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Signal ST3444 - April 5_Layout 1 4/5/13 10:44 AM Page 1 “Finding Balance,” acrylic and spraypaint by Brigitte Johnston For more on this artist, see page 9. T VOl. 34 NO. 44 R I B U N E SERVING BIXBY KNOLLS, CALIFORNIA HEIGHTS, LOS CERRITOS, WRIGLEY AND THE CITY OF SIGNAL HILL April 5, 2013 Signal Hill budget review at ‘half-time’ Plans continue for homeless-mental-healthcare Your Weekly Community Newspaper center on Long Beach Boulevard in Wrigley Good news of budget surplus may be short-lived in light of rising employee costs CJ Dablo Staff Writer It would have been very easy to only focus on the news of Signal Hill’s projected $1.35-million budget surplus in its general fund for the end of the fiscal year, but city officials warn that rising costs– especially future staffing costs– could dramatically change Signal Hill’s financial outlook in the upcoming years. At the mid-year budget review at the April 2 Council meeting, Signal Hill Finance Director Terri Marsh reported that current estimates for the balances for the general fund and all of the reserve funds for the fiscal-year ending 2012-2013 will total $28.9 million. “Even with this positive budget news, staff continues to recommend caution as we Courtesy City of LB CJ Dablo/Signal Tribune Louise Cunningham (left) was honored on April 2 with the Outstanding Older American Award at the Signal Hill City Council meeting. Also pictured are Mayor Michael Noll (center) and Community Services Director Pilar Alcivar-McCoy (right). move forward,” City Manager Ken Farfsing told the Council, as he reminded the councilmembers that the City will face a number of sub- North LB property owners petition for Uptown Property and Business Improvement District see COUNCIL page 11 Sean Belk Staff Writer About two years ago, just before the State decided to do away with redevelopment agencies, more than a year ago, stakeholders along the Atlantic Avenue and Artesia Boulevard corridors of north Long Beach banded together to figure out how to revitalize an otherwise blighted part of town. What came out of those initial discussions between property owners, government officials and the North Long Beach Business Alliance was the idea of forming the Uptown Property and Business Improvement District (UPBID), a proposal that is now just steps away from becoming a reality. The proposed L-shaped district boundary would stretch across the 8th and 9th Council Districts, extending north up Atlantic Avenue between East Market Street and Artesia Boulevard and then east down Artesia Boulevard see PBID page 4 Sean Belk/Signal Tribune Public-art sculptures along Atlantic Avenue in the North Village business district are now remnants of the shuttered Long Beach Redevelopment Agency that once funded various improvements in blighted areas through property-tax increment funding. Now, a proposal is moving forward to create the Uptown Property and Business Improvement District intended to improve safety, occupancy rates and property values in a section of north Long Beach. Artist’s rendering of a new center for mentally ill, homeless individuals after renovations are completed at 1955-1965 Long Beach Blvd. Nick Diamantides Elm Avenue serves about 45 homeless people per day and is “bursting at the Staff Writer The City of Long Beach’s plans for a seams” because of an increase in the numnew center for services to the mentally ill ber of people needing its help. “We do not wait for people to come to homeless are moving forward. At the monthly meeting of the Wrigley Neighbor- us,” Pilon explained. “Through our hood Association last Monday evening in Homeless Innovation Program, MHA the community center of Veterans Park, staff goes out into the streets and homeMichael Conway, the City’s director of less encampments to invite people to take business and property development, and advantage of the services we offer.” No one in the audience opposed the David Pilon, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of Mental Health Amer- development of the new center on Long ica (MHA), spoke about the center to the Beach Boulevard, but several people expressed concerns. “It looks like a good approximately 30 people in attendance. Conway noted that the building at project that will bring much needed bene1955-1965 Long Beach Blvd. is being fits to homeless people and to the commupurchased by the City and is currently in nity,” said Alan Burks, Wrigley resident escrow. The edifice will be renovated to and president of Environ Architecture. accommodate the center, which will be “But why did you choose that location, managed by MHA. Conway explained and what assurances can you give us that that the facility will offer mental health there will not be any negative impacts to care, physical health services and job the surrounding area?” Pilon explained that the location is training to homeless individuals, expandideal because the county mental health ing the programs MHA now offers from its 465 Elm Ave. location. He added that clinic is next door, the Social Security the new site will include an upscale café, Administration office is close by, and patio and bakery for the public’s enjoy- many homeless people are already in that ment, as well as free WiFi and a commu- area. “As for negative impacts, as is true nity room to provide meeting space for of our other facilities, we will have uniformed security personnel on site during local organizations. “The center will not serve as a shel- the hours of operation,” Pilon said. “We ter,” Conway stressed. “It will have no will also have community outreach to get overnight accommodations, and all coun- input from people in the area and a 24seling groups will have no more than hour phone line so that anyone can leave us a message expressing concerns about seven people.” Pilon told the audience that MHA has issues or incidents, and we will deal with provided 50 years of service to Long those things right away.” He added that Beach residents and programs in partner- MHA staff are trained in procedures that ship with the City for about 25 years. “At discourage loitering and MHA centers are our other facilities, program participants considered good neighbors by the commeet with service staff, who work closely munities surrounding their other locawith them on their recovery from home- tions. John Edmond, chief of staff for 6th lessness and goals for healthy, productive lives,” he said, adding that the center on Weekly Weather Forecast Friday 69° Saturday Sunday Monday April 5 through April 9, 2013 Tuesday 69° 71° 73° 73° This week’s Weekly Weather Forecast sponsored by: Low clouds, then sun Low clouds, then sun Low clouds breaking Partly sunny and windy Mostly sunny Lo 56° Lo 54° Lo 54° Lo 54° Lo 57° see WRIGLEY page 14 Bixby Knolls Car Wash & Detail Center Full service wash • Fast exterior wash 6 self-serve wash bays with air dryers (3) We have the most polite and friendliest employees, & best of all... THE BEST CUSTOMERS IN THE WORLD! Free WiFi! Shell & Sheldon Grossman Owners for 35+ years 577 E. Wardlow Rd. @ Atlantic • 562-595-6666

ST3444 April 5, 2013

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