7th Street Tree Planting Helps to Revitalize Historic Corridor

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Councilmember Suja Lowenthal (center) with volunteers and leaders from the Rose Park Neighborhood Association, East 7th Street Collaboration, Craftsman Village Historic District and North Alamitos Beach Association.

On Saturday, Councilmember Suja Lowenthal planted one of fifteen trees to mark the end of a busy week with 88 new trees being placed in empty tree wells all along East 7th Street from Alamitos to Junipero Avenue. Joining her at the Community Tree Planting were two-dozen volunteers and leaders from the Rose Park Neighborhood Association, East 7th Street Collaboration, Craftsman Village Historic District and North Alamitos Beach Association.

Lowenthal used the occasion to celebrate a milestone in community and city efforts to revitalize the historic corridor, which is over 100 years old. “One of our goals is to make East 7th Street more pedestrian friendly and ultimately more business friendly,” said Lowenthal. “Our neighborhood associations have been very active partners in this effort to transform East 7th into a destination location rather than a pass through.”

In fact, the East 7th St. Collaboration was created by the adjoining neighborhoods, 7th St. retailers & property owners, as well as the self employed who work along East 7th St., to build consensus for improvements along the corridor. “We want to contribute to and be part of improving our community,” remarked Gretchen Swanson of the East 7th Street Collaboration. “We want something not just to invest in, but something to believe in.”

Recently, East 7th Street underwent some major renovations from Alamitos to Junipero Avenue including:

  • Repaving the street
  • New sidewalks & curbs
  • Pavers installed in crosswalks of intersections
  • Banners indicating neighborhood and historic status

Future improvements include new bike racks, wayfinding signs and the start of construction on a new Big Saver grocery store with landscaping at the former Big Lots property. Lowenthal and community leaders have also focused on repurposing the closed gas station at 7th and Temple.

To make a dramatic effect, the East 7th Street Collaboration worked with the city’s arborist to select a single tree species -Tabebuia impetiginosa or purple trumpet to plant along the entire corridor. “In just a couple of years, driving down East 7th St. will be substantially altered due to this one project,” said Emily Stevens, president of the Rose Park Neighborhood Association. “Hundreds of trees were considered, but this tree was thought to produce most of the desired benefits of greening the street: hardy for the conditions, have modest seasonal change, and have an attractive tree structure.”

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