Hunting Park: Vacant Lot Leads to Cleanup and Frustration

Volunteers of the cleanup in Hunting Park form an assembly line to throw out trash, branches and weeds.

After 20 years of what residents are calling abandonment, Catalina Hunter, One Hope Community Church, United Way and local residents decided it was time to make use of the vacant lot.

Within a year, this group devised a plan to get the 1.5 acres of land into shape on the 4400 block of Fourth Street.

“We wanted to beautify the community,” said Hunter. “We have a plan to put flowers in the front. It’ll be a place where children can play and people can come and have a nice time.”

Though, a recent for sale sign has put a halt to any further development on the land, residents are proud of their ability to come together to better the community.

Chief of Staff for Rep. Tony Payton, Jorge Santana, cuts greenery in the rear of the vacant lot.

“Our community is our family and family comes first, I think that’s what we’re trying to accomplish here,” said Andy Rodriguez a resident of Hunting Park and cleanup volunteer. “We’re all family and we all have to take care of what’s ours.”

Residents brought everything from trash bags to dishes of food, making the process a bit more comforting.

However, what really moved the cleanup along were the laughs shared by volunteers and residents.

“We’re in this hole….taking out stuff from the bathroom, like the shower curtain and sink, we were ripping out the bathroom from that hole,” Rodriguez said with a laugh.

With weeds, trees, rodents and even sinks out of the way, the community can now see the fruits of their labor.

Catalina Hunter stands tall in the lot that she along with neighbors and organizations helped clean.