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Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association Honors Congresswoman Waters 
By Sentinel News Service  
Published October 12, 2016
Pictured above with Congresswoman Waters (center) are WSIA members (left to right) Sue Piervin , Sheila Mickelson, Barbara Musella, John Ruhlen, Don Duckworth and Marc Hoffman. (Courtesy Photo)  

Pictured above with Congresswoman Waters (center) are WSIA members (left to right) Sue Piervin , Sheila Mickelson, Barbara Musella, John Ruhlen, Don Duckworth and Marc Hoffman. (Courtesy Photo)

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) was honored on Monday by the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association (WSIA) and Westchester community leaders with the unveiling of a plaque naming a portion of the revitalized Sepulveda Boulevard landscape the “Congresswoman Maxine Waters Garden.” The WSIA is a non-profit organization that partners with citizens and businesses to improve the quality of life in Westchester, a neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles.

In 2008, the WSIA approached Congresswoman Waters to discuss the condition of Sepulveda Boulevard between 80th and 84th Streets.  The overgrown roots of the non-native ficus trees had upturned the sidewalks, making them extremely precarious for pedestrians, bicyclists and persons with disabilities.  Congresswoman Waters was able to obtain a one-million-dollar federal earmark from the Department of Transportation, which the City of Los Angeles used for a complete redesign and re-landscaping of this important street.  Sepulveda Boulevard is a crucial gateway to Los Angeles for arriving visitors and an essential thoroughfare for the residents of Westchester.

“Knowing how important this project was to the residents of Westchester, I was pleased to be able to work with the late Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and his successor, Councilman Mike Bonin, to help the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association see it through to completion.  As a longtime lover of flowers, I am particularly touched by this honor,” said Congresswoman Waters.

Leaders of the community, including Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin (CD-11), Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council President Cyndi Hench, and Westchester Business Improvement District Executive Director Don Duckworth, joined with the WSIA Board, led by President John Ruhlen, to thank Congresswoman Waters.  A plaque naming a particularly beautiful section of the now safe and drought resistant landscaping the “Congresswoman Maxine Waters Garden” was unveiled during a brief ceremony outside of Covenant Presbyterian Church.

“Our goal was to create a much more walkable streetscape that will enable pedestrians, especially children and the elderly, to safely connect with the schools, churches, and the YMCA, which are located on Sepulveda,” said WSIA President Ruhlen, who began the effort more than a decade ago.

The $2.85-million project was funded through a variety of sources, including the federal earmark secured by Congresswoman Waters.

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