Valleywide : U.S. Grant to Help Keep City Green

If Hector Manuel Briones has his way, graceful Chinese pistache trees will eventually shade Sunland Boulevard in Sun Valley.

But first, Briones and Neighborhood Empowerment and Economic Develop ment Inc. (NEED) will start the trees from 36-inch saplings.

The greening effort is part of $500,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Urban Resources Partner ship, announced Monday by Mayor Rich ard Riordan and Agriculture Undersecre tary James Lyons.

Birmingham High School in Van Nuys, the West Valley Occupational Center in Woodland Hills, the state Department of Parks and Recreation in Calabasas, the Environmental Ministries in Reseda, Madison High School in North Hollywood, the Reseda Chamber of Commerce and Briones’ organization were among the 39 Los Angeles projects to share in the grant money that funds the creation of mid-city gardens and habitat restoration.


Pending community and city approval, the Reseda chamber plans “something quite dramatic and remarkable” for the 7000 block of Reseda Boulevard, said Nancy McMillan, a member of the cham ber’s board of directors.

The group will use its $8,000 grant to plant topiaries in front of the Reseda Boulevard police substation and to train vines to cover the stucco building. Per haps, McMillan added, the group will create small islands in the street and plant pear trees.

In Sun Valley, 72 Chinese pistache trees will replace the existing trees in the Sunland Boulevard-Vineland Avenue corridor between Strathern Street and San Fernando Road.

The $10,000 grant allows NEED to replace the bedraggled pear trees in the corridor and transplant them to Roscoe Elementary School.

The hardy pistaches, which grow to 60 feet and turn crimson in the fall, will arrive between February and June of next year. The tree wells will also contain geraniums and day lilies, Briones said.

“There’s something pleasant about trees along a busy traffic corridor,” Briones said. “They enhance the overall environment. It’s a relief from the con crete and asphalt that are part of the urban environment.”