Community members and volunteers gathered at Mary M. Bethune Park in Florence-Firestone on a recent Saturday to give the five-acre park a much-needed makeover. Nearly 200 people including adults, young adults and children rolled up their sleeves to rake leaves, plant drought-tolerant plants and paint over graffiti on picnic benches and walls near the park pool, the handball court and the baseball field.
Joe Titus, who has lived in the neighborhood for all of his 85 years and is co-captain of the Bethune Park Block Club, noted that the graffiti, trash and unattended to leaves on the ground had taken the luster off the park . He was eager to pitch in and enjoyed the team effort that within only a few hours, burnished the park’s appearance.
“There were people all over the place,” said Titus. “I was so busy painting the light pole I didn’t pay attention to what all the other volunteers were doing, but when I finished painting, everything was clean. The park looks beautiful.”
Volunteers didn’t stop at cleaning the park. They also picked up trash and swept the sidewalks of the surrounding neighborhood.
The collaborative community effort was organized by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ office, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works, the Florence –Firestone / Walnut Park Chamber of Commerce, the Bethune Park Block Club, the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Department Century Station and about 100 students from Public Service Community High School.