Published May 26th, 2010
Homeowners Association Beautifies City Pathways
By Cathy Tyson
From left, Greg Arthur, Greg "Daffodil Dude" Moeller, Colby Powell at Lafayette's first Waymark site Photo Cathy Tyson

Setting a precedent, the Happy Valley Improvement Association (HVIA) embarked on an ambitious plan to enhance the neighborhood, by installing waymarks at key locations around the four and a half mile Happy Valley loop. Although only the first installation is complete, the groupings of clustered boulders, rock slabs and native plants are intended to be placed periodically along the loop to encourage pedestrians and strollers and promote traffic calming.
Speaking at a recent City Council meeting, Colby Powell of HVIA said, "We embarked on a project in the neighborhood to celebrate these pathways." Explaining that there are not many opportunities to rest, or to clarify orientation, the HVIA's Pathway and Waymark Committee took it upon themselves to see the project to fruition. "The goal is to make it look like they've always been there and create a heightened sense of awareness," said Powell. The committee is encouraging other neighborhoods to follow suit.
The first of up to twelve installations was recently completed at the corner of Happy Valley Road and Lois Lane, near Deer Hill Road. A critical component of the project is the generosity and citizenship of the initial two property owners, who wish to remain anonymous, for accommodating these projects on their property. A second location will soon be constructed.
Native, low maintenance plants were added on Friday. Clumping grass, clumping African Iris and Monkey flowers were chosen to, "withstand drought, deer and people," said Greg Arthur, Landscape Architect, HVIA member and original proponent of the plan. He envisions bringing public footpaths similar to those in Europe and Asia to the Lafayette community, and promoting the concept of Livable Streets.
Over the years HVIA has accumulated annual donations that, along with a very generous Happy Valley Garden Club contribution, were enough to fund the first two locations. HVIA is looking for monetary support so that more planned sites can be added.
The sites are on private property and will be maintained by the HVIA. Because native plants were selected, after the first year, they are expected to be self-sustaining. "We hope that residents respect these areas - they are meant to enhance the visual experience," said Powell.
Current city walkways won't be relocated, the waymarks are meant to supplement the sidewalk. Special care was taken to ensure that the boulders and waymarks are away from the edge of the street so as not to create a hazard.
"I think it's a great idea - you should share it with other Homeowner Associations," enthused City Council Member Mike Anderson. "This will be a great addition to Happy Valley," added Council Member Don Tatzin.
For more information on the project, or to make a tax-deductible donation, contact Colby Powell by e-mail: pathways@happyvalleyia.org.

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