LOS ANGELES - The California Science Center Foundation has invested more than $2 million to fulfill its commitment of replacing trees and making green improvements in the communities along Endeavour's route through the cities of Westchester, Inglewood and South Los Angeles.
More than 1,000 trees are being planted by the Science Center Foundation to replace the nearly 400 that were removed along the space shuttle's route. To date, 960 trees have been planted throughout the entire route. Additionally, more than 1,200 trees have been trimmed to ensure their health; and buckled sidewalks have been repaired.
The Science Center Foundation has 70 more trees to plant in Westchester and is waiting for the city to provide final approval to plant these remaining trees at their designated location.
"We are pleased that we have made good on our promise to replace the trees and to improve the streetscapes in the South Los Angeles, Westchester and Inglewood communities," notes California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph.
"We appreciate the value that trees bring to our urban community and have demonstrated our commitment to ensuring that we provide them with trees that will grow into a greener, more beautiful tree canopy that engenders better environmental health than ever before. Our tree replacement program is founded on our efforts over several decades of working with our neighbors as we created a park and street landscaping that beautified our South Los Angeles neighborhood and provided recreational space for everyone's use.
"Inglewood Mayor Butts remarked, "Not only was the final journey of the Space Shuttle Endeavor an historic moment for the City of Inglewood, it left a footprint for the future in the planting of miles of new trees along Manchester and Crenshaw Blvd. On behalf of the citizens of Inglewood, I give our heartfelt thanks to the Science Center."
The replacement trees and additional trees are between 10 and 14 feet in height - about the same size as most of the trees that were removed. A minimum of two years of free maintenance will also be provided. The California Science Center has hired and is training youth from the community, in collaboration with Valley Crest to assist with tree maintenance.
"ValleyCrest is so pleased to report that all the trees we promised to plant at the time of Endeavour's revolutionary move through South Los Angeles are indeed now in the ground and growing beautifully," said Bill Ropp, Director, Pre-Construction Services, ValleyCrest Landscape Development. "As they mature, neighboring communities will further enjoy all the aesthetic and wellness benefits trees bring. Additionally, it's been extremely rewarding to partner with youth from these communities to jointly care for the trees and ensure their long-term vitality. We thank the California Science Center once again for the opportunity to beautify Los Angeles together."
Theodore Thomas of Park Mesa Heights and Johnnie Raines from the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Council note, "The Science Center is honoring its commitment it made to the communities following the historic Endeavour transport. It has taken the joint task force almost two years, but the California Science Center has provided four times as many trees as removed to help rebuild the community canopy and ensure ongoing maintenance. Over the past two years we have worked in close collaboration with the Science Center, choosing trees that will thrive in our community and we are also pleased that they are employing and providing career paths for local youth in landscape design and maintenance."
The California Science Center is located just south of downtown Los Angeles in Exposition Park. It is one of Southern California's premier family destinations. The Science Center's mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences and has welcomed over 24 million visitors since its grand opening in February of 1998.