Graffiti removal on Broadway in Chula Vista. Courtesy SBY4C

The Broadway corridor in Chula Vista needs help. It needs help from the business owners. It needs help from city government. And it especially needs help from the residents of and visitors to Chula Vista.

The South Bay Youth for Change recently hosted an event that helped the city by cleaning up one of its busiest streets, Broadway. This cleanup consisted of high schoolers from around the South Bay region who voluntarily joined the expedition to make Chula Vista a better place for everyone.

SBY4C is a coalition of high school students advocating against underage alcohol and drug use and focusing on activities that promote healthy schools, thriving neighborhoods, and families.

There should also be a better mindset for those who are leaving trash. We shouldn’t be so accepting of people littering and not caring. With the new Chula Vista Bayfront Project being built, we should make the Broadway area more inviting.

The massive bayfront redevelopment will bring more people to the South Bay, which means more money for other advancements in the area, such as roads and buildings. It will also open more jobs for people who are looking for work. Cleaning up Broadway will help attract some of the traffic from the bayfront.

With help from the Institute for Public Strategies, in partnership with the City of Chula Vista Public Works Department, SBY4C started the cleanup day with everyone meeting at the intersection of Broadway and K Street. That’s where we split up into groups of five or so people. Upon creating our groups, we chose a section on Broadway that we would go to in order to clean up waste and graffiti.

By splitting up into groups on different segments on Broadway, we were able to cover more ground in a reasonable amount of time, while also having an idea of which parts of Broadway needed the most amount of work. Our group was assigned to the far north end of Broadway. We decided to walk there in hopes of getting an idea of how the rest of Broadway would compare to the north end.

On our way over to our section, we picked up trash to help the progress of any group that was following behind us as they worked on the graffiti. There was a variety of trash that ranged from simple food wrappings and cups to cigarettes and empty bottles of alcohol that were scattered throughout the bushes.

At one point, we found an area next to a closed down Wienerschnitzel where there were piles of trash and scattered clothing that took us about 15 minutes to remove. Later on down the road, we encountered a dead cat that had been laying there for long enough that it had become a pelt.

All of this happened before we had reached our area of Broadway that was only a bit further down the road.

Once we had reached our designated area, the real work began. There was more trash and graffiti there than on the way. The patches of litter and graffiti only seemed to grow each time we had finished with one.

The terrible thing about it is that we weren’t able to get through most of our area as we ran out of time. But even with the shortage of time, we were able to make an impact that could hopefully influence the community in a positive way.

We like making a difference in our community. It feels really good to be able to see the change happening and be a part of it. Cleanups should be a regular occurrence along Broadway and anywhere that needs more attention.

The ability to clean up Broadway was a delightful experience that helped bring the community together to help improve our city. We want Broadway to be a better version of what it already is. We are envisioning a cleaner Broadway years from now.

So, let’s all chip in. Keep it clean. Make it a graffiti-free zone. Don’t litter. We don’t want the area to be left behind as the city focuses its attention on the bayfront redevelopment project.

Parisa Vega, a junior at High Tech High School in Chula Vista and Manuel Liederman, a freshman at San Diego State University, are members of SBY4C, a coalition of students advocating for healthy, safe and thriving neighborhoods.

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