Acres of dead grass and dying trees - that's what is left after a piece of a Southeast Fresno neighborhood was left to die.
A stretch of Fowler Avenue, south of Belmont Avenue, was once lush, tree-lined street. Now it's an eyesore.
Eleven acres in the area have not been watered for nearly a year, and now the grass is dry and yellow, and the trees are losing their leaves and dying.
"It makes you feel like the neighborhood looks like crap," said Mike Morillo, who lives in the Fancher Creed subdivision and is one of many neighbors - angry at the sight.
"People would have soccer practice out here, softball games, people just enjoying the greenery, having family outings, now not much anymore," said Mike Aramburu, who has lived in the neighborhood for 28 years.
For the past 20-plus years, the Fresno Metropolitan Flood Control District used the land as a floodway, and kept the area watered and trimmed – spending about $25,000 a year on water and maintenance.
Last year, the flood district gave the land back to the original owner - local developer, Bonadelle Homes.
And that's when the maintenance stopped.
Water hasn't flowed there for almost a year.
"We've lived right here for 20 years in this subdivision, and it's always been kept up, it's shocking to see it like this," said Murillo.
Our calls to Bonadelle Homes were not returned Monday afternoon.
"Helpless, it makes us feel pretty helpless," said Robyn Aguiar, who is not going to sit back and watch her neighborhood park die.
She says her husband got a call back from a Bonadelle representative.
"As I understand Bonadelle's position is they are not park keepers, and I understand that. But it would be nice if they would work with us to find a solution, quickly," said Aguiar.
She's gathered a group of neighbors willing to confront city officials and the developer - to get the one thing they need to keep their neighborhood park alive.
"It just takes some water, we need some water to save the trees, we can worry about the grass later, but trees take a long time to mature," said Aguiar.
She's called the activist group, Tree Fresno, and they are hoping to work with the city of Fresno and with Bonadelle Homes to restore this area and get it green again. Until then, some neighbors have been taking buckets of water out here to water the trees themselves.
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