SANTA MONICA—A sports field that was recently built in Santa Monica will be named after a formerly thriving neighborhood that used to have a prominent African-American population, leading up to the 1950s.

The 3.5-acre multipurpose complex will be named “Historic Belmar Park,” with its location being at the heart of the city, near the Civil Auditorium.

At the first half of the century, leaders in Santa Monica removed homes and businesses in this region of Santa Monica, where a vast majority were owned and occupied by African-Americans. Local politicians aimed for change at the time to attract tourists to the region, where the Civic Auditorium was used to host the Academy Awards. Various rock concerts were held at the venue, until its closure in 2013.

For the last 12 years, parents in the area had been asking the city, through various grassroots causes for that area of land to be put to better use, and made into a park or stadium.

According to city officials, after receiving approval from the California Coastal Commission, the plan has been for the field space to operate on the old surface of the Civic Center parking lot. The decision will be made once construction is complete.

The Community Services Director, Andy Agle, wants the residents of Santa Monica to recognize the historical significance that is being brought to the city after so many years.

“We look forward to welcoming local youth to our community’s newest space for recreation and historical reflection – Historic Belmar Park,” said Agle.

The City of Santa Monica issued the following message from their Twitter account on Friday, August 28: