8 have no recreational pools.
[Scroll down for further.] .
CARP says trying to remedy inequities in the SE LB location is inferior to actually providing pools for historicslly disserved neighborhoods "A more equitable solution is for the City of Long Beach to commit to building two or more additional public pools directly in the neighborhoods which need them most, said CARP boardmember and former 8th dist. Councilwoman (2004-2012) Rae Gabelich. "Pools in additional underserved locations would provide more equity and would be better situated to serve all City residents, youth as well as elderly, handicapped and disabled."
CARP boaardmember Joe Weinstein, Ph.D said the City’s present plan doesn't fully address Long Beach equity issues. CARP Boardmember Renee Lawler said under the City’s plan, "some youth from underserved neighborhoods would be bused to the proposed BBACin Belmont Shore" imposing "extra travel inconvenience and lost time precisely on folks who are already disadvantaged."
"Many handicapped and disabled persons, both young and old need to travel 10 miles or more across Long Beach to the proposed BBAC site" said Fran Itkoff, leader of the Long Beach/Lakewood MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Support Group said, "It is important for our MS family to have more handicap accessible pool facilities available in addition to locations like the [WLB] Silverado Pool we have used for years”." p>
Building the project along the coast (site of the seismically challenged Belmont Plaza pool built in 1968 before Coastal Act) has let City Hall avoid tapping General Fund money...thus far. City management's current cost estimate (about $ 82-$85 million) is over two years old and management has acknowledged that using $60 million in Tidelands funds still leaves project short of needed funding by at least $20-$25 million. That sum, and possibly more, would have to come from sources currently unidentified in an amount currently unknown when management brings it to the Council for a recorded Council vote.
A lawyer for a City Hall hired law firm called CARP's offer to settle the case by agreeing to build two pools in historically disadvantaged neighborhoods a "non-starter" but he doesn't decide; a Council majority will.
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