It may come as no surprise that some consider Mar Vista resident Maritza Przekop to be a pioneer, with her many different contributions to her community over the years.

Przekop, who has lived in the Mar Vista community for 17 years, is one of 15 women from each of the 15 Los Angeles City Council Districts to receive the 2007 Pioneer Women Award.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, a fellow Mar Vista resident, honored Przekop with the Pioneer Women award for his 11th Council District at a City Council presentation Friday, March 30th.

ìMaritza is a phenomenal woman,î Rosendahl said. ìShe has worked diligently to not only improve the quality of life within her neighborhood, but also the entire Westside.î

Every year during Womenís History Month, the Los Angeles City Council, in conjunction with the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, honors 15 women with the Pioneer Women Award.

The award, created in 1988, recognizes the accomplishments of women in Los Angeles who have made outstanding contributions to the strength, vitality and enrichment of Los Angeles, city officials said. Nominees can be women in the community between high school and retirement age.

Among the various criteria city officials consider in selecting a woman for the award are that she must live or work in the specific council district, contribute toward improving the status of women in Los Angeles, have performed courageous acts and be involved in philanthropic endeavors.

Przekop, a former member of the Mar Vista Community Council who is currently a planning assistant with the Los Angeles City Planning Department, said she was ìvery honored and surprisedî to receive the special recognition from Rosendahl.

ìI was very humbled by the achievements of the other nominees and their work in the community,î Przekop said. ìThis was a special honor for my family, especially my son, Clayton, now 16 years old, who attended so many evening community meetings.î

Przekop has worked in the city Planning Department for about a year and brought with her 25 years of private-sector experience in the areas of architecture, urban design, transportation planning, entitlements and community affairs.

Prior to working at the Planning Department, she served on the Mar Vista Community Council board of directors for three years and was chair of the Community Council Urban Planning and Land Use Committee.

During her time with the Mar Vista Community Council, Przekop was active in efforts to develop a concept plan for the council, which included a feasibility study for the Mar Vista Farmers Market and streetscape and planting improvements along Venice and Grand View Boulevards.

She has also been a member of the steering committee for the citywide Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, a representative for the budget committee and a representative for the Collaborative Learning project at USC.

An immigrant from El Salvador who came to Los Angeles in 1977, Przekop said she has taken such an active role in her community as a way ìto give back.î

ìI just wanted to do my part,î she said.

Przekop said she plans to continue working on community issues and hopes that other residents will also choose to be active members in their community.

ìThe more people who get involved the more accurate the vision is, and the healthier the community,î she said.