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Long Beach library's proposal to relocate bench upsets family

Officials say they do not want homeless people gathering at the Park Avenue bench, which was donated to honor a family, including a Holocaust survivor.

Warren Vegh donated a bench that sits in

Warren Vegh donated a bench that sits in front of the Long Beach library to honor his parents. His father is a Holocaust survivor.

The Long Beach Public Library Board is considering relocating a bench dedicated to a family, including a Holocaust survivor, because they say it has become a gathering spot for homeless vagrants.

Warren Vegh, 59, is fighting the plan to move the bench that was dedicated in 2013 to his parents, Phyllis and Maurice Vegh, five years ago. Phyllis Vegh died in 2014. Maurice Vegh, who is a Holocaust survivor and lives in Long Beach, is about to turn 88. The bench, in front of the library’s main branch on Park Avenue, is next to a Wi-Fi hot spot and a bus stop.

Library officials said they have recently received complaints about the homeless sleeping on the bench or loitering there during library hours, causing concerns for patrons and families.

The board will consider relocating the bench, possibly to the second-floor art gallery, at its June 27 meeting.

“A lot of the time, the homeless hang out on that bench out front and make a mess of it,” library board vice president Barbara Mosca said. “So we were discussing what we can do, given the complaints of the people that hang out there. I felt really bad. I didn’t know how personal and emotional this was for Warren.”

Long Beach Police said they have received only one call concerning disturbances at the library bench this year.

Vegh, who donated the bench when he was a library board trustee, said his father used to walk his mother around the library in her final days. He said he wants to explore moving it to the boardwalk or another location.

“It’s dedicated to my parents. Everyone can sit there on Park Avenue,” Vegh said. “I’m heartbroken. I’m going to appear in front of the library board and have my say.”

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