Clean & Green Adopt-a-Tree Program and the Walkable Watershed updates

Initiating “Safe Routes to (Verde) School” in North Richmond on Earth Day

At an Earth Day event, on April 23, 2022, a collaboration of volunteers, The Watershed Project (TWP), and agency staff kicked off a component of the North Richmond Watershed Connections project, “Walkable Watersheds,” which includes coordination with the “Safe Routes to School” program.  The goal is to designate and beautify the safest route to Verde School along Giaramita Street, between this K-8 School, which is adjacent to Wildcat Creek, and the Shields Reid Community Center, along with Chesley Street that runs alongside it. This event was preceded by a Street Cleanup on Friday, April 22 to clean the sidewalks, pick up trash, weed, and provide outreach to the residents of Giaramita Street with the Safe Routes to School event.

More than 40 volunteers and residents, including children, along with staff from Supervisor Gioia’s Office, TWP, Contra Costa County Public Works Department, Richmond Land, Contra Costa Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Office, and the County Health Services Department participated in the Earth Day event. The event was dubbed “Paint Day” for painting stencils of bubbling water and making chalk drawings on the west-side sidewalk of Giaramita to animate the "Safe Route to School" and Walkable Watersheds route. In addition, TWP has commissioned a local artist to further beautify the route with imagery that evokes the life of Wildcat Creek. Additional days will be scheduled to complete the Safe Route to School and Walkable Watersheds route, which includes 13 blocks of the North Richmond community. (See figure depicting the North Richmond Watershed Connections project.)

Sign up table

1. Volunteers signed waiver forms and picked up bag lunches at the sign-up table.

Stencil prep

3. Volunteers taped together the bubble stencils into a band, like a pieces of a puzzle.

Spray paint 2

5. People taped the stencil bands to the sidewalk and spray-painted them with different hues of blue.

Chalk on sidewalk 1

7. The sidewalk was not only for painting, but was also a canvas for chalking by children.  Several places along Giaramita were marked out for this purpose and kids were only too happy to oblige with creative images. These areas were designated for future painting by local artists with imagery evoking Wildcat Creek.

Stencil 3 w Luz and Keena

2. Participants taped together a series of stencils, comprising bands of bubbles to go along the sidewalk. Among them, is the lead artist, Keena Romano, who painted the mural on Verde School in the background. She is on the left side, listening to Luz Gomez in the yellow vest, who is the Manger of the Building Healthy Communities program at Contra Costa Public Health and oversees the county’s Safe Routes to School Program. It should also be noted that Jeanine Strickland, landscape architect with TWP, designed most of the stencils that are being used for the animation of the Safe Route to School in North Richmond.

Carrying stencils

4. Once a couple bands of bubbles were taped together, they were carried down the street to be painted onto the sidewalk to brighten them and create a watery effect.

Spray paint 4

6. Once a 20-foot band stencil was spray painted in, the stencil was lifted up and carried down the street for participants to paint the next portion of the sidewalk.

Gioia walking by completed stencil

8. Supervisor John Gioia walks along a completed band to appreciate the seeming stream along the sidewalk.