SP Beautiful, America in Bloom: War on blight brightens city

October 13, 2010
Santa Paula News

Hundreds of people crushed and squashed and then pulled and hefted in the war on blight when Santa Paula Beautiful and America in Bloom volunteers fanned out on a recent Saturday to attack weeds and debris.

In their wake the beautification marauders left new plants, flowers and mulch.

The October 2 effort began Friday when America in Bloom volunteers started the prep work needed to beautify Isbell Middle School’s East Harvard Boulevard entrance, the Teague Park parking lot, and several commercial strip mall areas that sorely needed attention. Also working early were members of Arc of Ventura County, who paid close attention to Veterans Park, which they maintain on a regular basis.

According to Lucy Blanco of the Santa Paula Public Works Department, who organized Santa Paula Beautiful, “We had more volunteers than anticipated, over 300” who met early at the Gazebo for the assignments. “It was very successful,” and Blanco said the biggest project of the day was at Obregon Park, where West Coast Arborists donated labor to groom trees and bushes. Many Santa Paula High School students also helped by picking up loads of clippings at the much-used park.

“Arc has some very hard workers and they also did a great job cleaning up Veterans Park,” noted Blanco. “Another big project was the intersection of Olive and Main streets, which was cleaned by the Weed Wranglers... we had volunteers from just about all groups of the community. We cleaned city parks, school neighborhoods and the railroad right-of-way and many other areas of the city.... Everyone did a great job.”

America in Bloom volunteers also did an outstanding job, according to John Chamberlain of the local AIB chapter. America in Bloom Santa Paula has created a “comprehensive map of beautification projects for the entire town. This is a national organization, which instills pride in communities, promotes volunteerism, reduces graffiti and vandalism and increases property values.”

Chamberlain said Dianne Davis is “the head of AIB Santa Paula, and she is responsible for bringing this great organization to our town.” On October 1 and 2, “A great group of volunteers beautified the areas and had a good time doing this...  Agromin donated one ton of planting mix for the four project areas that we can consider gateway areas of the city,” which Chamberlain said has offered strong support to AIB.

Chamberlain said the AIB effort goes beyond beautification: “We intend to have schools, service organizations, churches and neighborhood groups ‘adopt’ areas that have been beautified to help with maintenance and keep that pride in your community feeling going.”

Davis, who with her husband Dudley Davis owns Do Right’s Plant Nursery, said the AIB event “was a great success. I was up to my elbows in the dirt all day at Isbell Middle School and,” she added with a laugh, “I did not quit in time to get a hot dog,” offered at the Santa Paula Beautiful/AIB volunteers’ noon barbecue staged by the city at the Gazebo.

Now, Isbell Middle School, the Enterprise Center, O’Reilly’s and the entrance to Teague Park sport America in Bloom signage showing the results of hard work and community support. “We’re very pleased overall,” said Blanco. “And we want to thank all the volunteers who gave their time and effort to make our community shine.”

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