Greening Malibu

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Point Dume Elementary School students drew picture of what they would like the medians of Pacific Coast Highway to look like. Laila Kearney / TMT

The Malibu Green Machine celebrates its one-year anniversary. By March, the group will have the first renderings of plans to beautify medians on Pacific Coast Highway.

By Laila Kearney / Special to The Malibu Times

Amidst drawings by Point Dume Elementary School students of flowers, plants and a Pacific Coast Highway that sports landscaping instead of weeds, members of the Malibu Green Machine met and exchanged ideas in the backyard of member Anne Payne’s Malibu home. The Malibu Green Machine, a nonprofit, nonpolitical citizens’ organization that works to beautify the city of Malibu, celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sunday.

Malibu Green Machine organizers, contributors and prospective members gathered at Payne’s home to raise money and awareness for future landscaping plans.

“We have had an overwhelming response,” Payne said about the turnout. “The enthusiasm has been very good and very diverse.”

“We’re trying to recruit new members, gain public exposure, and calories; there are so many snacks.” said group Vice-President Madison Hildebrand, backed by a table of trays filled with cookies and sweets for guests.

Among the Green Machine members is Malibu Mayor Andy Stern.

“I’ve been with them since the start,” Stern said. “I think it’s a great idea,” he said. “I’ve supported [Jo Giese] since day one.”

Jo Giese, president of Malibu Green Machine, said that their first goal is to improve the appearance of the medians on the Pacific Coast Highway, a sore point for many Malibu residents, by using native plants and different materials such as cobblestone.

“I think that if Oxnard has beautiful medians, Malibu should have the same,” Payne said. “Anything would be better.”

Giese also said that one of the reasons the group wants to renovate the medians on the PCH is to increase safety.

“A landscaped highway is a safer highway; it slows traffic down,” Giese said.

On display Sunday was a series of drawings by Point Dume Elementary School students, reflecting what they would like the medians to look like. Some of the drawings included water-fountains and flowers.

“Almost all of the kids say that we need plants, but that we need more,” Payne said.

The cost of the project is undecided.

“At this point, I think it’s too early to put a price on it,” Hildebrand said. “This is going to take a lot of money to do.”

The group’s plan is to raise money through contributions from Malibu residents and others.

“Pepperdine has said that they will give a major donation,” Giese said.

The next Green Machine event will take place on March 16 at Lino’s restaurant in Malibu where the first professional renderings of the proposed medians will be unveiled, Giese said.

Valley Crest Companies will work with the Malibu Green Machine on the median project in conjunction with Caltrans, which has jurisdiction over the medians.

Valley Crest Companies is the largest landscaper in the United States, Giese said. Among other services, Valley Crest provides landscape development and landscape maintenance.

The plans for the medians are not complete, but the Malibu Green Machine is working through March when details will be clearer.