For many years, Teralta Park in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood was a place you might want to avoid. Drugs, gang activity and fights were too common.
Yesterday, when I visited Teralta Park to watch the Fern Street Circus, I saw lots of kids at play in the sunshine. I observed families at picnic tables, friendly games at basketball courts and a happy, active playground. What happened?
I learned from community leader Edwin Lohr that what happened is many people became passionately engaged. Community meetings and concerns turned to action.
New lighting has been installed. New benches now invite a stroll through the park. The playground is newly painted with bright colors. An incredibly positive community mural has been painted along one long wall.
Workers in the San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department saw how the community had a new passion for their neighborhood park, and became passionate, too. During my visit I saw no weeds, no trash, just green grass, flowers and smiles all around.
It was great to see how this spacious public park–the only such park built over a major freeway–is now a welcoming retreat where people want to relax and recreate. I guess the not-so-secret formula for Teralta Park’s reclamation is people caring, and doing.
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