Tag Archives: West End Beautification Association

Nevada St Park Equipment Installed (Beautification!)

unnamedThrough a grant received by the West End Beautification Association (WEBA), assisted by support from the City, several pieces of leisure equipment were installed at the Nevada St Park on Friday (on Beech).

Two benches, a game table with chairs, and a bike rack were installed. A Cigarette Butt container will soon be installed at the bus stop.

We hope that these and other efforts by community organizations and the City will continue to enhance or way of life.

– Ed Glister, West End Beatification Association

West End Beautification Update

(Photo above: Nevada Street Park)

By Edward Glister of the West End Beautification Association

Over the last few weeks seven workers (primarily teenagers) from Project Challenge have been working with a volunteer from the West End Beautification Association (WEBA) to clean up Beech Street. They have removed weeds and garbage from 4 parks, 2 houses of worship, 50 tree planters and several homes of the elderly. In addition, the City then followed up with black mulch to enhance the look and reduce maintenance. To top it off, we added 100 small American flags to the tree planters to commemorate our heroes and country.

unnamed-1 (Virginia Street Memorial)

The good news is that this work, when combined with the efforts by the City to clean curb sides and WENCA/WEBA to paint and plant Oceanview planters, has resulted in a significantly improved looking West End. The better news is that their combined efforts will extend to other West End locations in coming weeks.

The best news, however, would be if others supported this effort, including the following:

  • Have residents and visitors throw their garbage in appropriate receptacles
  • Have commercial establishments invest just a little time and money in plants/clean up
  • Have everyone start thinking that a beautiful West End is a step towards Hurricane recovery
  • Have everyone give thanks to all those who do the above.

(West End Community Garden)unnamed

 

Another Bulletin Board is coming! Banners on W. Beech! (West End Beautification Association!)

The West End Beautification Association was awarded a rebuild grant from National Grid, which will be used for West End beautification! This was part of a larger grant that was presented to 35 local business owners in Long Beach, Island Park, and Atlantic Beach. The ceremony took place yesterday at the the Saloon (1016 W Beech St.Long beach) with City Councilwoman Fran Adelson, City Manger Jack Schnirman, County Legislature Denise Ford, the President of National Grid and other grant recipients.

Mary Ellen from West End Beautification Association tells me that part of the grant was used to purchase the banners that now appear on West Beech Street commercial strip. The other part will be used to purchase a kiosk (see photo below) that will be installed in the bus turnaround, also on West Beech Street. This kiosk will be larger than the one in Kennedy Plaza (4.5 feet square) and have three long panels and one short panel.

The short panel allows for the National Grid sponsorship plaque. It will feature a community bulletin board. where the city can post its weekly summer updates. One of the long panels on this bulletin board will also feature a illustrated map of the West End, highlighting, all of the locations of the businesses crossed referenced by name. It will show where the ATMs are located as well as where to buy beach passes. It will also include illustrations of the Churches (St. Ignatius and People’s Church) as well as the firehouse, West School, Synagogue and the bike lane on Oceanview.

Thanks Mary Ellen for working to get this grant (and contributing to this post!). Big thanks to National Grid too!!
bulletinboard

West End Car Wars

By Mary Ellen of the West End Beautification Association

If you ask a West End resident what scenario would impel him to abandon his parking spot on a summer weekend, you’re likely to get a looooong pause, a guffaw, or an answer akin to “A funeral. Maybe. If it was a very close relative.”

In 2007, the City of Long Beach commissioned a Comprehensive Plan to create a blueprint for the next 15 years.

One of the proposals in the Plan was to “Design and implement a Residential Permit Parking Program to address the parking problems in the West End”.

In 2008, the City of Long Beach and Level G Associates (an independent consulting group specializing in parking studies) conducted an evaluation of the West End parking situation, “to develop new parking management strategies designed to improve the Long Beach parking experience by changing current parking patterns that often leave residents, shoppers, visitors and workplace employees with limited or undesirable parking alternatives.”

Only a West End resident can truly understand how dramatically parking impacts the tapestry of living in our community. To hear us talk about it, you’d think we were discussing the political ramifications of social ecosystems…and not the frustrations of finding a parking spot.

Only true sports fans know that it’s never “just a game,” and only true West Enders know that it’s never “just a parking spot.” It’s 50 square feet that are worth their weight in gold.

And the battle for and protection of these spots, at best, is a spirited show of neighborly cooperation, jockeying cars and leaving keys so that there will be a spot available when someone has to, well, go to a funeral. At worst, it can cause simmering frustration that leads to hard feelings among long time neighbors.

So four years ago, when the parking study was conducted, residents anxiously awaited the executive summary.

Surely this market analysis would find a solution to what sometimes seems to be the biggest pitfall to living in the West End.

The output was a Four-Point Strategy:

  1. Increase the parking supply.
  2. Enhance and encourage off-site parking and shuttle bus use.
  3. Promote and facilitate expanded bicycle use.
  4. Change parking regulations.(Establish Residential Parking Zones and fee-based general parking along Beech Street)

But like many well-intentioned plans, the devil was in the details. Muni-meters will hurt commercial business. What about guest parking? What about the home health aid, the housekeeper, the plumber? The plan simply said, “Special situations will be considered on a case by case basis.” Residents demurred from the idea and the study was shelved.

Which means I am still holding on to my parking spot with the Jaws of Life, not unlike the way an environmentalist zealot might chain herself to a tree in protest. Meanwhile, parking is getting worse and worse.

To date, the only implementation of the 2008 Plan has been in private parking lot sharing and coordinating bus stop-fire hydrant placement to increase parking supply on Beech St. I give credit for the efforts put forth, but unfortunately, it’s not enough.

Residents are still held hostage in their homes during the busy weekends, and I don’t think I’m alone when I say that it’s time for something to be done. It’s time for a meeting of minds to solve this problem.

It’s time for a committee of residents, business owners, the City Manager and City Council to develop a pilot parking plan for 2013. If all the stakeholders in this problem have a forum in which to assert their concerns and needs, then I’m confident that we’ll be able to find the elusive space in between all of them, where the parking solution exists.

Let’s not wait until another summer season is upon us and the parking madness once again chains us to our homes. Let’s spend this fall and winter ironing out the details of a peace treaty to once and for all end the notorious West End Car Wars.

Beech Street Beautification Day (2nd Annual Event!)

The West End Beautification Association will be holding their 2nd Annual Beech Street Beautification Day on Saturday, June 23rd from 8am to 11am. The event officially starts at 9am, but early birds are welcome to join the group at 8am. The rain date is Sunday, June 24th. Meet on Beech St. at the Maryland School.Bring a hand trowel and gardening gloves if you have them, but some will be available as well. More details can be found on the flier below or view the PDF here: beautifactionday.pdf

Blog Rant, Deconstructing WENCA Letter & Thanking WEBA, A Beautification Battle Brewing?

(Photo taken by SuperClearyPhoto)

SITE NEWS: While some of you want nothing, but budget talk on this blog, you can find plenty on that topic over at the LB Patch & LB Herald. That is, unless one of my fellow SBC writers care to write about it here. I just have no time to repeat what paid folks are writing elsewhere. Quite frankly, I’m getting burnt out on budget talk. Death & taxes are guarantees in life; Cost of living increase should be added to that too. Yeah, I know the budget is important. That’s why I still read those articles elsewhere and you should too. But please don’t email and yell at me for not doing my job. I didn’t get into the blog business to solely talk about numbers. This blog will forever be a diary of Long Beach; the dirt, the weird stuff; a commentary of what’s going on in our city by the sea. Not all of that involves the budget. Sorry.

-Anthony

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DECONSTRUCTING West End Neighbors Civic Association (WENCA) LETTER:

There were some comments regarding the WENCA letter that I posted the other day. While I have absolutely nothing personal against the folks over at WENCA, some of you felt they were taking credit for stuff they had nothing to do with. I’m not sure if it was intentional or just the way the letter read, but it did seem odd. For example, it starts off by saying “If you take a good look around you’ll notice some things are being done.” A number of items are then listed, including: DecoBike Stencils on Oceanview, boardwalk repairs, work schedules revamped, etc.Those seem pretty obvious, but what about late night sanitation?

The Sanitation pickup schedule is being changed to rid Beech Street of late night garbage so it’s off the streets by 7am. This is a needed and welcome change.

Maybe they should of at least given credit to the West End Beautification Association (WEBA) for making that happen. Mary Ellen, Judy and the west of the WEBA crew worked really hard on that issue, so they deserve a big thanks. Maybe not just from WENCA, but from all of us. Thank you West End Beautification Association!  (Here is the sanitation document, for those who collect this kind of stuff: Sanitation Document.pdf)

There were some beautification items also mentioned in WENCA’s letter. While they have always been involved with beautifying the West End, it appears to me that the recent WEBA push has woken WENCA up a little (Oceanview planters, artists involvement, appearance of vacant store facades). Do we see a beautification battle brewing? Hey, any battle that involves the word ‘beauty’ is a win for all in my book.

STOP THE PRESSES! Jedi Master Yoda just called and said “Begun, the West End Beautification war has.” Yes, Master Yoda. Begun it has. This could get interesting.

West End vs. East End, East End Neighbors Association, Long Beach Listens, Broken Window Theory

Just like the East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry of the 90’s, Long Beach has its own little east/west war. Generally speaking, some East Enders I’ve heard from feel that their part of town is ignored by City Hall, while the West End gets all the milk, cookies and toys they want. In some ways, they are right; for such a small area of Long Beach, the West End does get a lot of attention, but there’s a reason for that.

It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, right?

Sure, you can say that, but the folks in the West End work hard to achieve that ‘grease.’ They organize, mobilize, communicate and vocalize (see WENCA & WEBA). They don’t just stand on a soapbox bitching and complaining, “this town sucks.” They make the effort to things done.

Not to get into any details, but I was at a West End Beautification Association (WEBA) meeting last night and witnessed this enthusiasm firsthand. Various topics were discussed – all involving ways to make the West End a safer, cleaner and more pleasant place to live and visit. I sat there quietly observing.. thinking of all the issues we have in the East End, wondering if a similar meeting would ever take place over there as well.

Any grease left over for us squeaky East Enders?

Several years ago there was talk of an East End Neighbors Association. I was asked to be involved. I wasn’t sure what my role was, besides blogging about it. The founder had a website, a logo, t-shirts (store still online) and an article in the LB Herald. I was somewhat ready for the ride, but then the association dissolved overnight. Not to get into details, but the founder decided to leave Long Beach.

Life in the East End went on. I haven’t heard of any new development for a new East End Neighbors. What the heck is the East End anyways? East of Long Beach Blvd, right? What about central Long Beach, the West Holme section? Or the Canals? Walks? North Park? Are the Presidents considered East End? They are east of me, so can I call them The East East End? Should I wait to do anything until an East End Organization gets sorted out?

So what’s my point? Well, I often find myself using this blog as a soapbox where I complain about many things: dog poop on my lawn, garbage, cars going through stop signs, bad food restaurants, ugly stuff being built, etc. I blog to create some conversation, but I never really do anything about it in real life. After the WEBA meeting I realized how I should break out of my shy shell and actually use my voice. Like, actually say something; make phone calls; speak up when I don’t like something or when I want something done. Sure, us folks in the Non-West End aren’t as organized as those in the West, but we can still get things done if we squeak loud enough.

Of course the city gave us Long Beach Listens, which is a perfect chance for all to make our voices heard. North Park residents certainly made sure of that a few weeks ago, and there are still a few more of these meetings left:

Back in March, guest writer Mary Ellen of WEBA wrote about the Broken Windows Theory in her article Death of a Hero.  Mary Ellen explains the theory as the following:

“a broken window, left unrepaired shows that no one cares so when the next person breaks the next window it seems a bit less terrible because the level of neglect has already been established. It becomes easier and easier to continue into criminality and blight because each successive transgression, while seemingly harmless in and off itself becomes a growing pattern of neglect for which no one feels responsible but for which everyone is responsible. The theory asserts that the solution lies in being intolerant of the “smallest illegalities” If arresting a single drunk on West Beech Street, fining a dog walker who doesn’t scoop the poop or every store owner who ignores sanitation codes seems harsh, failure to do anything about the mounting number of people who continue to flaunt the laws can destroy an entire community.

Quite frankly, Taking care of your community is contagious. When I go home later I’m going to pick up all the garbage around my house. I will do the same tomorrow and the day after that. Hopefully my neighbors will watch me, do the same and it will spread like a virus.

L’EGGO MY LOGO! (The West End Beautification Logo Saga)

The West End Beautification Association just spelled out the entire logo saga on their blog with documents and everything (read – Introducing the new West End Beautification Association logo!)

From what I understand, here are the chain of events:

1. West End residents Mary Ellen and Judy formed the West End Beautification Association (WEBA): A committee that is separate and independent from the West End Neighbors Civil Association (WENCA) with the sole purpose of beautifying the West End of Long Beach.

2. Mary Ellen’s daughter created the WEBA logo. (click to see example).

3. In December, WENCA’s attorneys sent WEBA a “cease and desist” letter. Basically telling Mary Ellen that she is legally not allowed to use the logo that her daughter created, for it has been trademarked by WENCA (click to see document).

So where are we now?

WEBA just annouced their new logo on January 19th:

Now, I have nothing against WENCA. I don’t even live in the West End, but what WENCA did was neither NEIGHBORLY nor CIVIC. I personally think they should just forfeit the logo and move on. For, as long as they use it – the flower on that logo will forever be obscurd by a dark cloud. Yep, this one is added to the WTF category.

Tidbits: March, Coffee, Farmer’s Market, Dunes, Logo, Agenda

The Long Beach MLK Center (615 Riverside Boulevard) held their annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr march yesterday (January 16th), which was photographed and posted on our city’s facebook page. Check it out.

This year’s Grand Marshal was Tuskegee Airmen, Julius Freeman. The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American aviators who fought in World War II. If you want to learn more about them, then you should check out the upcoming George Lucas movie titled RED TAILS. It looks pretty awesome and Jar Jar Binks-free. Congratulations to Mr. Freeman and thank you for serving our county.

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As first posted here as a rumor back in October, I’m hearing that the ‘Coffee Nut Cafe to Gentle Brew Coffee conversion’ over at 250 East Park Avenue will happen “within weeks.” Gentle Brew plans on overhauling the entire decor, so the change won’t be just a new sign and new brew. In the meantime, Coffee Nut Cafe is still open, so please continue to go there. (read – Rumor Alert: The Coffee Nut Cafe to be sold to Gentle Brew Coffee.)

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The City Hall Kennedy Plaza Farmer’s Market is still happening every Wednesday between 10am & 2pm, but it hasn’t been inside City Hall yet. I am hearing that the market will remain outside (even in the freezing cold), unless it rains or snows (or hails?). Don’t forget to ‘like’ the Farmer’s Market on facebook! Let’s try to get them passed the 1000 friends mark! It’s at 990 right now.

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The West End Beautification Association (WEBA) posted an update regarding dune & beach entrance repair in the West End. Hopefully some good news will come soon. (read – Thinking of Spring…)

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Speaking of WEBA, I am seeing that their logo was stolen taken over by the West End Neighbors Civic Association (WENCA). As written by Mary Ellen on WEBA’s blog:

(Unfortunately, the lovely West End Beautification logo that my daughter contributed to our cause, was lost in the metaphorical WENCA divorce proceedings. But just like Abe Lincoln wisely once said, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling the tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” They can take our logo, but they’ll never take our spirit! Stay tuned for details on the launch of the new WEBA logo to symbolize the start of the new year!)  

I personally think Mary Ellen is being too kind. After all, that logo was designed by her daughter. If that happened to me, I would be pissed. Regardless, I have seen some of WEBA’s new logo prototypes and they look great!

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Last, but not least: Tonight (January 17th) is the first Good & Welfare meeting of the year with THE NEW GANG. Read the agenda, which features hot dogs. We will post a link to the meeting video as soon as it’s available.

That’s all folks!

Beautifying Long Beach – Community Bulletin Boards

There’s been a lot of talk lately on beautifying the West End of Long Beach: a points award system, new hydrants, widening curbs, etc. The West End seems to have some great people there who really care about it’s beautification, but what about the rest of Long Beach? For the next few weeks (or months) I’m going to blog some random ideas that I’ve been thinking of that I feel will benefit our community as a whole (north, south, east, west, central). These ideas aren’t terribly original- some were probably discussed already, put on the back burner, or just shot down. If that’s the case, then I’m going to talk about WHY they should be revisited.

In this post I’m going to explore the idea of installing Community Bulletin Boards throughout Long Beach: something that I feel would not only beautify our city by the sea, but also help promote the cultural aspects of it as well.

We have so many events & activities going on in Long Beach all the time; not just during our peak summer months, but year round. For example: this week there are a number of holiday events, charities, and holiday lightings. Who knows when and where they are! We really don’t have a main “posting” board for all these events. Sure, there are a countless number of Facebook groups, each hoping to become THE PLACE where LB residents convene, but it’s so decentralized. Even on this blog, we have an events calendar, but I think the residents would be best served knowing what’s going on if we physically post these events throughout town. Afterall, there are a number of residents that don’t know about this blog or those Facebook groups. I’m sure there are a number of residents that don’t even bother with the internet at all!

Which brings me to the idea of Community Bulletin Boards. Garden City has a good example of what I’m talking about (see right photo). Of course, we would lose the pineapple and maybe paint it nautical blue, but you get the idea. We can scatter these all across Long Beach:

  • @ the LIRR station
  • @ Kennedy Plaza, in front of City Hall
  • Three on the boardwalk (east, west, superblock/allegria area)
  • West End (if you can find the space for one!)
  • South on Park Ave, near Gino’s/5 Guys
  • East End near the Associated market

Of course there would have to be some rules. How do you control what gets posted and for how long?

  • Every event posted has to be something that everybody is invited to. For example: Bernadette over at the Farmer’s Market can remind us that the Market will reopen @ City Hall December 14th. Our Public Library can use the board for the various events they hold. Or we can be reminded of the 3rd Annual Holiday For Heros via flyer that would be posted on the board.
  • No Garage/yard/lawn sales. (sorry folks, it might get out of hand.)
  • No Private Party invites.
  • No ‘Soapbox’ Rants. (sorry politicians, it might get out of hand.) (and no VOTE FOR signs)
  • Can only be posted 2 weeks at the earliest prior to the event.
  • Every Monday the boards are “cleaned out.” If your event expires, it gets pulled that Monday after.
  • New events get refilled on Monday – drop off your flyer at City Hall by a certain time.
  • No individual restaurant/retail sales, but if it’s a city-wide special event like the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Restaurant Week, that’s ok.

Or let’s just see what Garden City does! I’m sure there are situations & rules that I’m not even thinking about. Again, I am just giving a few examples here. I think the cost of these boards would be minimal. You really only need one person to maintain them. They fill and clean them the same day. It’s not rocket science.

Long Beach has so much to offer culturally (Arts & Crafts, Farmer’s Markets, Polar Bear, Fireworks, Parades, Waterfront Warriors, Jazz Fest, Restaurant Weeks, Holiday Lightings, Community Meetings) – Holy Crap, this list can go on forever! People work really hard putting these events together and the best way to repay them is to help promote them. Community Bulletin Boards would do just that. They look nice too!