The Gateway Project to the Historic Venice Canals will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, June 22nd, on Dell Avenue at Sherman Canal, Venice.

The beautification project is a joint community effort by two Venice Canals organizations — the Voice of the Canals (VOC) a residents’ organization, and the Venice Canals Association (VCA), a property owners’ organization.

Both groups applied for and jointly received a $10,000 Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant from the City of Los Angeles Community Beautification program.

The grant will be used by the Gateway Project to landscape the entrance to the Venice Canals on the city-owned parkways on Dell Avenue, between Sherman Canal and Sherman Canal Court.

Landscape designer Zack Freedman developed a design incorporating drought-tolerant plants from the city’s approved list.

Canal residents and owners had an opportunity to view the designs for the project as well as voice their concerns and opinions at two community meetings.

After the Department of Water and Power completed the installation of water meters, called for in the design plan, the Gateway Project committee voted for trees that would determine the landscape.

The Voice of the Canals group held a community-wide Tree Voting Day and the Venice Canals Association mailed ballots to its members.

When all of the ballots were counted, the most popular choice was the Guadeloupe palm tree.

Since the grant from the city covered less than half the cost of the project, canal residents raised additional funds.

The VOC sponsored a community-wide Gateway Project Raffle that raised $9,000 and the VCA members made donations of $3,500 to the Gateway Project.

The Gateway Committee members include Darryl DuFay, Zack Freedman, Grace Godlin, Maxine Leral, Barbara Malsch, Susan Painter and Nadine Parkos.

The grant applicants included Tim Prokop, president of VOC; Parkos, president of VCA; project managers Freedman and Malsch; and financial manager Godlin.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and his field deputy Mark Antonio Grant have been invited to the groundbreaking ceremony.

Michael Espinosa, manager of the city’s Neighborhood Matching Fund Grant program was also invited.

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