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Children help clean up vacant lot in Arcata

ARCATA- An Arcata woman, with the help of neighboring children, is working to clean up an empty lot near her apartment complex. The team hope to transform the overgrown area into a park with a baseball field for the neighborhood to enjoy.

"It was completely overgrown with brier bushes, a real mess," said Letitia Harris, who has been working to clean up the area with the children.

Harris started picking up trash with the kids that lived near her. One day she realized there were dump sites and transient campsites in the vacant lot. "A couple of TVs, plastic and glass everywhere," she said.

One of the helpers, nine-year-old Ben Lindquiste, found the campsite. "We started to clean up trash and we came over here because there was a lot of trash," said Lindquiste   .

For the past two weeks Harris has been working with kids from the neighborhood to clear out brush and pick up trash. She said she wants to teach the kids the importance of working for their community.

"I've found that it's crucial, when children are growing up, to have a sense of safety and a piece in their community," she said.

"It's a lot of work, but it's fun," said 10-year-old, Connor McKay, who is rewarded at the end of the day with cookies or brownies.

Harris hopes to work with the City of Arcata and transform the lot into a park with a baseball court. Harris plans apply for grants to fund the park and attend the next city council meeting to seek the city's help on the project.