THE WESTCHESTER STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION(WSIA) was born from the community’s desire for grassroots involvement and community sensitivity in response to government plans to construct an eight-lane expressway to the airport that would compromise Westchester’s neighborhoods and commercial center.
Threats to our unique community-focused sense of place and serenity were a resounding call to action. WSIA was formed soon after. Now, more than two decades later, WSIA continues to provide leadership and sponsorship for meaningful, thoughtful, and attractive community improvements that speak to the heart of our community’s identity. The fuel for WSIA’s endeavors continues to be the active involvement, persistence, and generosity of its volunteers and community partners.
Among WSIA’s first successes was its involvement in the beautification of Sepulveda Boulevard in the 1990s. Initial plans to expand Sepulveda Boulevard for traffic evolved to include a series of open community streetscape design charrettes that guided practical street improvements and $11.6 million in city capital expenditures, which included funds for abundant landscaping.
In turn, those plans motivated the Westchester business community to form a business improvement district, or "BID", under auspices of the City of Los Angeles, in order to provide on-going maintenance for landscaping around Sepulveda Boulevard. At the same time, the BID would provide community-focused decision-making to help guide the Sepulveda Boulevard beautification project to successful completion.
The local business community has assessed itself about $250,000 per year through the BID since 2007 for similar improvement initiatives. In addition to the Sepulveda Boulevard beautification, WSIA volunteers and Congresswoman Maxine Waters successfully lobbied for $1 million in federal funds to replace broken sidewalks and unsafe, overgrown trees. This initiative is known today as the Westchester Landscape Entryway project.
To compliment the federal funding of this initiative, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl facilitated an additional $1.85 million in funding from Equity Office Properties for the Westchester Landscape Entryway Project. WSIA used these funds for capital improvements and to establish a self-sustaining, on-going maintenance fund for local streetscapes.
Along the way, WSIA has facilitated, managed, and supported streetscape improvements for the Westchester Lutheran Church along Sepulveda Boulevard frontage, numerous Boy Scout community projects, commissioned a right-of-way wall painting between Manchester Avenue and Howard Hughes Parkway, along with many other efforts.WSIA has initiated a strong tree-planting performance record: over 628 new trees planted, an increase of about 500 trees, in the greater Westchester area!
Click here for a list of streetscape improvements that WSIA has driven.
Click here for an illustrated map of our projects.
WSIA’s future plans include: completion of the Westchester Landscape Entry Project along Sepulveda Boulevard between Manchester Avenue and Howard Hughes Parkway, formation of a Lincoln Village Business Improvement District to be centered on the intersection of Manchester Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard, sidewalk and street tree repairs along Manchester Avenue between Sepulveda and Lincoln Boulevards, and the extension of streetscape beautification eastward along La Tiera Boulevard and Manchester Avenue.
Together we can make this happen—one new tree at a time.