Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez to Unveil Transformed La Reina Way

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First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez

First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez

Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez will unveil the transformation of La Reina Way near Chestnut Avenue on Saturday, February 6, at 9:00 am. La Reina Way is one of many “Courts and Ways” in the Willmore City neighborhood. It will be closed to vehicular traffic, and permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants, bike racks and benches have been installed to increase the sense of community and walkability in this historic Downtown neighborhood.

“I always encourage my residents to get together to come up with real solutions to changes that they want to see happen,” said Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez. “This is a perfect example of ideas turning into positive realities, and I encourage other neighborhood groups to use La Reina Way as an inspiration for improvements in their own neighborhoods.”

La Reina Way will now provide an even safer play space for children, a meeting place for neighbors, and enhanced pedestrian and bicycle circulation in the neighborhood.

This pilot project traces its roots back to 1882, when the area was first developed as Willmore City, and the Courts and Ways provided access to front doors and yards for some residences; side and rear yards for others; garages, and storage sheds. Over the years they have become neglected.

The Willmore City Heritage Association (WCHA) helped to plan the improvements, and has committed to perform the necessary maintenance of the green pedestrian way, including repairs, maintenance of landscaping, and custodial services for a minimum of 20 years.

“Our Courts and Ways are so much more than alleys,” said Kathleen Irvine, WCHA President. “They are an essential character-defining feature of our historic urban grid, and they provide a vital, connective tissue for the daily lives of most Willmore District residents.”

The pilot project also includes stormwater improvements, and will be evaluated for possible incorporation at additional Courts and Ways in the area. It was funded by a $170,000 Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Grant Program through Proposition 84, secured by the City’s Office of Sustainability and the former Redevelopment Agency, and $50,000 from federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

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