Main Street – The Garden Spot of Venice?

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By Jim Smith

As many as 80 people spent a Saturday last month building a garden on the slope of the Rose and Main St. parking lot. The strip fronts Main Street and looks out at the Binocular building across the street.

Before Sept. 25 this long, skinny strip was a neglected and forlorn place for weeds, bottles and cans. Now it is covered with water-resistant and mostly California native plants. At the south end, where bare concrete took over from the weeds, there is now a brightly-painted section of the park. At the other end a bench covered with vegetation seems to have grown out of the ground.

The “make-over” would not have happened without Architect and community activist, Geofrey Collins, Environmentalist Francis Della Vecchia, and their 80 friends.

Collins has been working on beautifying several blocks of lonesome patches along Main Street, both with and without city permission. While no one has opposed the mini-gardens he suggested, it took two years for the city of L.A.’s bureaucracy to creak into action. In a city that bans both giant commercial advertising and non-commercial murals, yet sees both of them proliferate, it shouldn’t be surprising if beautifications projects, like these, break out on their own. Even the local arm of that bureaucracy, our Neighborhood Council, has yet to come across with funding they promised long ago.

Meanwhile, tourists who come from all over to photograph the now half-deserted Chiat-Day Binocular Building, may turn their cameras around to photograph a beautiful street-side garden built by volunteer Venetians.

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