The North and East neighborhood in Richmond is significantly greener with the addition of 53 street trees planted last week and at a community Arbor Day work party and celebration Oct. 22.
In addition, the city's most organized and proactive neighborhood is already looking ahead to adding more.
"We're not stopping," said resident Teri Katz, head of the neighborhood Tree Team committee that organized the planting and got the city on board with funding and assistance with the work. "We have 200 applications to adopt trees on paper, and we want to get them planted by spring."
Arbor Day is traditionally in spring, but the N&E group isn't bound by tradition. "We hold Arbor Day in fall because it is the best time to plant trees," Katz said. "We are committed to educating people about the benefits of trees."
The effort has received the attention and support of elected officials and city administrators, who turned out to add their own labor to the work being done by residents and public works crews.
"This has been in the planning for awhile," said City Manager Bill Lindsay, dressed in weekend gardening togs. "It's nice to get leverage with the neighborhood and get many hands to make this possible."
Funding for the trees came from an urban greening grant and the project helps Richmond maintain its Tree City USA status from the National Arbor Day Foundation, Lindsay said.
"It looks better, it feels better, it feels
At a post-planting gathering at 34th Street and Esmond Avenue, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin emphasized the environmental benefits of trees and County Supervisor John Gioia noted that "We're planting seeds here to grow the strength of this community."
Leveraging resources is part of the not-so-secret N&E strategy for making their neighborhood not just livable, but a safe and desirable place to be.
Residents have put a lot of effort into creating an active and close-knit community where neighbors watch out for each other, meet and socialize regularly and volunteer for walking safety patrols. The N&E group on Yahoo has more than 200 members.
Officials see the neighborhood as a role model for other areas of the city. Gioia called the neighborhood "a model that can continue to expand not only in Richmond, but in West County."
The resident who called 911 after the accident has also dedicated one of the street trees he adopted to Cox. A $10,000 reward remains for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for his death.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: A memorial observance will be held Saturday for Richmond native Jim Polese, an inventor, sailor and author who died Sept. 20 at age 97 at Point Reyes Station.
Polese, the only American-born son of a large Italian immigrant family, was born in 1914 at the Winehaven settlement in Point Richmond. After graduating from Richmond High, he was an apprentice as a machinist at Mare Island Shipyard, then served with the U.S. Merchant Marine.
He recounted his experiences growing up in the 1995 book "Tales from the Iron Triangle: Boyhood Days in the Bay Area of the 1920s."
In 1941, he married Esther Miriam Holman, of Berkeley, and became supervisor of the machine shop at the University of California. He later was an engineer and inventor with several Peninsula electronics firms and earned several patents for broadcast tube design innovations.
Polese is survived by son Richard Polese of Santa Fe, N.M., and daughter Lia Cook, of Berkeley, and several grandchildren. He will be remembered at an observance Saturday at Stockstill House in Point Reyes Station.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: More than a dozen groups and singers from the 1950s through today are scheduled to perform at Richmond's Gospel Singing Reunion, a free admission celebration at 4 p.m. at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 831 S. 43rd St. Details: 510-758-7939.
Festivities at the center, 205 41st St. in Richmond, will include a RYSE of the Living Dead haunted house, art celebrating Dia de los Muertos, music, pie-eating and costume contests and more. details: www.rysecenter.org.
Tickets are $20 each and proceeds benefit the association's annual December toy drive. For tickets or details, contact Rafael Madrigal at 510-233-4987 or email@example.com.