Friends of Bixby Park
Members of Friends of Bixby Park gather for a picture. They are, from left, Nancy O’Neil, Neil Schneider, Daniel Tim Tim, Ketty Citterio, Claudia Schou and Ron Janus.

Another step toward a refurbished Bixby Park should get underway next month, according to the city's Public Works director, Craig Beck.

Beck said this phase would take place in the northern part of the park, between Broadway and Second Street. That also is the parcel that's home of the dog park — on the western end, near Cherry Avenue.

"The improvements will focus on providing ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility throughout the area, removal of deteriorated structures, and landscaping improvements," Beck said in an email.  "…The new paths will be colored/textured concrete similar to what was used at the Redcar Greenbelt."

For more than a decade, a group of neighbors has banded together as the Friends of Bixby Park and worked to improve the historic park. It is bounded by Ocean Boulevard and Broadway to the south and north, and Junipero and Cherry avenues to the east and west.

"Parcel One had fallen on hard times, and it's been a real community effort to try to revitalize this area of the park," said Claudia Schou, a longtime spokesperson and organizer for the group. "Over the years we've had support from Council members Gary DeLong and Suja Lowenthal. But it wasn't until Jeannine Pearce took office when city funding became available and she helped accelerate our progress."

Bixby Park has been the site of sporadic improvements over the last decade or more. A new playground was put in as part of improvements in 2015, new restrooms have been added as well as the previously mentioned dog park.

Friends of Bixby Park has raised money to install park benches, historic lighting and more. The group also has sponsored park cleanups and events, including art fairs, programming at the park's bandstand and more.

“Bixby Park is the heart of our Alamitos Beach Neighborhood and destination for all people in our community," Second District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce said via email. "Throughout my term I have worked with Friends of Bixby Park on a vision for our lovely park. Parcel 1 will keep the rolling hills and trees, with the addition of walking paths, lighting, and water for the pups advocated for by Friends of the Bixby Dog Park.

"I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition after years of visioning for the park. The park improvements were funded by the city in 2019's budget. Projects like these are made possible by residents who believe their efforts can create positive change. To all that have engaged in this project, thank you.”

Beck said there is another phase of improvements planned at the park, but it has not been funded yet.

Harry Saltzgaver can be reached at hsalt@gazettes.com.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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