Signal ST3517 - September 27_Layout 1 9/27/13 2:46 PM Page 1 T Vol. 35 No. 17 R I B U N “Carol Dances” Ink-jet print of digitally hand-colored black-and-white photo by Bob Winberry See page 9 E September 27, 2013 SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL Your Weekly Community Newspaper New ‘North Town’ fire station opens Deadline looms for City of Long Beach to submit plans for former RDA properties CJ Dablo Staff Writer The City of Long Beach has just a few short weeks to finalize and submit a report detailing a long-range management plan for property that belonged to the City’s former redevelopment agency (RDA). Since the redevelopment program was dissolved more than a year and a half ago, the future of its large amount of real estate had been managed by two groups: the Oversight Board, and city council members who make up what’s called the Successor Agency. California’s Department of Finance has set an Oct. 23 deadline for the City to submit a longrange plan that details how to dispose of about 259 properties that belonged to the Long Beach RDA. When it was first created, Long Beach’s redevelopment agency and hundreds of other agencies like it throughout California had been charged with taking what was considered blighted land and transforming those properties into land uses that benefitted the community. There will be two key meetings in the upcoming weeks during which Long Beach residents Photos by Sean Belk/Signal Tribune CJ Dablo/Signal Tribune Not all of the properties owned by Long Beach’s former redevelopment agency will be proposed to be sold or further developed. On the southwest corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, one property will be retained primarily for neighborhood identification and government use, according to Michael Conway, director of the City of Long Beach’s Business and Property Development Department. Formerly the site of an automotive shop, the property now displays a sign for Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Businesses investing in Signal Hill, Bixby Knolls storefronts and restaurants see RDA page 14 Sean Belk Staff Writer Though the economy may not have fully recovered yet, it appears that business owners see great potential in the local area and are investing in brickand-mortar locations along local commercial corridors. At least three new sit-down restaurants are expected to open up soon in Signal Hill and Bixby Knolls while some small-business retailers are either expanding or sprucing up Sean Belk/Signal Tribune their digs. From reviving old office buildings with new paint A new Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill is scheduled to open on Oct. 14 to fixing up façades to installing at 889 E. Spring St. in the Signal Hill Gateway Center. new roofs, every small improvement to the district keeps business humming, said Izakaya-style Japanese restaurant and sushi bar to be Blair Cohn, executive director of the Bixby Knolls Busi- called Atun at 4262 Atlantic Ave., expected to open up in the next three weeks, and Weiland Brewery Restaurant, ness Improvement Association (BKBIA). known for its draft beer and American fare, looking to “We’re pretty excited right now about seeing new things coming to the neighborhood,” he said. “Every little relocate from downtown Los Angeles to Claiborne Drive improvement makes the whole district better. We’re see- and Atlantic Avenue, Cohn said. In Signal Hill, a new Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar ing some good momentum. It’s pretty exciting.” Some new eateries coming to town include a Yakitorisee BUSINESS page 15 27 through Weekly Weather Forecast September October 1, 2013 Friday 83° Saturday 87° Sunday 84° Mostly sunny Bright sunshine & very warm Bright sunshine Lo 60° Lo 60° Lo 59° Monday 82° Mostly sunny Lo 60° Tuesday 78° This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: Mostly sunny Lo 60° A crowd looks on as Long Beach Fire Capt. Jackawa Jackson, Fire Chief Mike DuRee and 9th District Councilmember Steven Neal prepare to push a fire engine into the newly constructed Fire Station 12 during a grand opening of the north Long Beach facility on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Sean Belk Staff Writer After work stoppages, labor disputes and funding difficulties, there was one last thing to contend with to complete the nearly $10-million new, state-of-the-art Fire Station 12 in north Long Beach– pushing into the garage a shiny, red fire engine that has the words “North Town” emblazoned on the side of it. Hundreds of people gathered on Tuesday, Sept. 24 to celebrate the grand opening and dedication of the newly built fire station and Emergency Resource Center (ERC) located on a 1.2-acre site on the northwest corner of Artesia Boulevard and Orange Avenue. “It did take a long time to build, but I think you can see today it was worth the wait,” said Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, to the crowd of city officials, local residents, fire personnel and other stakeholders in attendance. “We should all celebrate what’s been done here.” Funded entirely by the now abolished Long Beach Redevelopment Agency, the new 11,296-square-foot fire station and the 5,294 square-foot ERC include the latest technological advancements and energy-efficient design, along with three fire-engine bays, gender-neutral dorms for firefighters and paramedics and a 100-foot-tall communication tower for enhanced radio coverage throughout the city. The facility replaces “blighted, underutilized” commercial tenants that were once considered “eyesores” at the intersection, said 9th District Councilmember Steven Neal. The new facility, which holds enough emergency supplies to support the northern half the city in a major disaster and offers a new venue to stage community meetings, continues the “Uptown renaissance,” he said. “I’m proud to say we’ve come a long way, finally, to realize this beautiful, modern and much needed facility, which will help bring vitality to the neighborhood, synergy to the Atlantic [Avenue] corridor and a renewed sense of civic pride here in north Long The words “North Town” are emblazoned on the side Beach,” Neal said. “The fire sta- of a fire engine that is now assigned to the new, statetion is one of the many infra- of-the-art Fire Station 12 located at 1199 E. Artesia see FIRE STATION page 14 Blvd. in north Long Beach.