Volunteers were out in force last Saturday at to help out with the planting and maintenance of native plants at South Gate’s second largest park. Budget cuts have taken a toll on the resources of the parks and recreation department, which immensely appreciated the help from volunteers.
“We have a lot of native landscaping that has not gotten the care that it needs. That is one of the problems of our ,” said Paul Adams, director of parks and recreation. “This area will look more attractive.”
Native California plants can grow in dry conditions and do not need as much care as other plants that are not indigenous to the area. But they do require maintenance.
“The one fallacy that people believe is that California plants don’t require any care,” said Adams. “As you can see from what they are doing here today, [California native plants] do overgrow and they do require some pruning.”
Elected officials were also present at the event and were keen on mentioning the importance of volunteering during times when programs throughout the city and county are strapped for cash.
“With the declining revenues that the cities and counties are facing due to bad economic times, it is important for citizens step forward in clean up projects,” said Vice Mayor Bill DeWitt. “If we don’t keep things clean then people will think it is OK to dump things, and you will have a decaying problem.”
Parks and recreation employees are doing more with less, and city officials agree they need citizens to lend a helping hand to ensure the proper care of green areas.
“We have a limited number of employees,” said Councilmember Jorge Morales. “We need to turn to the public now and say, ‘We need your help more than ever.’”
The park cleanup was organized by the parks and recreation department with the help of the , but also with Amigos de los Rios, a regional nonprofit that focuses on partnering with cities to improve parks.
“The economy is tough and people power is everything,” said Claire Robinson, founder and managing director of Amigos de los Rios. “Right now, no one has excess stuff.”
Some residents of South Gate came out to help cut and plant at the park.
“We have to put time and effort into our own community to keep it alive,” said Analilia Anaya, 36, who also brought her two children. “We have a hidden treasure here.”
Other volunteers also came because of their sense of ownership of Hollydale Regional Park; they said it is special to them and want to make sure it received the treatment it deserved.
“This is my park,” said Linda Parsonson, 64, and also a resident of South Gate. “That is why I wanted to help with this cleanup.”