Absolutely incredible! What an amazing
accomplishment! The entire group should be commended for coming together
and working toward a common goal in a way that everyone was able to
help in whatever capacity they could share!
Senior Lead Officer Kristan Delatori P3+1
Los Angeles Police Department - Pacific Division
in the Windward Traffic Circle district have just about completed an
ambitious beautification project around the Venice Post Office.
|Mike Castillo and Mark Ryavec completing the first planter box.|
project, which cost about $40,000, involved new signage on the fences
surrounding the Post Office, power washing of all the sidewalks for a
month, construction of 55 planter boxes with lining, importation of over
50 tons of dirt and potting soil, and the installation of hundreds of
cacti. An add-on project involved the removal of concrete tree well
covers that were strangling the Italian Stone Pines that ring the Post
Office and their replacement with decomposed granite. The neighbors
also funded the replacement of one dead pine tree, an expensive
proposition. This was directed by landscape contractor Peter Eberhard,
shown below. (Yes, the tree makes one think of Christmas, but the
expert advises not to trim the tree until cooler weather arrives in the
|55 planter boxes were installed around the Post Office.|
|Digging out the roots of the dead Italian Stone Pine|
All the funding came from residents and businesses within two blocks of the Post Office.
spark plug for this effort was artist and musician John Vester, who
lives on Grand Blvd. Joining him in leading the effort were Paul and
Stacey Foxson, also residents on Grand.
|Replacment Italian Stone Pine and landscaper Peter Eberhard|
|Mike Castillo, Paul Foxson, Ken Newfield, Captain James Roberts and John Vester|
James Roberts and SLO Kristan Delatori and the entire LAPD Pacific
Division team were extremely supportive, as was Post Mistress Brittani
Cephas who granted Neighbors of Grand and the VSA permission to install
the planters on PO property and granted access to two water spigots
heavy lifting was done by contractor and Grand Blvd. resident Mike
Castillo who lent his crew - at cost - to construct the 55 4'x8' planter
boxes and import the tons of dirt and potting soil to fill the boxes.
(Local business owner Ralph Ziman graciously granted us access to a
large pile of dirt on his nearby construction site.)
|John Vester with Post Mistress Brittani Cephas and Eugene Cephas.|
resident and landscape architect Russ Cletta volunteered his crew -
also at cost - to line the boxes with filter fabric to retain the dirt
and to provide a barrier between the dirt and the wood sides and bottoms
of the boxes. They also mixed all the Venice dirt with the tons of
potting soil. Residents
volunteered countless hours to shovel dirt and plant the hundreds of
plants that were donated by residents and by Russ Cletta.
|Russ Cletta and crew lining boxes.|
residents made extremely generous contributions to the VSA to support
the effort, including Grant van Every, Jack Kindberg and Hama Sushi
owner Esther Chiang (who also hosted a lovely party to celebrate
completion of the installation).
|Captain Roberts at the "after party."|
For me, this effort
was a sentimental journey back in time. About 28 years ago Jim Murez,
Ed Barger and I led 200 residents on a Sunday to plant the 21 Italian
Stone Pines and the 20 New Zealand Christmas Trees on Windward. My
father and sister Janice joined me in that effort and one of the pines,
on the corner of Windward and Riviera, was named after my Aunt Lucy, who
had recently passed away.
|John Vester and Hama Sushi Owner Esther Chiang at "after party."|
|Cleaning up Windward after planter box installation.|
have a few more projects planned for the PO triangle, so contributions
(tax deductible, of course) are welcome on this website.
|Cacti in bloom.|