Santa Paula Times

Heritage Valley ARC kicked off the Santa Paula Beautiful program last Friday. ARC showed up in force to clean up Veterans Park. The Santa Paula Beautiful program is an opportunity for residents, business owners, tenants, civic groups, church groups, scout troops and individuals to demonstrate their concern for the physical appearance of their neighborhoods and surrounding properties. Many residents were out in force last Saturday cleaning various places around Santa Paula. Left photo, Heritage Valley ARC workers (left to right) are: Lupe Lozano, Yasmin Ruiz, and Cindy Gutierrez. Right photo, cleaning up the flower beds at Veteran’s Park are: (left to right) Hector Sanchez and Erasmo Valodinas.

Santa Paula Beautiful kicks off with Heritage Valley ARC

September 23, 2009
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesTruckloads of volunteers exhibited strong community pride as they were driven around town during Saturday’s Santa Paula Beautiful (SPB), where they tackled a variety of city improvement projects. The half-day event targeted blighted areas of the city for general cleanup and/or landscape beautification by clubs and organizations, churches, schools and individuals.Bev Frady of Santa Paula Police Citizens Patrol said it was her first SPB experience, although she also volunteers at the Santa Paula Police Department Station and teaches CPR for the American Red Cross.“We do a lot of good stuff with Citizens Patrol,” while also learning about - and helping out with - police operations. “I think Santa Paula is one of the luckiest cities in the world,” noted Frady, because of its police and fire services, as well as the opportunity to volunteer as a team for events such as SPB.“We planted trees from Olive Street to Palm Avenue,” said SPPD Sergeant Jimmy Fogata, who noted the approximately 15-member team included CERT members and SPPD Explorers as well as Citizens Patrol. “Everyone worked hard, but we had a lot of fun,” noted Fogata.“Rotary at Work” read Pam Lindsay’s T-shirt, and the Rotary Club of Santa Paula president said her team of Santa Paula High School students combed the railroad corridor from the Gazebo to the 7th Street and then worked at the Rotary-adopted Ebell Park. “I took a group of kids” who cleaned and weeded, although, Lindsay admitted, “I also like that I got to work” alongside the SPHS Human Services Academy.Santa Paula Beautiful was “really successful,” noted Interim Public Works Director Jon Turner. “We had probably 150 high school kids alone this year who turned out in droves to help.” In all, Turner estimated that more than 225 volunteers helped with everything from general cleanup to landscaping projects.
Of the former, Turner said a group of volunteers “generated about 65 bags of trash just at Obregon Park - we had people at all the parks - and we had people cleaning the railroad right of way and 11th Street, Santa Paula Street,” among others. “We had a couple of planting projects,” including Faulkner and Peck roads, as well as a more ambitious project that targeted 12th and Santa Maria streets.Turner said Santa Paula resident Mike Colman of Colman Landscaping, who is contracted by the city to work on public areas, continued to be a strong SPB supporter, donating time, plants and an irrigation system at the location. “Part of this event’s success was not only the monetary and goods donations” from businesses and the community, but also knowledge: “Mike played a huge part in making sure we had the right plants; he always goes way above and beyond.”Turner said he was pleased that “People really put the effort to pick up the town. It was nice and people really had a good time.”But the event almost didn’t happen: “We didn’t have a Santa Paula Beautiful budget this year, but we got about $4,000 in monetary and in-kind donations. And public works employees donated their time,” although historically they received comp time in exchange for working SPB.“They also showed up and said, ‘I live here and I want to donate.’ Santa Paula Beautiful was a huge success,” not only in beautifying the city, but also, added Turner, by bringing residents together and forging new friendships as they worked together and shared their pride in the city.