Converting Hoover Street
By: Sergio Contreras, Mayor Pro-Tem, City of Westminster
(Originally published in the Orange County Register)
An unkept atmosphere and sidewalks littered with trash used to be what greeted people traveling down Hoover Street in Westminster.
Now, for two miles between Garden Grove Blvd. and Bolsa Ave., drivers, bikers and pedestrians see a beautifully landscaped recreation corridor where families play together in safety.
When I began my journey down Hoover Street, it was being used as a garbage dump, with large items, garbage bags, and clothing littered everywhere. Overgrown vegetation had begun to consume the bike trail with oleander branches and debris overtaking and obstructing the path, breaking up the asphalt and creating an uneven trail.
Some roots had caused cracks the rose 45 inches from the ground making conditions unsafe for the public and opening the city up for liability. Some areas along Hoover where used offandon as homeless encampments. As a result, areas smelled of urine. The abandoned bike trail had become an eyesore over years of neglect.
Blight complaints from community members flooded my inbox. As Westminster’s Vice Mayor, I often receive notes from constituents about things they’d like to see improve in the City. But this project really stuck with me.
Even after I had some large refuge removal done, I could see the potential in the space. See, I pass Hoover every day when I take my two kids to school. And every day that I drove that street, I saw more and more potential.
One of my main goals for Westminster is to provide more outdoor recreational opportunities for families. That is why I created the Westminster Parks Master Plan, and why I decided to not just dispose of Hoover Street’s trash, but to transform it into a walking and biking trail for families to use as recreation and transportation.
So I set out to change things. I organized with community members and obtained 200 signatures in support of revitalizing the Hoover Street Trail. Then I convinced my colleagues on City Council to join with me in transforming this once forgotten space. I placed a resolution on the Council Agenda and ignited the spark that led to the Hoover Trails shining as bright as they do today.
Utilizing funding from the State Redevelopment Funds, to prevent them from being absorbed back by the State, and funding currently available in the municipal lighting district fund and park dedication fund, we were able to complete the trail’s transformation at no cost to the city’s general fund.
When all was said and done, the area was completely overhauled, featuring 283 new trees, shade and landscaping elements; 200 security lights; 13,700 drought tolerant plants; mulch and gravel; new fencing; a new irrigation system; and new cement, new striping and resurfacing along the two mile path.
What is most important is that we do all that we can in order to ensure that Hoover Street stays the neighborhood gem it has become. I have already instructed staff to look for additional ways that we can obtain grants to further drive down costs of maintaining it and even generate funding to improve more areas of Westminster.
The first taste of this grant funding comes on May 21 during the Experience Hoover Event. City staff applied for and received a grant from Southern California Association of Governments’ Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign and received approximately $30,000 in hard costs for the event. This event will celebrate that milestone.
I encourage you to bring your family and friends down to the Hoover Street Trails and experience the transformation in person. I encourage everyone to see what is truly possible in our City when we dedicate ourselves to a cause together.
For me, this cause has inspired a greater desire to improve even more areas of Westminster – to create a familyfriendly, safe city where new business take root and crime rates take leave – and instilled within me a hope that working together with the Council and our Community, we can achieve even more progress for Westminster.
Mayor Pro-Tem Sergio Contreras was elected to the Westminster City Council in 2012. He was raised and educated in Westminster and graduated from Westminster High School. He also served for eight years on the Westminster School District Board and is currently senior manager of education for the Orange County United Way.