Early Saturday morning, under gloomy cloud cover and a hanging mist, about two dozen volunteers from Grace Baptist Church started tearing up the lawn of a Canyon Country home.
They had permission; in fact the homeowner was ecstatic to see the volunteers busting up his concrete pathway, destroying his ground cover and churning up dust all around.
The house belongs to an elderly man, who took part in the city of Santa Clarita's first Extreme Neighborhood Makeover project one year ago today.
The program targets older neighborhoods in the City that have fallen into disrepair. The City hosts a dinner/block party for the neighborhood and facilitates meetings with community preservation officers, who identify code violations and help work out plans for improving the property.
The goal of the program is not just to make the neighborhood prettier, but also to help homeowners establish pride of ownership, form neighborhood watch programs and otherwise improve quality of life.
And the City lends a hand too, coordinating discounted repairs from local businesses and organizing volunteers to help provide manpower if needed.
That was the case today, as the elderly man who lives in this particular home operates on a fixed income and could not afford to have the proper work completed on his property. But the City made a few calls, and Oak Springs Landscaping came to the rescue. They would provide some new vegetation for the home's front yard, as well as a full irrigation system, all for free.
But the big job called for manpower and lots of it, and about 25 volunteers from Grace Baptist Church answered that call.
"We just want to be a good neighbor," said Steve Kilker, Director of Community Outreach at Grace Baptist.
Volunteers are a major component of the program, which has seen success in several communities in Canyon Country, Newhall and Saugus.
To learn more about the city's Extreme Neighborhood Makeover program, click here.