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The Locos del Parque La Linea: Renewing the Princesa Sofía Park

Soraya Fernández · Photos: Fran Montes

The La Linea Locos del Parque Volunteers: A positive craze celebrates its fifth birthday

This initiative, driven by a few concerned people determined to save the Princesa Sofía Park in La Linea has developed into a story of love, and a lesson in commitment. They are the “Locos del Parque” (the Park Crazies).

Others called them ‘crazy’. Theirs, is a positive madness. What was this group of people doing, cleaning up rubbish for the sake of it? The citizen’s initiative to save the Princesa Sofía Park in La Línea is celebrating its 5th birthday in June, and it’s a lesson to all of us in civic pride, and evidence that we can do anything if we set our minds to it.

Locos del Parque La Linea

Alfonso Llorente, the president of ‘Los Locos del Parque’, tells us how this beautiful story first came about: “We were a group of people who were worried about the dilapidated state that the Princesa Sofía Park was in. We organised a few cleanings locally to get the attention of the City Council, hoping that this would cause them to intervene and not let the park deteriorate any further, but they took no interest, so we decided to act ourselves.”

Locos del Parque La Linea Alfonso Llorente

A huge task, to say the least. Vegetation was scarce and dry, the water systems didn’t work, the facilities were deteriorated, and the park really dirty. Moreover, a structure of a boat that once served as a restaurant and was occupied by scrap merchants. “It was a disaster, abandoned and dismantled. It was also a health hazard. We decided to use it as our headquarters from which to ‘reforest’ the park little by little. With so much activity around, the squatters eventually left,” he explains.

Princesa Sofía

From this determination, the Los Locos del Parque association was born: “We chose this name because, when people saw us cleaning up that disaster of a park, they asked us if we were City Hall workers. When we answered no, they’d ask who paid us, and we’d say no one, that it was our decision because we wanted to save the park. People thought we were crazy and started calling us the locos del parque.”

Princesa Sofía Park

The association’s Facebook page describes who they are and what their mission statement is, very clearly: “We’re not just another social movement, we are a commando of crazy activists.” The mission: to recover the splendour of the Princesa Sofía Park as a place of reference, a social space for enjoyment and leisure for the people of La Línea.

A pond and lagoons, an important ‘reforestation’ process, an irrigation system, sensory gardens for people with disabilities, a petanque court, workshops, talks and activities for schoolchildren are just some of the rewards the association has reaped through uniting efforts, recycling and commitment, with very little official help.

Princesa Sofía

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful corners of the park is “The enchanted forest”, where the dragon tree donated by a citizen of La Linea, and four other trees, have been replanted and will turn this space into a unique place in few years.

Anyone interested in lending a hand in this positive madness, or becoming a member for only one euro per month, can do so by contacting Los Locos del Parque on their Facebook page or via email at [email protected]

The La Linea Locos del Parque Volunteers: A positive craze celebrates its fifth birthday

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