SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Once seriously challenged by issues linked to the homeless and crime, the Santa Barbara Eastside has won a national award for its efforts to make a noticeable turnaround.
The Neighborhoods USA honor has handed out a second place award to the Milpas Community Association representative Sharon Byrne this afternoon in Minneapolis.
She says in the past four years, there have been major efforts to improve the safety and beauty on the Eastside of town. The area spans dozens of blocks that fall between Salinas Street and Milpas but it also goes down to the waterfront.
Meetings have been held with residents, police, and elected officials to focus solutions where there have been homeless problems, crime and residents fearing for their safety.
In the past year, there's been a holiday parade, community trick or treating, clean up days, and free health clinics.
Last weekend, many gathered at the Cabrillo ball field for a community photo that was part of the local presentation to the Neighborhoods USA judges.
The winning community was in Eugene, Oregon.