State grant will facilitate San Pedro greening vision

SAN PEDRO—In an effort to brighten walkways and connections throughout the downtown and waterfront district, San Pedro recently received a highly sought-after $250,000 state grant to establish a comprehensive greening plan.

The funding will help spruce up what Steve Kleinjan of Clean San Pedro called the “over-paved” areas of downtown, linking connection points of urban park areas to the waterfront quarters. Implementing finely landscaped sidewalks and bike and running paths, the plan seeks to build on the benefits of community health and environmental consciousness.

“Getting this grant, we can come up with a consensus plan to improve our community, to improve our streets, our sidewalks, trees and then go after money outside the city of Los Angeles,” Kleinjan said.

Clean San Pedro, a grassroots organization aimed at improving environment and quality of life in San Pedro, will join forces with the L.A. Conservation Corps as a subcontractor on the project. With the plan scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, Kleinjan said it will focus on establishing green pathways and vegetation alongside the commercial and residential areas of the port town.

The funding is made available from urban greening grants which were initiated through 2006’s Proposition 84, according to media reports. The allocated grant will finance the initial phase of the project. Kleinjan said further grants and aid will be sought as the planning process progresses, including additional allowances from the Port of Los Angeles.

“With this greening grant, we can come up with a way to tie all of these things together with pathways that you could follow from one way to the other that you wouldn’t mind riding a bike down to or walking to,” he said. “It attracts people just because it would be a nicer place to be.”

The projects’ main goals, as outlined on their website, are to classify green pathways and outlets throughout San Pedro, link downtown destination points to larger open space areas and provide green facilities for those pathways while making them safe and attractive to use and visit.

“What I hope it looks like is that we have legitimate areas within our downtown that we can have landscape and plants in,” Kleinjan said. “The planting areas now are terrible. You have four inches of dirt before you hit concrete. You can’t grow anything in them. They’re just very poorly done. We don’t have access to water. We have to water all of them with water trucks.”

The first meeting in the planning process was held June 10 during the city’s First Thursday celebration downtown. A panel of community representatives will host a creative workshop, the first of three, June 21, which will be open to the public. The design meeting will be held at the Croatian Cultural Center between 9:30 a.m. and noon.

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