identify community

BY VINCE ECHAVARIA

Visitors to Mar Vista will now have a better sense of when they are entering this longstanding community of Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has installed six new signs identifying the Mar Vista boundaries at main commercial entrances into the community.

Members of the Mar Vista Community Council held a dedication ceremony for the new signs Thursday, April 13th, along with community members and Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl at one of the sign locations on the southwest corner of National Boulevard and Barrington Avenue.

Community members said the signs will help build community pride as Mar Vista approaches its 80th anniversary as a neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2007.

“They give the community a sense of place,” Mar Vista Community Council chair Tom Ponton said.

Mar Vista, which was primarily a farming community until the 1940s, is located three miles from the beach.

But Ponton said many visitors are unaware of the exact location of Mar Vista, which in 1927, became the 70th community to be annexed to Los Angeles.

“The majority of people in Los Angeles, even on the Westside, cannot tell you where Mar Vista is, although Mar Vista has more residents than Venice or Westchester, communities well known to most of us.

“People living and working in Mar Vista are often unclear where it starts and stops. At least they’ll know where Mar Vista is now.”

The six community signs are located at;

– Centinela Avenue, north of Washington Place;

– Centinela Avenue, south of Airport Drive;

– Venice Boulevard and Sawtelle Boulevard;

– Venice Boulevard and Beethoven Street;

– National Boulevard and Barrington Avenue and;

– Rose Avenue, east of Walgrove Avenue.

Mar Vista Community Council Urban Planning Committee co-chair Steve Wallace also praised the new signs for giving Mar Vista “some identity.”

“It’s great news to actually get (Mar Vista) on the map,” said Wallace, who helped spearhead the effort to get the signs put up for the community.

“If you look at other neighborhoods and see that the place has identity it makes the people come together and care more about the community.”

Wallace said the effort to acquire Mar Vista community signs began two years ago when the urban planning committee first proposed the idea, which was later supported by the Mar Vista Community Council, an official City of Los Angeles Neighborhood Council.

Wallace acknowledged that the plan was a “collective effort” of the community and the city, including the Department of Transportation and Rosendahl, who presented to the Los Angeles City Council the motion that established the designation and signs.

Rosendahl, a Mar Vista resident, said he was honored to carry the motion to the City Council.

“This is a special moment for our community and I wanted to thank the Mar Vista Community Council for their strong advocacy throughout the process,” Rosendahl said.

Ponton said the Mar Vista Community Council is thankful to Rosendahl for helping to provide the new signs and give Mar Vista a sense of community.

“The Mar Vista Community Council is working to build a stronger sense of community in our neighborhood in many ways and through a variety of projects,” Ponton said. “These new signs are one important step in that endeavor.”

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