A Victory Gardening: CSMR Helps Give Cal Guard Armory a Winning Look
There was something nice that CSMR Soldiers from around the state noticed when they arrived for a recent training event at the California National Guard Armory in Long Beach.
The troops, who were attending a CSMR Recruiters School on May 18-19 at the red brick façade armory on Redondo Avenue, saw that the facility’s north side parking lot looked
pretty spiffy. The handsome landscaping featured various drought-resistant plants and a centerpiece that would make anyone proud — a large American flag on the slope facing the parking lot which is made of tiny pebbles painted red, white and blue.
The fix-up of the formerly weed-choked lot was courtesy of the CSMR’s Recruiting Task Force – South that is based at the armory, which is headquarters for the Cal Guard’s 224th Sustainment Brigade. Task Force personnel completed the makeover of the 6,000-square feet of landscaping in July 2012, an effort that resulted in a handsome payoff for the armory.
Under a Long Beach water conservation program that rewards properties that convert from lawns to drought-tolerant gardens, city officials gladly handed over a $22,000 check
to the armory’s Cal Guard commanders, said CSMR 1st Sgt. Jerry Shultz. The amount was based on the square footage.
“It was a great effort by everyone involved and the Cal Guard appreciated it,” said Shultz, who coordinated the yearlong effort. “The money will be used to fund further conversion efforts for the armory grounds and for ongoing maintenance.”
Shultz and other Task Force Soldiers worked diligently to find local bargains and cut costs wherever they could, including partnering with the Long Beach City College’s Horticulture Department to supply one-gallon size plants.
Plans call for the bare 85-foot retainer wall along the north property line to be turned into a colorful mural featuring military history and patriotic themes. A corporate sponsor will be sought for the mural.
And then there is the second phase of the makeover to undertake. That effort, to take place over the next year or so, will encompass more than 50,000-square feet of grounds that surround the armory on its western and southern sides along Redondo Avenue and East Stearns Street. The grounds, which are now just sloping grassland, will feature reworked pedestrian walkways and a small outdoor amphitheater for the public.
“It’s going to be a nice venue for the public, something the Guard will be proud of,” Shultz said about the second phase, “and a feather in the cap for the CSMR.”
Story by Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CA) Rick de la Torre, Photos by Staff Sgt. Gene Arias