Volunteers sought to help AIB, partners and city to cleanup Bike Trail

November 08, 2013
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly

Santa Paula Times 

A joint effort by America in Bloom, its partners and the city will target the Bike Trail for a major cleanup November 16, according to an AIB coordinator.

Gary Nasalroad of AIB said the 9 a.m. to noon clean up event is “Just the trail,” but is unlike other beautification projects because of the partnerships that will be utilized as well as the city and those who would like to volunteer.

Since AIB struck an agreement in March with the city to be responsible for much of the trail’s maintenance other than watering and the irrigation system, among a few others, volunteer groups have been taking care of the sections they adopted. 

The Optimist Club, Ashley Nichols, America in Bloom, Shilo Perez and Kathy Splies of Santa Paula Hairdressers, Future Farmers of America, Odd Fellows, and the Santa Paula Kiwanis Club all adopted stretches of the 2.5 mile trail that stretches from 12th Street to Peck Road. 

The volunteers offer regular general maintenance such as trash removal and some weed removal as well as reporting damage or graffiti to Nasalroad or directly to the city.

“Overall, the volunteers have done a pretty good job,” in spite of some challenges including the planting of deer grass that soon became an almost solid wall of annoyance.

“It looks awful in some parts, it’s almost a safety issue near some intersections and weeds grow in it,” almost impossible to remove without damaging the deer grass.

Nasalroad said city crews will be thinning out “About a third of it,” as they consider more trail needs and on November 16 volunteers will probably be charged with weeding and cutting brush including rosemary planted near trail trees.

Interim City Recreation Director Ed Mount announced the project at the November 4 City Council meeting.

“I’m here on behalf of America in Bloom,” to announce “The first annual bike clean up.... we’ll be meeting at the Gazebo,” located at Mill and East Santa Barbara streets in the Railroad Plaza at 9 a.m. 

Mount said the “Bike Trail is very popular with the community, and we felt the cleanup day would give the trail some needed tender loving care.”

The city will assist AIB and the trail volunteers in the cleanup but Mount noted that AIB is also inviting the general public to help in the effort.

Volunteers are asked to bring gloves and long-handled pruning shears if they own a pair.

At noon the day of the cleanup Nasalroad said America in Bloom would treat the hardworking volunteers to pizza at the Gazebo.

The approximately 2.5 mile path-enjoyed by walkers, runners and bicyclists-is a lot shorter than the years it took to create it. 

The decades old initial concept was for a trail to connect all cities in the Santa Clara River Valley from Piru to Fillmore and onto Santa Paula, with plans to eventually connect with Ventura to the west and the Los Angeles County line to the east.

The river valley tri-towns-Piru is unincorporated-have built the paths through their own municipalities, but Ventura County is responsible for the trail through orchards in unincorporated areas, an effort they recently decided to put on hold.

First approved by Caltrans in 1999, the Santa Paula Bike Trail underwent numerous studies and design reviews as well as funding acquisition before it was put on hold in 2008 while the Ventura County Transportation Commission renovated The Mill, Depot and Railroad Plaza.

In October 2010 trail ground was broken, but construction was delayed until March 2011; the approximately $4 million trail was finally dedicated in February 2012. 

The trail’s landscape architectural design firm took care of the newly planted trail area long enough to ensure the plantings and thereafter maintenance became the city’s responsibility.

For more information on America in Bloom, visit http://www.santapaulainbloom.com

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