TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Over on the Southside, the people of Barrio Santa Cruz are paving the way for a brighter future. "We've had this passion of our neighborhood since we grew up here from day one actually," said Clarissa Canez, the co-chair of the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood association.
The folks behind the Association say there's a rich history on this side of town. "The name Barrio Santa Cruz really is significant because the river is so significant coming from Nogales all the way up from Phoenix, I think it goes," said Dennis Barreras.
Barreras is the historian or as he says the O.G. "I help out with a lot of the way things were and also try to make a progressive change in the neighborhood positively," said Barreras.
Positive changes like adding to the park. "My dad helped put the park together here in Verdugo Lane. He got the neighbors together to pour their cement for a basketball court because he said the kids needed something to do," said Barreras.
Canez is tied to the park in a special way. It carries her grandfather's last name, Albert Ormsby. "And the park it was dedicated in 1973 is what I was told," said Canez.
The memories go way back. "When I was 13-years-old this is way back writing to the city in my own little language, please put sidewalks for our streets here," said Canez.
Her wish was finally granted three years ago around Christmas time. "I remember going to my daughter saying, oh listen, these roads are going to be paved and that's as much passion that we have for improvement," said Canez.
Simple moments that mean so much. "Before when we would just go home close our gates shut our doors and now, we see people we talk to people we know our neighbors and we know the huge rich history that's happened," said Jason Huaraque is also a co-chair with the neighborhood association.
He says he's seen lots of improvement in many areas. "When I grew up on the southside, the relationship with the police department and the city was you know kind of confrontational and they were on one side, and we were on the other and by doing this I learned that we're all together," said Huaraque.
Coming together in the barrio. "It's not about leaving the neighborhood or getting out of the hood. As they say, it's changing the hood," said Barreras. Something the whole neighborhood looks forward to continuing.
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