Peering into our crystal ball, Long Beach has many things to look forward to in 2017, but along with the opportunities come some big challenges.
Most noticeable will be a construction binge, the likes of which Long Beach hasn’t seen in recent memory.
Millions of dollars will begin flowing this month from a sales tax increase approved by voters in June to improve streets, upgrade parks and libraries and restore public safety facilities in Belmont Shore and downtown.
Other projects include private developments downtown and continuing construction of the new Civic Center and Gerald Desmond Bridge.
In addition to these city projects, voters approved a $1.5 billion bond issue to air-condition and upgrade schools in the Long Beach Unified School District. And, for good measure, voters also approved a $850 million bond issue to upgrade facilities at Long Beach City College.
All of this construction will mean more good jobs and much-needed infrastructure improvements, but it’s also going to require lots of patience in dealing with the disruptions in traffic.
Much of this construction also will have an impact on affordable housing and the homeless. Finding solutions to these difficult problems will test the leadership and will of city officials and residents.