DaVita Invests Again in Gateway Renovation Project

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

When volunteers from Scenic Streets convinced the city to place three sidewalk trash receptacles along the southern part of Claremont Avenue last fall, it was a mixed blessing; littering along the busy roadway would be significantly reduced, but the concrete boxes often attract graffiti.

The solution lay in a good idea borrowed from the Temescal district: Scenic Streets sought out local artist Juan Lopez who covers receptacles with paint-resistant mosaic tile. The only problem then was funding.

"The majority of our donations are earmarked for the upcoming renovation of Hardy Dog Park," says Peter Lund, the group's founder. "That budget is tight and we really couldn't spare a dime to pay for the mosaics."

Lund called Ricardo Sanchez de Tagle Aduna at DaVita Dialysis Corporation which operates one of its 25 East Bay treatment centers at the corner of Claremont and Clifton; the company agreed to provide $2,000 which will pay for mosaics on four cans.

In the past two years the company has gone from a little-known occupant to a key supporter of the Rockridge-Temescal Gateway renovation.

DaVita recently completed a major landscaping overhaul of the former supermarket that greets visitors at a main entrance - Claremont Avenue at Clifton Street - to our neighborhood. The final $65,000 cost is more than twice the project's original budget. It's an impressive move considering DaVita only leases the property and would recoup nothing if it vacates.

"We wanted to make some upgrades to the property from the time we moved in," says Sanchez de Tagle Aduna. "The community helped us determine what should be done, and we're pleased everyone seems to love the result." Scenic Streets partnered with DaVita to guide the project.

A welded fence has replaced chain link, and lush shrubs are growing where debris had sat for decades. Exterior ornamental lighting improves safety at night, and fresh asphalt makes for a more enjoyable farmer's market, which DaVita hosts when the DMV next door is unavailable. Nine new sidewalk trees add some green around the once barren property.

The new mosaics for the sidewalk trash cans will add a splash of color to the area. The unifying theme will be California flora and fauna. Final designs and locations will be posted on scenicstreets.org in late January.