Over 300 concerned citizens came out and participated in the Love Oakdale event on Saturday, May 4.
With projects ranging from painting over graffiti, weed abatement, hauling trash, and more at some 21 locations around the community, volunteers spruced up the city for the annual event that started at 8 a.m.
Charlie Leon, only 7, and Gabriella Longoria, 16, were under the late morning sun busy rolling paint to cover the vandalism of tags and doodles along The Vineyards sound wall off West F Street.
“I don’t want Oakdale to look like LA,” said Longoria about the spray painted graffiti along the brick wall at the entrance to the city. “This is a project I wanted to do – to clean it up.”
“Charlie actually came to me and said he wanted to be involved after he saw the signs,” said Leon’s mother, Christina Leon. “He said he want to help out because he loved Oakdale.”
Tim Webb, 17, and his friend Nathan Gutierrez, 15, were out at Dorada Park hydrating themselves with bottled water after a few hours of pulling weeds, picking up trash, and gathering the decorative rocks on the grass and putting them back in their proper beds.
Riley Taylor, 12, was also finishing up at Dorada Park with the older boys.
Taylor said she was participating as part of Oakdale Junior High School Leadership and this was the project that was sponsored by the group.
Webb and Gutierrez are both Riverbank High School students and were participating as part of their community service requirements.
“We actually live closer to Oakdale in the unincorporated area,” said Webb’s mother, Kim Hardwick, who also helped with the chores. “They were both good workers.”
One of the most impressive projects came from the Oakdale High School art class at the Ash Street tunnel.
The crew of 30 students, supervised by art teachers Nancy Kern and Charles Alba, painted the tunnel and used stencils of mustangs and horseshoes to mark a decorative path leading to, and through, the tunnel.
“We’re doing something for the community and school pride,” said OHS student Miguel Linares, 18.
At the end of the project, all the volunteers were treated to a satisfying barbeque.
“We had a good turnout,” said organizer Mike Hancock. “I’m impressed with everything everyone did.”