SF finally responds to complaints over blighted city-owned property

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The city has finally responded to complaints regarding a messy piece of city-owned property that neighbors have been complaining about.

A messy piece of city-owned land in San Francisco has been a thorn in the side of neighbors for months and complaints went nowhere in all that time. But now there's a partial solution, but lingering questions about who will maintain the property moving forward.

Bernal Heights offers a gorgeous view of San Francisco, but some neighbors can't see past a blighted piece of city-owned property.

On Ellsworth and Bernal Heights Boulevard, there's an overgrown area that's blocking an entire sidewalk. It's passable now, but neighbors would like to see more done to clear out what's in there.

Neighbor Leslie Casimir says she's seen rats, even used condoms.

"Trash piles up, animals. You can hear a lot of rustling in there," she said. "You couldn't walk on your own sidewalk."

She says she's been calling 311 to report the problem to the city since August.

"They took my number down and said that DPW would call and no one ever called," she added.

She said city workers would come by, but only to pick up a little trash, until now. The bushes have just been trimmed back.

A Department of Public Works spokeswoman said there's no record of landscaping complaints at the location this year, but the director came out to investigate.

"It's our job to make these spaces safe for everybody and clean," Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru said.

He doesn't know why department records don't reflect Casimir's claims.

"We really have to trace what has happened here and figure out if there was a breakdown," Nuru said.

Looking forward, Public Works could create a stewardship agreement with neighbors in which neighbors beautify the space with city support. There are 140 such agreements in the city, including one right up the street.

Casimir says that's not a solution.

"I don't think they should expect the residents to take care of it," she said.

Public Works gets 10,000 calls a month and says it has to prioritize.

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