SP shining on South Mountain after fifth consecutive Limoneira cleanup

July 05, 2006
Santa Paula News

Limoneira Co. is continuing a tradition enjoyed by everyone living in the community with the annual restoration of the giant “SP” on the face of South Mountain.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesLimoneira Co. is continuing a tradition enjoyed by everyone living in the community with the annual restoration of the giant “SP” on the face of South Mountain.Ron Hendren, who retired as the Limoneira vice president, said that the company started the restoration process June 26 to “have it bright and shiny for the Fourth of July.” Hendren said that a crew of Limoneira workers cleared the dense brush that had sprung up near the letters on Saturday, and that painting was scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. “It’s a public service that Limoneira Co. does for the community,” now for the fifth year in a row.Previously volunteers had kept the “SP” looming over the city sparkling, but the effort to tackle the huge letters had dwindled over the years. Limoneira and other volunteers first cleared the area and restored and repainted the letters in 2001 for the city’s Centennial Celebration.
Associates Insectary personnel, who use a 400-gallon rig filled with a combination of lime and whitewash to brighten the letters, do the actual painting of the giant “SP”. “They keep the mixture churned up while they’re spraying it out,” noted Hendren. “It only lasts one season... that’s why we have to go back each year. It will be bright and shiny for the Fourth of July.”Access to the property is over land owned by Eric King, who “was very generous to let us.... The Gunderson’s (who with the Richardson and Robbins families owns the property holding the “SP”) were again very gracious to let us do the restoration again this year.”Created in the 1920s by Santa Paula High School students, the “SP” has the perfect backdrop on South Mountain. In the 1970s, a now defunct area service club installed plastic roofing material on the letters in the hope that it would last for years.In the early 1990s, Gus Gunderson, his wife Helen, and Dave Camp spent “nearly a whole day clearing off the overgrowth just in time for the SPUHS Alumni Dinner,” said Virginia Gunderson. To prepare for the Centennial Celebration, John Procter, Bill Glenn, Chris Wilson and Mike Binsley surveyed the situation and found that they needed help... that’s when Limoneira and Associates Insectary got involved.



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