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Report: San Bernardino parks lack $2M in funding

July 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Seccombe Lake Park in the heart of downtown San Bernardino has fallen on hard times.

Some who remember it say it was a place where the young and old gathered to lounge in the shade, take an afternoon stroll, go fishing and feed the wildlife.

"It used to be nice," said Jose Garcia of San Bernardino. "Now it looks trashy, the water is all dirty. It doesn't look like a park anymore."

Grass that was once green is dry and dead because of broken sprinklers. People who cast a line into the lake are just as likely to hook trash as they are a fish.

A grand jury report shows San Bernardino city parks are underfunded by $2 million, but inner-city parks have suffered the worst.

It's an issue that Kevin Hawkins, the parks and recreation director, is trying to resolve with the little money - an operating budget of $5.3 million - and staff at his disposal.

"While we are waiting additional funds, we're working with faith-based organizations, volunteer groups, Urban Conservation Corps and our San Bernardino employment agency to bring in folks a lot of times to help us maintain this park," Hawkins said.

There are hopes for the decaying park. An artist drawing shows grand plans for a facelift that would turn the area once again into a community jewel.

Hawkins said it would take another $10 million in order to get the park back in good shape.

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