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Sepulveda Corridor Gets First of 5,000 New Trees

Arbor Day: The planting of 27 purple leaf plums is part of plan to add shade and beauty along the boulevard from Mission Hills to Harbor City. Mayor praises effort.

April 26, 2002|STEPHANIE STASSEL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In honor of Arbor Day today, Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn displayed the first of about 5,000 shade trees Thursday that will be planted along Sepulveda Boulevard from Mission Hills to Harbor City.

"This is not only going to beautify the area, but will help clean up air pollution and provide shade, which will help with energy conservation," Hahn told residents and city officials gathered along a median in Van Nuys, where 27 purple leaf plum trees were planted. "Some people would have looked at this and seen a desolate piece of property. We saw a piece of property with potential."

Until Wednesday, the median that fronts houses along Sepulveda Boulevard from Haynes to Lemay streets was a dirt strip that occasionally attracted discarded furniture. Neighbors in the nearby Midvale Estates tract were in the midst of applying for a city grant to plant trees in the median when they discovered the city was already planning to do it.

"I got a call from my partner, who said, 'You're not going to believe this,'" said real estate saleswoman Cathy Cressy, who lives two blocks away.

Instead of applying for money to plant trees, Cressy said, the residents will ask for funds to plant ground cover.

The tree planting is part of the Department of Water and Power's $8-million Trees for a Green L.A. program, which calls for planting 200,000 shade trees throughout the city during the next two years, most of them on residential property. The Sepulveda greenway will be planted by members of the Los Angeles Conservation Corps.

Several observers at Hahn's news conference said the tree planting is a goodwill gesture by city officials who want Los Angeles to stay united.

"They don't want to see [the Valley] secede," said Robert Bonfiglio, a facilities operations manager at a local studio.

Residents interested in signing up for planting workshops can call (800) 473-3652.

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