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July 6, 2022

Guest Column | King City’s 2022 Beautification Week Marks 30 Years of Grassroots Effort

This marks the 30th year that the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture has been promoting Beautification Week, a grassroots effort where everyone in the town is asked to do one thing to improve the appearance of their home or business.

The effort started back in 1992 and each year our town has benefited from the efforts of our residents. Beautification Week is scheduled for June 18-26 this year. We hope everyone will participate in some way.

As the coordinator for Beautification Week, each year I’ve written about things that have happened in the last 12 months. Here are some things I think are worth mentioning.

The most noticeable improvement in town has been the demolition of the old gas station at the northeast corner of Broadway and Vanderhurst in preparation for the future Downtown Plaza as well as the King City Visitor and History Center, which will be run by the Chamber. Although the lot has been empty for a year, the prospects of a downtown park and visitor center are hopeful.

This corner once housed Vanderhurst Hall 100 years ago and some of you may remember when Benadom Lockers and Jo’s Flower Shoppe occupied 110 North Vanderhurst, and it was the original home of The Rustler newspaper.

Down the street at the corner of Bassett and Vanderhurst, I love the way the Monterey County Dance Theatre is landscaping the front of their building with large stones and flowering shrubs. If you glance behind the Dance Studio on the wall that faces Broadway, you can see the “Tribute to the Nutcracker” mural that is underway.

I love the way murals are transforming our town and celebrating what is good about this place. The Salinas Valley Fair mural was underway last year at this time and it has been completed across from the cemetery, where historic ranching brands are displayed.

NEW PAINT

Several places got new paint in the last year, including: Pinnacles Health Care building and the Comunidad de Fe church at Broadway and San Antonio Drive; U.S. Post Office at Third and Bassett; Mariscos el Camaron at 223 Broadway in the old City Café building; and Tavernetti, Layous and Clark building at 333 Broadway.

The Huntington House at Sun Street Centers has continued to make the southeast corner of Broadway and Mildred into an attractive location for services. Make sure you check out the Huntington House, the drought-resistant landscaping surrounding it and the moving wind art. I love the mural painted by Sun Street clients featuring brightly colored butterflies and flowers.

Although the interior of the King City Mobile Home Park (formerly Komfort Court but now under new ownership) still could use some more tender-loving-care, the geraniums along the sidewalk are an improvement at 935 Broadway.

And speaking of sidewalks, our town has been transformed by the grant that has allowed for the construction of sidewalks, making our town much safer for walking.

Some things that I think look good are the blooming roses in front of Donut King, the flowers in front of the Library and the shrubs growing in the new bulb-out dining area in front of Hestia coffee on the 300 block of Broadway, formerly the Vendome Hotel. The King City Cemetery continues to be what I consider one of the most beautiful cemeteries around.

For an example of new signs, check out the Assembly of God Full Gospel Church at 512 N. Second St. and La Patrona Restaurant and Café at First and Bassett streets.

Some beautiful new construction has done much to transform our town, including the addition to Hartnell College at the corner of Second and Lynn streets and the agriculture building at King City High School that has turned a weedy school garden on North Mildred Avenue into a state-of-the-art learning center.

KING CITY IN BLOOM

This is a good time to say thank you to the volunteers from King City in Bloom. This year they completed the metal art landscaping at the Canal Street off-ramp, the entrance to the King City Golf Course and drought-tolerant landscaping at the entrance to the Salinas Valley Fair. Volunteers also hosted three litter cleanup events.

If you have an hour now and then, I encourage you to consider joining King City in Bloom with their amazing efforts. They are testimony to the fact that when people unite they can make a positive impact on a town.

A private residence in town with noticeable new landscaping is the home of Nicole Shriner in the Kings Place cul-de-sac. I encourage you to check out her dry creekbed contrasting with black bark.

With another impending drought year ahead of us, it is easy to imagine that some people will quit watering their lawns and let their landscaping die in an effort to save money on water bills. This would be unfortunate and could significantly affect the overall appearance of the town.

If you notice this, please encourage your neighbors to take seriously the need to care for their yards by installing drought-resistant landscaping and even mowing brown lawns and pulling weeds.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS

There are a few things in town that I hope will continue to improve during the next year. Those include:

  • At the Monarch Inn, formerly the Sage Motel at 633 Broadway, weed removal would help;
  • At the Queen Motel at 702 S. First St., lovely flowers in the planter and a regularly mowed, edged and watered lawn would be a boost to the first impression many people have when entering our town from South First Street. Just because places are aging does not mean they have to appear neglected;
  • At Ozzie’s Mini Mart at 430 S. First St., some improvements are needed;
  • The large signs at the Mercado and the old V’s Diner/Yesy’s Restaurant will look better when they are replaced; and
  • On Seventh Street, all three blocks would benefit from more street sweeping and code enforcement.

Three 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, golf course, airport, recreation center, swimming pools, stores, fairgrounds, medical facilities, churches, schools, businesses and assets like the Robert Stanton Theater — but it is up to us to take care of them, and in some cases we have been less than vigilant.

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. Please do your part and ask your neighbors to join in.

Most services one needs for beautification can be found in the landscaping companies and skilled laborers who live here. Please support them.

Karen Jernigan
Chair, King City Beautification Week
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