Founder of Midtown Merchants Christine Burke, Ventura business owner Cherie Egbert and Councilwoman Christy Weir receiving beautification grant. Photo by Bernie Goldstein
The City of Ventura has awarded community beautification grants to seven local groups and nonprofit organizations. These grants support projects designed to enhance neighborhoods and public areas. Project examples include mulching events, median plantings, neighborhood clean-ups, general beautification improvements and blight reduction projects.
In 2019, the City developed a beautification granting pilot program funded by Measure O. The purpose of the grant program is to help community groups and nonprofit organizations complete projects that meet the City’s aging needs and enhance Ventura’s environmental, social, and cultural experiences for residents and visitors.
“The City is committed to improving Ventura’s quality of life, and that’s why we created an opportunity for residents to partner with us in this effort,” said Mayor Matt LaVere. “We are grateful for the responses from these locally-based organizations to help beautify our neighborhoods. I look forward to seeing these grant funded projects come to life for everyone to enjoy.”
Founder of Midtown Merchants Christine Burke stated, “Midtown E. Main Street currently still struggles with a reputation of being a place you drive through and not stop at unless you have a destination to attend to. With this potted plant project, we desire to create stimulating visual interest to Midtown, which will bring enjoyment to all who walk, bike or drive by.”
The group was started in 2018 by Christine Burke [Caffrodite]) and Lynne Dralle [Lynne’s Consignment]. She stated, “We were meeting regularly until the Corona Virus shut many of the businesses down in Midtown (as with elsewhere). Part of our mission is to bring beauty, walkability and business to this diamond in the rough area we all love so much. “
Grant recipients and awarded projects include:
Ventura Community Council: Project to include native ground cover and six trees at the corner of Main Street and Emma Avenue
CLEAN International: Project to include seven new tree plantings in empty tree wells, located between the five points intersection and Loma Vista Road
San Buenaventura Heritage Inc.: Project to include improvements at the Dudley House Museum
Midtown Merchants Group & Friends: Project to include 30 planter pots and 6 tree plantings in Midtown Ventura between Santa Rosa and Catalina Streets
Montalvo Community Council: Project to include a mural on the east end of Ventura
Downtown Ventura Organization: Project to include recycled plastic, self-watering pots, planted with native and Mediterranean species along the 700 block of Main Street.
Pierpont Bay Community Council: Project to include welcome signage and lighting along the south end of Seaward
Applications were reviewed by a panel of community members knowledgeable in beautification projects and city staff from Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and the Community Development Department. Projects were evaluated and scored based on grant criteria, the number of residents served, and how closely the project aligned with City priorities. Available funding ranged from $1,000 to $10,000 for each project.
Visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov to learn more about the City of Ventura’s Beautification Grant Program.