This is a great addition to the Melrose on 7th community and a key milestone in its rebirth that has progressed over the past several years, even during these tough economic times. It continues the street-scape improvements, including shade structures, and pedestrian crossing that have brought a more “pedestrian friendly” feeling for the neighborhood Melrose shopping district, despite being a well-traveled thoroughfare, infamous for the reversible (i.e. suicide) lanes that have created what Vice Mayor Tom Simplot has described as a mini-freeway. Moreover, community gardens are important community enhancements. Not only do they provide a catalyst for further neighborhood improvements, they stimulate social interaction, reduce local crime, reduce human heat island, and produce affordable a nutritious food.
The four neighborhood associations in the immediate vicinity Grandview, Woodlea/Melrose, Carnation and Pierson Place will be provided spaces to plant and nurture their own crops. In addition, there will be some parking spaces added for gardeners as well as patrons of Melrose Pharmacy and the other businesses in the Wagon Wheel Building. Also included in the plans are be shade trees, enhanced sidewalks and new public art.
This community garden is being made possible by Clear Channel, the owners of the property. While Clear Channel will retain ownership, they are leasing the land to the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA) for a nominal fee. In addition they will opat a total of $50,000 towards the improvements listed above, and maintain the property for at least two years.
Clear Channel will also be replacing the large ground level billboard currently on the property with a new smaller (10×30′) digital sign located on the the building to the north of the lot. Clear Channel has also proposed removing another sign along 7ths ave (at Glenrosa) altogether. As a result the signage on 7th Ave will be reduced by over 1,000 sq ft, which is another important step in returning a neighborhood feel to the street.
Approvals and permits still need to be obtained from the city, so nothing is assured yet, but with the support of the SAMA and the local neighborhood associations, the process is expected to go smoothly.
For more details about the community garden you can contact Kurt Stickler at 602-279-9847. You can also drop by the Wagon Wheel Building and check out the conceptual drawing in the window of Kurt’s Clayface Ceramics studio at 710 W Montecito, next door to Hollywood Regency. You can also contact Vice Mayor (and District 4 Councilperson) Tom Simplot’s office to voice your support for the community garden in particular, and the continuing pedestrian improvements along 7th Ave.