Windward Avenue, one of the most heavily traversed areas of Venice, got a touch-up courtesy of dozens of community members Saturday, March 19.

Approximately 35 people, including members of the Venice Neighborhood Council and Venice Chamber of Commerce as well as local neighbors, joined together at Windward Avenue for a community cleanup effort. Volunteers walked along the popular Venice street near the traffic circle and toward the boardwalk, filling trash bags, removing graffiti, and sweeping the sidewalks and streets.

Some crews pressure washed the surrounding sidewalks with machines and approximately a dozen members of the Joyful Activist group also took part in the beautification project by helping to remove weeds at the Dudley Triangle garden.

Neighborhood Council Vice President Carolyn Rios, who helped initiate the event, said she was pleased with the work done by the volunteers and believes the right number of participants got involved for the amount of work that was needed. Organizers had initially planned for a slightly larger cleanup but less work was required after the area near the U.S. Postal Service annex property was recently cleaned, she said.

Rios said she proposed the cleanup as a way to improve the appearance of one of Venice’s main streets.

“Windward is the historical center of Venice; more than any other place, it represents the heart and soul,” Rios said.

Andy Layman, past president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce, agreed, saying chamber members wanted to take part to help improve the image of the neighborhood.

“Windward is sort of the entrance to Venice and we want to work on trying to improve the image of Venice,” he said. “What’s good for the community is good for the business community.”

Layman noted that representatives of the city of Los Angeles were very supportive by helping supply cleanup materials including trash bags and brooms.

Another plan for the event was to have some members of the Venice Skateboarders Association paint city-donated trash cans to place around the traffic circle area, but the project was delayed to a later time, Rios said.

Organizers also hope to create a garden near the green space at the postal annex property in the future, she said. Their plan is to hold events at other parts of the community that may be in need of some sprucing up.

Layman said organizers can learn from this initial cleanup at Windward on ways to make future events even more successful and involve more of the community.

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