Santa Paula Times

10th Street/Hwy 150: $600K grant to spruce up thoroughfare

December 10, 2010
Santa Paula News

Tenth Street/Hwy 150 is in for some sprucing up, and it looks like it will be a complete makeover after the city was awarded a $600,000 TEA grant.

The grant was approved last week by the Ventura County Transportation Commission, which allocates the grant funding.

And the city will be working with America in Bloom to expend the funds along the city’s main travel corridor. “We were very pleased,” as the city’s application “got a top score for TEA grants,” said Ginger Gherardi, the former longtime VCTC executive director and AIB member.

According to Assistant to the City Manager Elisabeth Amador, the funding will provide murals to add to the city’s famous Murals of Santa Paula collection on both sides of the Highway 126 under-crossing on 10th Street, will clean up and replant parkways and add street trees as needed, and provide hanging planters and/or planter boxes. Funding will also be used to enhance the landscaping outside the Santa Paula Art Museum and at the southeast corner of 10th and Santa Barbara streets.

Landscaping will also be enhanced in front of the Santa Paula Police Station and the Community Development, building and a “bicycle node” - parking, a drinking fountain, benches and other amenities - will be built on the east side of 10th Street north of the railroad tracks, with brick sidewalks paving along 10th Street.

Gherardi said the improvements will range from just south of Highway 126 all the way to Santa Paula Street. “Elisabeth did a very good job on the grant,” which was crafted from the America in Bloom concept.

The grant is only possible because the stretch to be improved is a highway: “A normal street couldn’t get this funding.... It’s going to be a few months before the money is available; these are federal funds,” and Gherardi noted the city still must “jump through the paperwork hoops” through the months-long funding process.

“This project is focused on the visual beautification of 10th Street as one of the core transportation areas to local tourism and downtown areas,” said Amador. “Ginger was really a great resource and support to city staff to secure this grant. The goal of the project is to enhance this major transportation and pedestrian roadway” that has museums and vintage buildings fronting it as well the historic Depot, “The Warning” statue and its pocket park also holding the Floating Granite Ball and the bear statues, and spruce up the area just north of it, which has long been neglected.

Although improvements are estimated at $600,000, “Since the project includes various improvements, it can be funded for an amount less than the total project costs.... The requested grant amount would pay for the initial costs of the landscaping, both materials and design.”

Amador said, “The city will coordinate with California Conservation Corps to assist the project with weeding and planting of various landscape areas.” In addition, America in Bloom, a national community beautification program with a local chapter founded by Do Right’s Plant Nursery co-owner Dianne Dudley, will assist with the maintenance of the landscaped areas.

America in Bloom has already tackled various beautification projects on Harvard Boulevard, among other locations targeted by its members that have benefited from cleanups and/or plantings.

Amador said the beautification project will be a community-wide effort: “In addition, the city will work with the Ventura County Arc branch,” the Heritage Valley Arc on North 10th Street, “to have their members maintain and water planters and hanging baskets.”