Several years in the making, the Midtown Community Council will start in March 2016 on Midtown Commons, a landscaping and parking lot improvement in Midtown Ventura.
The aging parking lot, located on South Katherine Drive just off Thompson Boulevard, will get a facelift that includes new landscaping with native plants and a large mural on the asphalt that will span between the businesses on Thompson Boulevard and Main Street. Some asphalt will be removed to help retain water on the site but no parking spots will be lost because of the improvements. (See a full-size rendering here.)
The goal is to improve the parking lot in tandem with the Green Street project the city is undertaking on nearby Hartman Drive. Landscape architect Brian Brodersen of Brodersen Associates created the plans for Midtown Commons.
The asphalt parking lot provides opportunity to keep some rainwater on site rather than going directly into the ocean. Putting water back into the ground will help recharge the aquifer.
The improvements include removing strips of asphalt in front of parking spaces and replacing it with native grasses to help retain the water. Some of the planters will have curb cuts, which will help to catch additional storm water. (See the layout plan here.)
Several overgrown pine trees will be removed from the parking lot and replaced with native plants and bushes. The goal is to make the planters and showcase the numerous native, drought-tolerant plants that are available.
The project includes curb cuts to some of the planters to allow for water infiltration. During a heavy rainstorm, water will collect and pass through if the cutouts are full. A large gravel area in the center of the parking lot will also help retain water. (See the landscaping plan here.)
To tie the project together, the MVCC is working with local artist Marybeth Hanrahan to create a mural pathway to connect the businesses from Main Street to Thompson Boulevard. The vibrant mural will meander through the center of the parking lot and tie the project together.
The MVCC will recruit students and community volunteers to help paint the mural once a design is completed by the artist.
How You Can Help
The Midtown Ventura Community Council is contributing more than $20,000 toward the parking lot improvements. To complete the entire project, the MVCC will need additional support from the community.
We’ll need volunteers from landscapers to heavy equipment operators to complete the sizable project. Donations will also be accepted to pay for the plants and buy materials for the mural.
To learn more about supporting this community project, please attend a MVCC meeting or contact MVCC Chair Gregg Mansfield at 805-276-5135.