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Cal City community to beautify Balsitis Park

A community cleanup at Balsitis Park is planned for Saturday morning; more improvements are expected
Posted at 9:20 PM, Apr 19, 2024

CALIFORNIA CITY, Calif. (KERO) — Marq Hawkins, a Cal City resident, organizes a community cleanup for Balsitis Park; more improvements are expected with a grant just more than $400,000 coming.

  • Volunteers are needed for a cleanup at Balsitis Park, which has weeds and trash throughout the area.
  • The Kern County Board of Supervisors recently approved a proposed agreement for a grant just over $400,000 for playground and basketball court improvements.
  • The community cleanup starts at 8 in the morning on Saturday to noon and lunch takes place afterwards.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Community members who’ve been to Balsitis Park in Cal City notice the deterioration and all the weeds. Now they want to do something about it. I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter. A community cleanup will take place Saturday morning. And more improvements are on the way.

“We took a look at the field and it was like, ‘Man, this is a mess!’ Somebody needs to do something about this. And as I was leaving, it hit me. I said, ‘Oh, I’m that somebody.’”

Marq Hawkins, a Cal City resident, tells me about how a recent visit to Balsitis Park with his daughter sparked an idea.

Soon after, he started calling people and organizations for help with a plan to clean up the park.

They’ll start at 8 in the morning on Saturday until noon and lunch is planned afterwards. You can call him to register, at (760) 338-1804.

“The park, in my opinion, has been so underutilized. We have another park on the other side, Central Park, which gets more usage, which gets more love. Why not get Balsitis Park some love and more usage as well?” Hawkins said.

On Friday, Hawkins met Patty Davis, the daughter of Vince Balsitis, who the park was named after in 1992. He is known as the inspiration to get the park started in the early 1970s.

Patty did not want to go on camera for an interview, but she did give Hawkins a vintage Balsitis park T-shirt.

“We’re going to come out here and bring some folks together, share in community and in legacy of the park, and we’re going to clean it up,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins and others are excited about upcoming upgrades to the park. The Kern County Board of Supervisors recently approved a proposed agreement for playground and basketball court improvements in a grant for just more than $400,000.

A similar project was approved two years ago, but it needed more funding, according to Mayor Kelly Kulikoff.

Quiana Sandres-Spears spoke to me in October about the park after she filmed a video about the need for upgrades.

She says she wants a place where her son can work on his game at the basketball court.

She says consistent upkeep is a major need.

“It is going to have to take the community to come and help. It is also going to take the city to work with the community to get everything in order and keep it going,” Sandres-Spears said.

Hawkins says the cleanup encourages B-Y-O-G-T as in Bring Your Own Garden Tool. In Cal City, I'm Steve Virgen your neighborhood reporter.


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