City asks for half million to plan land project

<I>Submitted map</I><BR>The city of Long Beach is seeking funds to preserve and develop the more than 60 acres seen here. Most of the area labeled "Long Beach Park" was transferred to the city from Washington State Parks last October.

LONG BEACH - The city has announced plans to preserve and develop the land between downtown and the boardwalk. Part of this area was acquired by the city in a land transfer last October.

Mayor Ken Ramsey said the public needs to get involved to ensure land is used properly, and the city has gone to the Washington Legislature to ask for $500,000 to begin the planning process.

"The whole thought is engaging the citizens and community leaders, find out what they want, and put this package together the way we want for the future," said Ramsey. "Everybody has an idea, but we need to conform it all together."

Ramsey met with legislators last week in Olympia to discuss the possibility of receiving as much as half a million dollars for the planning project, which would involve public testimony and help from a consulting firm.

Rep. Velma Veloria, D-Seattle, who is the vice-chair of the Capital Budget committee contacted Ramsey because she had heard Long Beach was in need of some planning, and she asked Ramsey to submit a proposal for the money.

The House Capital Budget Committee approves money for the construction and repair of public buildings and for other long-term investments, such as land acquisitions and transfers.

The capital budget also includes state money that is either given or lent to local governments or nonprofit organizations for infrastructure, housing, and cultural and heritage facilities.

"This money is not a line item," said Ramsey. "So if it does not come to Long Beach it will be spent somewhere else for some other rural economic development."

In the proposal drafted by Ramsey and city staff, most the land between the central commercial district in downtown Long Beach and the ocean beach boardwalk would be preserved for its open space. A smaller portion located along Sid Snyder Drive would be developed for business space that would become available at a "predictable rate" each year for as many as 20 years.

The need for planning has developed over the years as the distance between Ocean Beach Boulevard and the ocean has increased because of accretion. Of the 60-plus acres outlined in the proposal, 45 were transferred to the city from Washington State Parks last October.

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