I wanted to share a little more history as I remember it of Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association. If I get anything wrong, do correct me, as it has been quite a few years ago. After Tracy Wilson Kleekamp moved from Bluff Heights ( which was then called the 2nd District Neighborhood Association) I was elected President. Those were rather rough times. We were fighting gangs in the city, the drug of choice was cocaine, if you recall. Of course, we had a homeless problem ( which we actually solved for the most part with our Homeless Summits and the creation of the Multi-Service Center for the Homeless on 12th Street.) Our neighborhood was still not considered “desirable” but we were making strides. In the executive committee, we thought a name change would be a good idea. I came up with Bluff Heights. (Belmont Heights, and Bluff Park, and we were in the middle of them) So Bluff Heights it was by unanimous vote.
Back in those days we still had the Iowa by the Sea picnics happening yearly in Bixby Park ( for those families who came from Iowa to settle Long Beach) Bobbing for apples, corn roasting, potluck, and horseshoes. They were fun events, but fewer and fewer people were coming, so it was dying out.
We thought in Bluff Heights that we might create something similar to enhance the neighborhood, and bring a sense of community to our area.
Around 2004, I sold my cleaning company and decided to spend time in Honolulu with my partner. So although I came back to Long Beach often, I was mostly on the beach. Great times, and great friends.
The recession hit in 2008 and everything was crashing, so I got on a plane and came back to Long Beach to manage my properties, as I thought I might do a better job than anyone else in renting them up.
When I got back, the dream of a Fourth of July Party on Vista had been realized. The hard work of Dennis Snyder, who worked with the city to get the street vacation for the party was outstanding. His determination to create this yearly event was amazing. The whole board got on it, and before you knew it we had a patriotic pooch parade, and by 2007 we had a patriotic Baby Stroller parade. We had dunking booth, water balloon toss, a great potluck, and that was hard. ( I remember one year hauling my carport cover from my house to Vista to help in the potluck set us) We all cooked various dishes, and we all loved it. A chili cook-off contest, a cakewalk, patriotic pools for the kids, and even musical chairs were added.
John Thomas and Dale Maul were co-presidents and they were amazing. Dale dressed up as the Easter Bunny for Easter Parties, and John got all dressed up as Uncle Sam on stilts. How he did that hour after hour is beyond me. He was a hit with everyone, especially the kids. We had Princess Laff a Lot who painted faces on the children, and so many other devoted members of the association doing silent auctions and signing people up for the neighborhood association.
This is why Bluff Heights is so incredible. Neighbors working together, with outstanding people who shouldered the burden of leadership to make things happen. Now we are recognized as a quality neighborhood to live in.
Since my fulltime return in 2008 I attend every 4th of July Party and always cook something. This is what makes this neighborhood so strong.
I hope to see your this July 4th at 12 noon at our Block Party.