A lifeguard tower honoring LGBTQ-plus pride was unveiled in Long Beach this afternoon. The brightly colored structure replaces one that was destroyed in a blaze in early March, which investigators this week classified as arson.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia tells KCRW the restoration of the tower servers as a symbol: “We're absolutely sending a message that you could try to bring your hate here. … But we're going to rebuild, and we're proud of our gay community.”
City lifeguards painted and installed the tower, which is located on the beach near Shoreline Way and 12th Place.
Garcia says there are plans to make it bigger than it currently is: “We're also looking forward to even adding two towers. There's a lot we're having conversations right now about, adding some historical markers and additional flag poles. We're going to add perhaps even some event space there.”
Investigators are still searching for more information about the arson that burned down the last tower, which was installed as a part of last year’s Long Beach Pride Week festivities.
"Lifeguard towers have existed here for many decades, there have not been any fires, it's very hard to light one on fire,” says Garcia. “And it's very … I think it's awful that the one that was painted in pride colors is the one that they burned down. So to me, that's very clear what people were trying to do, and we're looking forward to hopefully be able to catch whoever did this."
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to reach out to the Long Beach Fire Department's investigative hotline at 562-570-2582.