Prepare to revel in the glory of a reconfigured, safer La Reina Way.
This Saturday, February 6, Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez will unveil a revamped La Reina Way, near Chestnut Avenue in the Willmore City Historic Neighborhood. To commence at 9:00AM, the unveiling will celebrate the “increased sense of community” and walkability of the downtown neighborhood.
The city will close the street to vehicular traffic for the ceremony, which will highlight the brand spankin’ new permeable pavers, drought-tolerant plants, bike racks and benches.
“I always encourage my residents to get together to come up with real solutions to changes that they want to see happen,” said Gonzalez in a statement. “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.”
Funded by a $170,000 Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Grant Program through Proposition 84 and $50,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant funds, the pilot project that improved the green space also includes stormwater improvements and will be evaluated for possible incorporation at additional courts and ways in the area.
The original courts and ways—various walkways and alleyways throughout Willmore City—were first developed in the neighborhood’s infancy in 1882, providing access to front doors and yards from some residents and side and rear yards for others. They also served as entry points to garages and storage sheds, according to a city release. In the 100-plus year since their creation, many of the courts and ways have fallen into disrepair.
The Willmore City Heritage Association (WCHA) helped plan the needed improvements and has made a 20-year commitment to maintain the makeover, complete with custodial services, repairs, maintenance of landscaping and more.
“Our Courts and Ways are so much more than alleys,” said Kathleen Irvine, WCHA president, in a statement. “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 residents.”
Above left: File photo.