Community takes back park; spurs get fit movement
Greenfield Walking Group cleans up Stiern Park
Last Updated: 105 days ago
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A few years ago Stiern Park in south Bakersfield was a playground for crime; a different picture from the clean, lively place it is today.
On weekday mornings, music fills the air at the park and you can find people from the community doing Zumba. Many of them are members of the Greenfield Walking Group.
The group formed eight years ago as a small walking group who would walk the grounds of the park, which at the time was a haven for crime and drug deals, said Greenfield Walking Group President Gema Perez.
Perez said they knew they had to do something to make the park a safe place not only for them, but for the community to enjoy. So they called the city of Bakersfield.
"They noticed some things that weren't quite right," said Dianne Hoover, Director for Bakersfield Recreation & Parks. "They contacted us and we started working with them to fix up the park, and make it really usable by the whole neighborhood."
The city teamed up with the Greenfield Walking Group, the Cesar Chavez leadership program and the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program to create a safe environment and support for an active lifestyle. They not only cleaned up the park but put in a walking path, lighting and new playground equipment.
"The park is safer; the park feels much better than what it used to be," said Jose Pinto, a member of the Greenfield Walking Group. "The group's goal is to make Greenfield a safer community for everyone, for young people for older people."
The group now has nearly 60 members and has grown into a get fit movement. And there are many success stories; member Griset Lopez said she's lost 25 pounds since she started doing Zumba three months ago.
Rosa Lopez said she has also shed some weight. "I lost 30 pounds already," said Lopez. "I was taking five pills to get my blood pressure down so I take three now."
Hoover said she hopes other people in the community take notice and follow in the footsteps of the Greenfield Walking Group.
"This is what parks are for," said Hoover. We want to encourage groups to come out and use the parks, people to use the parks, families."
The group is currently working with the city to put in a shaded area at the park to get relief from the heat in the summer months, according to Hoover.
Everyone is invited to join the group in Zumba Monday thru Friday at Stiern Park located at 5400 Monitor St. from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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