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Community News

Chittick Field Receives Funds for Improvements

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 7
4/5/2013


By Jeremy Matusow

The Occidental Petroleum Corporation made a generous donation of $1 million to facilitate funding for improvements of Chittick Field in Long Beach. Announced by Mayor Bob Foster, the 19-acre site located near Pacific Coast Highway and Walnut Ave. is being renovated with the creation of a new track, soccer and football fields, a parking lot and restrooms.

Developed more than 60 years ago with soccer and baseball fields, Chittick Field, as of late, has plummeted into disrepair. Nevertheless, it continues to be well liked throughout the community. Enhancements at the site represent one of the leading park projects in Long Beach in numerous years.
Councilmember Dee Andrews, who represents the 6th District of Long Beach, gives his take on the project.

“Occidental Petroleum’s generous donation will go a long way toward revitalizing Chittick Field, and the community as well,” said Andrews. “It will soon be thriving with adults and children enjoying themselves, playing sports and leading happier, healthier lives, thanks to these 19 acres that are for all of Long Beach to enjoy.”

In 2007, the Salvation Army and the City of Long Beach declared that a $125 million Kroc Center would be built in Central Long Beach, recognized formally as Chittick Field. Traditionally, it was known as Hamilton Bowl and to many residents as “The Hole.”

In 2009, the city did not raise nearly enough money for the facility, and thus the Salvation Army proclaimed the project “dead before arrival.”

Andrews was not shocked when the proposed project fell through the cracks.

“I laughed at the Kroc Center,” said Andrews. “That much money in the Sixth District? Not gonna happen.”

However, in October 2012, Andrews hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for intended restoration of $4 million for Chittick Field. The project involved the reconstruction of an adult soccer field, football field, two youth soccer fields and a track oval. Not to mention 198 more parking spaces, new lights and a long distance running course.

Since money was owed by the Los Angeles County Supervisor office, a portion of it had to be provided for athletics, and thus it was presented to Chittick Field.

“Believe me, we wouldn’t have done this groundbreaking if I didn’t know we’d be in construction,” said Andrews.

Two days after groundbreaking had commenced, construction began on the new Chittick Field. The recent donation of $1 million from Occidental Petroleum Corporation will help speed up the restoration of the field. Mayor Bob Foster shares his thoughts about the charitable donation.

“Occidental’s Petroleum’s act of great corporate citizenship will benefit families in our community for years to come,” said Foster. “This generous donation will help improve an area of the city that is severely lacking in open space and recreational opportunities for youth.”

When the project is complete, the field will exhibit, as stated before, an adult soccer field, football field, two youth soccer fields and a 400-meter track-and-field. There will also be a new parking lot and a bike path that connects to the Pacific Electric Right of Way Bike Path.

Funds for this project were accepted by the non-profit Partners of Parks organization of the City of Long Beach. Other sources that contributed were Park and Open Space District, the County of Los Angeles and City of Long Beach Open Space Bonds.

Chittick Field also is known for being a storm water management facility. Assembly for the first phase of reconstruction will commence in mid-April. Included will be a pump station and a low-flow drainage system. Other potential plans for the field include lighting, bleachers and a concession stand.

jeremy@longbeachcomber.com