The Report is In: Honoring Long Beach Veterans

Since February, we have been actively discussing with the community how to best re-envision the Veterans Day Parade and Festival.  

Over the course of the #LBHonorsVets process, we have engaged in 5 focus groups with over 20 veteran services organization representatives, 22 neighborhood leaders, the entire Veterans Affairs Commission, and an online campaign that engaged hundreds and generated over 3 dozen ideas.
 
Special thanks to City Fabrick for leading a smart, open, and engaging process.  We are proud to share the findings of this report with you today. 

To view the full #LBHonorsVets report, click here.

This comprehensive report presents a number of findings and recommendations that I fully support, not only on the Veterans Day Parade and Festival, but also on how we can better honor local Veterans throughout the year.   

The recommendations within the report focus on three key themes: sustainability, engagement, and programming. 


 

Based on the feedback we have received from the #LBHonorsVets process and the wide support across a diverse spectrum of our community, veterans groups and more, I have three announcements that I am proud to share with you today:

veterans_plaza.jpg1.  We are improving and enhancing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Houghton Park to become a new Veterans Plaza.  This expanded memorial will include more seating areas, a new digital board, more landscaping, enhanced walkways, and design features to facilitate more frequent events and programming.  The Veterans Plaza will be completed and opened by Veterans Day 2017.  

In addition, we are in the process of creating a Veterans Endowment with the Long Beach Community Foundation that can be used for maintenance of the Veterans Plaza at Houghton Park and for increasing activity anchored by the space.  

2.  We are recommending that the Veterans Affairs Commission take a more active role, and examine the feasibility of creating a Veterans Strategic Plan that includes programs, policies, and practices designed to assist Veterans in multiple capacities, and build stronger connections between local Veterans and the larger community.

3.  We have worked with the community, the Uptown Business District, and the City's Special Events team to create a plan that revitalizes the annual Veterans Day Parade and Festival, and keeps the tradition of hosting the annual parade on Atlantic Ave. in North Long Beach.  I've shared a summary of the report and our recommendations with the Chair of the current Veterans Day Parade Committee, and we had a very productive discussion on moving forward collaboratively for the benefit of our entire community. 

The parade has a tremendous history of being the premier Veterans Parade in Southern California, and its important that we enhance it an ensure it moves forward in a way that is thriving, open, and sustainable for generations to come. 

And finally, we want to thank all of those who participated in this process, both online and in person.

Special thanks goes out to:  City Fabrick, Uptown Business District, Long Beach Community Action Partnership, City of Long Beach Veterans Affairs Commission, Long Beach City College Veterans Services, Long Beach City College Veterans Club, U.S. Vets, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Leadership Long Beach, American Veterans For Equal Rights, Pools of Hope, Advancement Project, Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, College Square Neighborhood Association, Coolidge Triangle Neighborhood Association, DeForest Park Neighborhood Association, Grant Neighborhood Association, Hamilton Neighborhood Association, Houghton Park Neighborhood Association, Longwood Neighborhood Association, St. Francis Neighborhood Association, and Starr King Neighborhood Association.

For more information, please contact my District Director Christian Cambridge at christian.cambridge@longbeach.gov or (562) 570-6137.

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