Jennifer Charnofsky with one of the trees WAHA helped plant on Adams Blvd.
West Adams is home to six of the city's twenty-seven Historic Preservation Overlay Zones, a unique treasure of early twentieth century houses. Detracting from the beauty of these lovely old homes, however, are some of the neglected commercial corridors, most notably along Adams Blvd. in the Adams-Normandie HPOZ. In 2009 several WAHA members in local block clubs enlisted Mayor Villaraigosa's Million Tree project to plant 26 trees on Adams Blvd. between Vermont and Normandie Avenues. When fully grown years from now they will provide a leafy canopy that will transform the look of this tired thoroughfare -- and hopefully encourage some historically sensitive development as well.
The trees were free, but local groups had to agree to pay for regular watering and maintenance for the first three years. The trees went into the ground in April 2009. The planting and care is done by the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, a nonprofit that has planted more than 4,000 trees for the city. Block clubs and the local neighborhood council paid for the first year of care. WAHA contributed $400 directly to the second year.
Now we are about to begin the third and last year. Amazingly all 26 trees have survived. They are Magnolias, to match the sparse planting of now-mature trees from earlier times. Still thin little babies, the new trees have escaped accidents, vandals, and just bad luck. The cost for regular watering and maintenance for the third and last year is $3,120, or $260 per month. WAHA is contributing $520 of this, covering two months of care. The remainder is being donated by the Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council, the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association, and the Adams Normandie Neighborhood Association. WAHA and Van Buren member Jennifer Charnofsky has overseen the project, aided by her husband and WAHA webmaster Leslie Evans.