Willow Springs Ribbon Cutting.

Councilman Roberto Uranga cuts the ceremonial ribbon at Willow Springs Park.

Willow Springs Park introduced 12 new acres of open space in Long Beach, CA with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 21.

The event was open to the public and complimentary healthy fruit snacks, water and free pedometers were offered to guests.

Included in the ceremony were 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga who did the ribbon cutting, and Park Development Officer for the City of Long Beach, Meredith Reynolds.

Members of the Long Beach Conservation Corp, the California Natural Resources Agency and Larry Rich from the Office of Sustainability were also in attendance.

The 12 new acres of open space at Willow Springs Park further develops the Willow Springs Master Plan with their focus on creating 48 acres of natural open space.

The plan, which was approved by the city in 2013 will incorporate the layout of the park, along with its history and as an educational environmental tool for families.

“Building upon the momentum and completion of free publicly accessible acres of Longview Point located inside the park, these 12 new acres of wetland continues the progress of opening all 48 acres of Willow Springs Park to the public”, says Meredith Reynolds.

“Capturing a unique installation of rebuilding neglected and unloved space that recaptures a part of Long Beach history.

“The major focus of the Wetlands Project is to incorporate the natural features and sustainable practices and Long Beach history. Capitalizing on an 18,000 sq ft water basin that has been on site since the early 1900s that collects storm water from the 405 freeway.

“A filtration system was installed powered by a solar sheet structure that drives power to a water pump and several spring-like features that mimics the original spring were constructed that pulls this water from the basin to the bioswale system. Then gravity flows to some seasonal wetlands to the low lying area of the park.

“This filtration system increases the water quality by keeping the water onsite. Recharging the ground water and protecting the ocean from runoff.”

Larry Rich with his daughter.

Larry Rich, Coordinator with the Office of Sustainability.

Following the ribbon cutting Larry Rich, Coordinator from the Office of Sustainability gave a walking tour of the park down to the water basin. Explaining the areas history and the project itself and all that has been done and what will be done in the future.

Visitors from the Orange Avenue parking lot can enjoy a nice walk to the basin on a trail that is lined with easy to read signs allowing visitors a walk among bioswales and experience its natural open space.

The Willow Springs Park project will enhance the future of the Long Beach community with recreational activities from hiking to nature explorations. Which also includes an interesting Beehive Sanctuary that opened in early September.

Willow Springs Park is located at 2755 Orange Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90806.

To learn more about Willow Springs Park visit Long Beach Parks website:  www.longbeach.gov