As we enter this new year, and the new decade, I’m reflecting on all the incredible changes Long Beach has experienced over the past year and the past 10 years, and looking forward to many opportunities for continued growth and progress in our community.
With more than $4 billion in private and public investment in 2019 alone, and more infrastructure investment this past decade than we’ve seen in generations, Long Beach is in the middle of an extended economic boom, and we are poised to have the best decade this city has ever seen.
As I’ll report in my State of the City in a couple of weeks, our city is strong and getting stronger. The last 10 years — like the 10 years before — were a period of profound transformation in Long Beach, overwhelmingly for the better, and the next decade holds the promise of more opportunities, more progress, and more prosperity.
Unemployment is at historic lows and Long Beach is leading the way by attracting new industries in space manufacturing and technology. New small businesses continue to open and young entrepreneurs are making Long Beach their home.
Long Beach is under construction across the entire city with new developments, housing, retail centers and a quickly changing downtown skyline. Later this year, we will open our largest infrastructure project yet: the new port bridge that will connect us to Los Angeles and is one of largest public projects in California.
Thanks to the support of the community and the passage of Measure A, we are also in the middle of delivering on our own major infrastructure plan. More sidewalks and streets are getting repaved today than in the last 50 years. And we are just getting started. Our Measure A program will continue to invest in every neighborhood in Long Beach until we have rebuilt our city for the future.
This next decade will continue a transformation of our public infrastructure and continue a focus on residential neighborhoods and public buildings.
We also continue to make public safety our top priority. Long Beach has once again ended the year with an overall decrease in violent crime. And we continue to experience the lowest levels of homicides since we began recording the crime rate in the 1980s. Our overall decrease in crime remains an important measure of progress. We still have much work to do to make every neighborhood safe, but I’m grateful to the amazing work of our Long Beach Police officers and our community neighborhood groups.
We will also continue to work on the largest challenge of our time: homelessness. We’ve housed more than 5,000 people in the last five years but there is still so much more work ahead and I’m grateful to the City Council for making this their top priority. Our first municipal shelter opens later this year.
I’m also incredibly proud that Long Beach has emerged as an international leader on progressive issues like marriage equality, immigrant rights, and climate change.
I believe our inclusive values are part of why so many young people want to move here.
We are also getting ready for the biggest event that will ever take place in Long Beach — the 2028 Summer Olympics. We will begin rolling out major initiatives and plans to ensure a successful and welcoming LA 2028 Olympics.
As we begin this new year and new decade, I want to thank the people of Long Beach for being the heart and soul of our city and wish you and yours happiness and health in 2020 and the decade to come.
Go Long Beach!
Robert Garcia became mayor in 2014 and was elected to a second term in 2018.