Monday, March 30

Community improvement projects to beautify neglected streets of Westwood

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council approved $4,000 in funding for two Westwood Boulevard beautification projects. The Los Angeles Conservation Corps will be conducting the improvements. (Sim Beauchamp/Daily Bruin)

Westwood residents will soon enjoy flowers and cleaner sidewalks on a stretch of Westwood Boulevard.

The North Westwood Neighborhood Council approved $4,000 in funding for two Westwood Boulevard beautification projects at a meeting May 8. The Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a nonprofit organization, will be conducting the improvements. The Los Angeles City Council approved the projects May 17.

One of the projects will involve planting flowers around the trees on Westwood Boulevard between Wilshire Boulevard and Ohio Avenue. Another project will have volunteers pressure wash the sidewalks in the same region.

The NWWNC designed the project specifications, said Erica Blodgett, director of development and communications for the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

Amir Tarighat, NWWNC treasurer, said the council reached out to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps about the project as part of the council’s effort to conduct community improvement projects.

“Community improvement projects are about improving publicly owned spaces, like neighborhood beautification,” Tarighat said. “We reached out to the LA Conservation Corps, which is a nonprofit that does this sort of work, and we were actually referred to them by the city.”

Although details regarding the projects have not been finalized, the projects are not expected to take long to complete once they are underway, said Michael Skiles, NWWNC president.

“I would not at all be surprised if this gets done in the next month or two,” Skiles said. “But we don’t have that definitively confirmed.”

Skiles said council members noticed the stretch of Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire Boulevard was not maintained as well as the stretch that runs north of Wilshire.

Skiles said he thinks this might be because the LA Great Streets Initiative, which provides funding and support for select streets to improve their quality and accessibility, benefits only the segment of Westwood Boulevard north of Wilshire Boulevard.

“The north side of Wilshire has been pretty well kept because it’s part of the mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, which means it’s eligible for grant funding,” Skiles said. “But the south side, between Wilshire and Ohio, was not as well maintained and just looked a little bit more dingy.”

Tarighat added the region does not receive as much maintenance as other parts of the neighborhood because it falls outside of the Westwood Village Improvement Association’s jurisdiction. The WVIA, a nonprofit organization, improves Westwood Village through maintenance and programming.

The WVIA receives funding through additional mandatory taxes that are imposed upon businesses and property owners within its jurisdiction. The organization then carries out various beautification projects within its boundaries.

The NWWNC felt Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire Boulevard defines the Westwood community and that beautifying the region would bring more attention to ethnic and cultural constituencies such as the Iranian community in Persian Square, Skiles said.

The NWWNC aims to conduct similar improvement projects later on in other parts of Westwood that experience a similar lack of attention, Skiles said.

“All parts of Westwood are important to us, and we look forward to getting to all of those parts,” Skiles said.

Staff Writer

Oruganti is a News staff writer. He was previously a reporter for the city and crime beat. He is also a second-year cognitive science student.

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