Karen Jernigan

Beautification Week in King City has been going on for 31 years as a way for the town to spruce up its appearance in time for the July 4 holiday.

The 2023 event is sponsored by the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture in cooperation with the City of King, Waste Management, Salinas Valley Recycles and King City in Bloom. 

Starting in 1992, Beautification Week has been an opportunity to ask everyone in town to do one thing to improve the appearance of their property.

As I’ve done before, I’d like to point out some of the beautification efforts that have happened in the past 12 months.

Hooray for the fountain that is working again in Broadway Circle in the lawn area next to the CHP office and Motel 6.

Also in the Broadway Circle, you can see that the new King City Grill has been painted, weeded, pruned and biodegradable ground-cover spread in front of their business. It looks great and the food I ate there Monday was great.

The triangle in front of McDonalds has hardscape, stones that are sometimes referred to as Greenfield potatoes, instead of weeds. I think it looks clean and inviting for everyone exiting Highway 101 southbound on Broadway Circle.

The New Rava Farmworker Housing at 321 Bitterwater Road is a wonderful demonstration of drought-resistant landscaping that uses rock, decomposed granite and drip irrigation. The new construction is a beautiful addition to our town.

If you drive through the new homes at Mills Ranch, notice the new drought-resistant bark and mulch providing modern landscaping that takes future water conservation into account.

Cal Water offers rebates for homeowners who remove turf, a program that can help offset the cost of converting to drought-resistant landscaping. Check out the CalWater.com website for more information.

New exterior paint has been added to the Rite-Aid/Thrifty store and to the golf course club house.

For an example of new signs, check out the King City Veterinary Clinic on South First Street and the King Coin Laundromat and Retail on the 800 block of Broadway.

There are colorful contrasting plants in front of Salinas Valley Fairgrounds on Division Street, and did you notice the new landscaping inside the Fairgrounds as you enter the flower building?

The new Monterey-Salinas Transit yard at 179 San Antonio Drive has nice yellow ice plants.

The Arboleda bike path north of town is an amazing addition to our city. Take a drive if you haven’t seen it.

Have you seen the California poppies at Clark Trucking on Airport Boulevard and in front of the Pett home on North Second Street?

Also on North Second Street, there is a crop of blue bachelor button flowers growing in the yard of the King City Fundamental Baptist Church at the corner of Ellis Street.

If ever you have wondered about the power of volunteerism, just look to the transformation in town brought about by King City in Bloom. Check out our golf course entrance, the library, the City Hall planter, the exterior of the Recreation Center and the corner of Division and South San Lorenzo at City Park. If you have an hour now and then, I encourage you to consider joining King City in Bloom to help with their projects.

And I want to give a shoutout to the staff at the King City Cemetery who continue to do a wonderful job making that place the “prettiest garden in town.”

And another shout out to Anthony Storelli and his city Public Works crew for the increased attention to regular mowing and edging of Forden Park and other areas of the city, and to Juan Carlos Perez and his crew for improved maintenance of the grounds at King City High School.

The year 2023 is shaping up to be a positive year for town improvements, such as:

  • The Mural of Mission San Antonio de Padua planned for North Second Street;
  • The Downtown Streetscape replacing plants and crosswalks on Broadway in the historic district;
  • The remodeling of 110 North Vanderhurst for a King City Visitor and History Center;
  • The creation of a Downtown Plaza at the northeast corner of Vanderhurst and Broadway;
  • The Caltrans Clean California project for underpass art and landscaping at Broadway Circle and Canal Street;
  • The plans for more outdoor dining in the downtown; and
  • The refurbishing of the former Days Inn as homeless transitional housing at Broadway and San Antonio Drive.

A few years ago, the judges from America in Bloom who came here concluded that our town has “good bones.” I think they are right. People who have gone before us have helped ensure that we have almost everything we need here to have a good quality of life — a hospital, airport, rec center, swimming pools, stores, fairgrounds, golf course, medical facilities, churches, schools, businesses and assets like the Robert Stanton Theater — but it is up to us to take care of them.

I want to acknowledge that some places in town could use some improvement. As you have opportunities to interact with your neighbors who appear to be neglecting their property, encourage them to take advantage of local landscapers and services that could help them.

If each of us does one thing this month to improve the appearance of our home or businesses, we could continue to make progress toward making King City a great place to live. 

Beautification Week runs June 17-25.

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