PANAMA CITY, Fla (WMBB) — Community members started cleaning up a park that was destroyed by Hurricane Michael and was recently painted with graffiti hate speech.
The racist graffiti on the bathroom walls at the Joe Moody Harris Park spurred this clean up into action.
“The graffiti was one thing but the condition of the park was a whole ‘nother level. It just, I was taken aback by the condition of the park,” said a community member, Robert Stewart.
After years of being used by the community, the park has not been used since Hurricane Michael.
“It looked like a third world country out here. It was just totally unacceptable and it just, it hurt my feelings. Just to see that this is our park that we have so many memories in, like turned into nothing. There’s literally nothing out here,” said community activist Tony Bostick.
Minority PC Vice President, J Dia Green-Jones, said they have a lot of work to do in the park.
“From now until dusk we’re going to be picking up all of the trash, all of the objects that can get blown around with the mowers and pulling out some of the equipment, said Green-Jones. “Tomorrow when we have everything out of the way we’re going to cut the grass and weed eat and do all the things we need to do to make it presentable up front.”
The city of Panama City and landscaping companies brought bulldozers to remove the old playground while volunteers cleared away tree limbs and trash.
The cleanup is one of many repair projects in the area following Hurricane Michael. The cleanup will continue until tomorrow and volunteers can plan to arrive at the park around 9 a.m.
“Tomorrow volunteers can come with their lawn equipment and knock down all of the brush and foliage so the city can see better and the community can see better for the sake of safety,” said Green-Jones.
Once the project is complete, Green-Jones hopes the park will be used by the community once again.
“This will turn the community, this place this park will be a place where people come again to in large number.”
Organizers expect about 100 people to volunteer and there will be food and drinks for participants.