SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Santa Cruz is taking action to clean up a portion of the San Lorenzo River that was the scene of a recent shooting.
The crackdown has begun in earnest, flooding the riverwalk with cops, rangers, and cleanup crews.
The idea is to apply maximum effort, take back the area, and never let it get so bad again.
“It’s about taking it back for the community. For everyone to feel welcome. A lot of people don’t feel it’s a welcoming environment and that needs to change,” Santa Cruz Deputy City Manager Scott Collins said.
The situation at the levees reached a boiling point two weeks ago, when a 24-year man was shot and killed there.
The area has long been a magnet for muggings, drug dealing, and homeless encampments.
In addition to focusing a massive amount of city resources here, they’ve also banned anyone from walking off the path towards the San Lorenzo River.
Jack Hain and Tom Geerin walk nearby every day, and think the crackdown has been long overdue.
“This has been a backwater, and it could be a great area for the city of Santa Cruz and the people who live here, and for business can benefit greatly. But people don’t come here because of the atmosphere,” Hain said.
The city of Santa Cruz will maintain the crackdown for the next six to 12 months, and then reassess, and figure out what to do next.