By Sue Pascoe
The plants in the Marquez median were overgrown and it was thick with weeds, prompting residents to complain that traffic visibility was an issue at Sunset Boulevard and Marquez Avenue, at the start of the Marquez business block.
Palisades PRIDE, the local beautification nonprofit, adopted the Marquez median more than 10 years ago, which means it is required to plant city-approved plants and maintain the property. (PRIDE also adopted the Chautauqua/Sunset medians, a year or two before the Marquez median.)
In August, PRIDE President Bruce Schwartz contacted Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association (MKPOA) President Cheryl Zomber about redoing the median.
He asked her to find volunteers to help clear and plant the parcel, and a group of workers soon removed most of the overgrown vegetation. They also found a broken water pipe.
Councilman Mike Bonin’s Field Deputy Lisa Cahill was contacted, and she alerted the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Subsequently, barriers were installed around the median perimeter, and it stayed that way for months, despite inquiries from Zomber, who kept receiving numerous emails from residents complaining about the situation.
LADWP finally repaired the pipe in November.
In a November 27 email to Cahill, PRIDE member David Peterson provided an update on the project and future median plans.
“The Marquez-Sunset median is close to being finished,” he wrote. “The mix of existing soil and concrete was removed, new irrigation installed, a border of river rock set in cement was laid out, a truck load of mulch was added and the first wave of drought tolerant plants, plus a small area for color annuals were planted before Thanksgiving. “All of the work was under the supervision of our landscapers and performed by Sandoval Gardening. PRIDE provided the funding and overall oversight. The Chautauqua medians are next and will be done in the coming weeks.”
Peterson wrote in a November 29 email to the News, “One of PRIDE’s current projects is to make the Sunset medians more attractive as they are passed by everyone entering the Palisades on Sunset or Chautauqua. This summer PRIDE, led by Bruce Schwartz’s herculean efforts, planted annuals in the Sunset and Chautauqua median and it was very well received.
“Once adopted, the adopter takes over responsibility for landscaping or hardscaping the median in accord with the policies set out by the city’s program,” Peterson said. “The adopter also accepts responsibility for the continued maintenance of the medians into the future. Thus, weeding and maintenance will be PRIDE’s responsibility for the Marquez median. We can do it better and are not at the whim of the city and it saves the city money.”
Peterson said that PRIDE selected three local and talented landscapers to do design, purchase the plants and supervise the planting and installation: Ann Bright, Cynthia Hirschhorn and Allison Starcher.
“After getting several bids for the installation, we selected Elvis Sandoval and Sandoval Gardening, who has done considerable work in the Palisades and all over the Westside and the Valley,” Peterson told the News.
“We adopted the medians to take control and get things done,” he said. “We are going to make the medians prettier. As one of the wealthiest zip codes in L.A., we should recognize this and help where we can.”