Long Beach, CA
Saturday March 18th at 10 AM Councilwoman Price will be hosting a grand opening for the new sport court in Marina Vista Park. This project came about through a unique participatory budgeting program directed at Third District residents between the age of 11 and 18. This youth participatory budgeting program is the first of its kind in Long Beach and was only the second in the nation. It was led by a volunteer committee of Third District Middle School and High School students who brainstormed project ideas, led outreach efforts, and worked with Third District staff to turn their ideas into a proposal. In the end, a total of 720 students from Long Beach’s Third District cast ballots to pick which park improvement project they wanted to see come to fruition, and the result was a sport court for Marina Vista Park. Since the vote in June 2015, Councilwoman Price has been working with Parks, Recreation and Marine to finalize designs and install the sport court that features a youth basketball half-court and 4-square.
“Giving youth a voice in their community is a great opportunity for them to make a difference they can see while also encouraging greater civic engagement. We have amazingly smart and thoughtful students in Long Beach and giving them a chance to be a part of the budget process, making concrete decisions on how their city can better serve youth puts them on the right track to a lifetime of caring about their community and taking an active role in making important decisions,” said Councilwoman Price.
Not only is this project special because of the role local youth played in the process, but also because of one of the specific youth that was a part of the committee. Luke Johnson was a member of the volunteer committee and helped to develop the program and project proposals. Unfortunately, this kind young man lost his fight with leukemia before this project could be completed. So, at the grand opening, the Councilwoman will be asking the community if they would support officially naming the sport court after Luke as a show of appreciation for his hard work and his role in the community.