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An uncared for community gem


I consider myself incredibly fortunate and grateful for the community that I live in. We have experienced a bit of a heat wave in this last week, but for those few and far between days of discomfort ... overall, we have it pretty great.

One of my favorite places in town is Sinsheimer Park. I consider it to be a cut above the rest in town, maybe because I live only a half-mile away or maybe because this park seems to be a haven for our community. On the weekends, this park is jam packed with SLO town joy and happiness. I walk my dogs to the park just to feel the energy and connection of our community members. The smell of hot dogs on the barbecues; the crack of a bat from the SLO Blues games; parents cheering on our little leaguers; the swish of the chains from a disc golf games; the shrieks of sheer joy coming from the children as they slide down the hill of our brand new playground. I can't help but smile as I breath in the summer air and contentedly think "This is my community. How lucky am I?!"

On Monday, I do my best to preserve the dreamlike love affair that I have with our home by keeping up the weekend walking routine: wake up early, sip some locally roasted coffee, and take the dog for a walk. Down the beautiful sidewalk to the pristine bike trail, to the luscious green grass of the baseball fields. There are no sounds from baseball fans, no resonance of joy from the kids playing on the playground, and the sight before me is not the well-loved neighborhood gem that it was yesterday. No. On Monday, the playground looks like a refuse facility. Trash, overflowing in the bins, but perhaps the most heartbreaking part is the hundreds of pieces of cardboard boxes left behind from the slide hill.

Just like that ... the dream is over. I know that by the time of my Thursday morning walk, the rubbish will have been removed, the box pieces recycled, and the lawn mowed—all in anticipation of the weekend right around the corner. This happens every week. I was always taught to leave something, someplace, or someone in better condition than how you found them. It is a value that I hold dearly. I realize that these are my values, and I'm not naïve enough to expect everyone to feel the same. However, I would like to speak directly to those who use this beautiful park. Please, come out and play, enjoy the community, connect with your neighbors! But please, please take your memories and your trash with you.

Samantha Payette

San Luis Obispo

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