KING CITY — City of King Public Works Special Project Coordinator Geoff English was the guest speaker at the annual Beautification Week barbecue luncheon last Wednesday at San Lorenzo County Park, hosted by the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and the King City Rotary Club.
English, a part-time consultant for King City, discussed the city’s beautification potential through his observations since joining the Public Works Department a year and a half ago.
“Since I’ve been here, I jotted down some accomplishments that really, in my opinion, represent a renaissance here in town, and I’m just excited to be part of it and thrilled to see it happen,” he said at the June 12 luncheon.
English highlighted a few of the area’s recent beautification projects, including the new King City entrance sign; the new windmill and landscaping at the county park’s entry way; the downtown facade improvements to buildings on Broadway Street; the new Sun Street Centers facility; and the city’s first historic mural located at First and Broadway streets.
He said Public Works employees are also trying to do their part to beautify the city, such as repainting the King City Recreation Center, but need the community’s support as well.
“They can’t do it alone. It really requires a community that is supportive of the City staff and really has a desire on its own to improve its community,” English said. “Every one of you can be part of that solution.”
This year’s 27th annual Beautification Week, a volunteer effort by the King City Chamber to improve the city’s appearance before the Fourth of July celebration, is set for June 22 through June 30. The weeklong promotion asks all businesses and residents to do at least one thing to enhance the look of their property.
“Two years ago, the judges from America in Bloom who came here concluded that our town has ‘good bones.’ I think they are right,” said Karen Jernigan, chairwoman of Beautification Week. “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.”
Jernigan urged the entire community to participate in Beautification Week in some way.
“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,” she said.
Last year America in Bloom judges returned for the second time to King City to evaluate the community’s efforts in beautifying the city and provide feedback on ways to enhance the area for the future. King City earned a five-star rating out of a possible 10 stars and was specially recognized for its community vitality by the national awards program.
The judges were hosted by King City in Bloom, a nonprofit group of volunteers who are working to improve the landscape and appearance of the community. The group recently completed the city’s first self-guided walking tour brochure and will soon begin its next project, an agricultural-themed mural on El Pueblo Market’s exterior west wall in the parking lot off Broadway Street.
“It will be a tribute to ag of our community, the businesses that have contributed to our agricultural livelihood in the valley,” said Laurie Slaten, chairwoman of King City in Bloom. “After that, late summer, we will be working on a landscaping project for the City, at the City Park parking lot in front of the Recreation Department.”
The group is looking for more volunteers as well as financial support to help with the upcoming projects.
“It’s hard work, but it’s a good feeling at the end of the day, knowing you’ve done your part,” Slaten said.
Many events have been scheduled for Beautification Week, including the City-Wide Yard Sale from June 21 to 23 and extra trash pickup between June 24 and 27 by Waste Management.
On Saturday, June 29, Waste Management will host a cleanup from 8 a.m. to noon at the King City High School parking lot on North Mildred Avenue for residents to discard mattresses, appliances, yard waste, metal furniture and tires. Salinas Valley Recycles will collect household hazardous waste during that time as well.
King City in Bloom’s quarterly litter pickup is also set for June 29, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., beginning at the KCHS parking lot.
Jolon Road Transfer Station will also be accepting large and bulky items, three per family, on June 29, from 8 a.m. to noon.