The Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association is an active block club in South Los Angeles. We have members on several blocks in the area between Adams Blvd. south to 30th Street and Normandie Avenue east to Catalina Street. We maintain this website, plant trees, act as a Neighborhood Watch to keep gangs and crime at bay, and join with neighbors to have a good time. We were instrumental, with other nearby block clubs, the University of Southern California, and several nonprofits, in creating the Richardson Family Park at 27th Street and Budlong Avenue, which the community completed in 1999 and donated to the city. We assume ongoing responsibility to work with city agencies and USC to maintain the park.
The Van Buren Association has not forgotten its roots as a neighborhood watch organization. We report crime to the police and other city agencies, and support the Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB) for the Southwest Community Police Station. The block club has worked with LAPD to close several drug houses that attempted to take root in homes in the area, including one on Van Buren Place and others on nearby streets. Members supported a police task force in 2001-2003 in a successful effort to stop sidewalk drug sales by gang members on Raymond Avenue south of Adams Blvd.
These Jacarandas are among the more than 70 trees the block club has purchased and planted or partially subsidized to neighbors to plant in the area between Catalina and Normandie and 30th Street and Adams Blvd. The block club has raised a special fund for neighborhood beautification that is used in part to fund the purchase and planting of trees on both residential and commercial properties. To be sure the property owner is committed to watering the trees we ask that they pay half of the cost.
We also took part in the Mayor's Million Trees LA project by sponsoring 33 trees on Adams Blvd., between Normandie and Vermont Avenues. This required raising some $3000 each year for three years to pay the city nonprofit responsible for watering and caring for the trees to get them established long enough to survive on their own. The last year of this subsidy was 2011.
Van Buren contingent in the annual National Night Out on Crime march and potluck. This local event, held on the second Tuesday of August each year in coordination with the national Night Out on Crime all over the country, celebrated its 10th year in our neighborhood, August 7, 2012. It is sponsored here by the three local block clubs in the Adams-Normandie area: the Adams-Normandie Neighborhood Association (ANNA), the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association, and the Budlong-Juliet-Catalina Neighborhood Association (BJC), and by the Southwest Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Each year we hold a march through the community, led by police on motorcycles and squad cars, then hear a few speeches by police and city officials, and sometimes from USC leaders. Then there is a big community potluck, usually about 60 or 70 people.