Now she has 16 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, so family gatherings are difficult in her apartment. «If I won the lottery, I would leave Los Palmerales but not for its people, if not because of the lack of space ».
This neighbor presides over the neighborhood residents’ association, where there are barely eight other members, to fight to improve conditions in the area and demand that the social stigma that accompanies them be eliminated to make visible that “we are not all the same.” For a few days this newspaper has been monitoring retail drug cases in broad daylight in an abandoned block in view of the students of the Tamarit special education school, to the point that he has had to put a tarp over the fence because neither the Police nor the City Council know what to do. The Department of Housing, in addition, has blocked the entrances up to 13 times in recent times, as stated by the mayor, Carlos González.
However, when a few hours pass consumers and camels sneak in again and the problem persists. Housing is already pending the imminent demolition of two new blocks and there is a forecast for 2022 to tear down another two to stop the conflict. Even so, residents doubt that the measure is correct because they fear that the demolition could attract drug hot spots to be distributed to other areas that so far “are the best in the neighborhood,” say residents of Ametler Street. .
They also warn that there are descendants of the first tenants who sell the apartments of their relatives, already deceased in many cases, for minute amounts and allegedly, homes that can be used for retail, according to the residents. This phenomenon may be due to the fact that a good part of the relatives of those who began to settle 40 years ago have rebuilt their lives in other neighborhoods or cities.
José García Guirado, a neighbor since 1988, recalls that this neighborhood was conflictive in its origins «And there are also still points that are conflictive but of 4,000 people who live we are paying the consequences of a few they are spoiling the neighborhood, “he says.
At the same time, this and other neighbors agree that the bad episodes always happen to the good ones in Los Palmerales. They have the perception that news such as the dismantling of the largest retail drug black spot a few months ago in one of the blocks are accumulating a “bad reputation” that was built in the past with the “corral de la Pacheca” and that causes the neighborhood becomes more invisible, and directly to its neighbors.
In 1988 Los Palmerales was declared a Preferential Action Neighborhood by the Generalitat Valenciana. The mission was to perform actions to regenerate it and promote social welfare in an area where cases of vulnerability prevail Social. 1,300 public development homes were built “for which I paid about 5,000 pesetas at the beginning,” recalls Concha Moreno, another septuagenarian neighbor who has lived for three decades. He regrets that the facades of the classic orange buildings are so deteriorated and assures that in many cases they have nothing to do with what is inside. “I have a very tidy apartment and my son too, so much so that when you’re inside it doesn’t seem like you live here.”
In some way, the different administrations placed equipment on the perimeter of Los Palmerales such as the Social Center, the City of Justice, the National Police Station and the Civil Guard Barracks, to try to revitalize the neighborhood. “And there are more police around here than in the police station, they stop you every two by three,” says José García, a 34-year-old young man.
They admit that all these resources make Los Palmerales one of the best neighborhoods communicated but at the same time they feel that the administration has abandoned them in terms of cleaning and maintaining infrastructure. Nor does it help that they have to deal with the incivility of some, a problem perpetuated over time.
It is common to see soda cans thrown around any corner, painted on walls, and garbage bags between alleys.
Among the many shortcomings, the sports hall is closed accumulating dirt and weeds awaiting a comprehensive rehabilitation that the Department of Sports has already announced, and which is in the bidding phase. In this space, a calisthenics area for the elderly was also installed, which is inaccessible.
There are hardly any playgrounds, and the ones that are there have games for impaired children. In the same way, the neighborhood association has been demanding that a one-meter wall be valley next to a park because several children have already fallen, according to the group. They further indicate that tree pruning is always very late, that there are no bins and there are sections with the sidewalks completely raised.
“People have realized that those of us who live here are not lions”
Commercial activity in the Los Palmerales neighborhood has not developed in the same way as in other areas of the municipality, since there are practically the same businesses as a few years ago, most of them run by residents of the neighborhood or who grew up in it . At present there is a pharmacy that has a lot of traffic every day, a grocery store, a butcher shop, a bakery and about eight bars and cafes. Isidro García is the owner of the Cande bakery. He points out that he grew up in one of the prefabricated houses that were eliminated on the lot where the court is now. “When they opened the court no one wanted to park, they were scared and now there are hardly any spaces because people have realized that those of us who live here are not lions, we are people like everyone else.”
Yolanda González, owner of a cafeteria that bears her name, points out that since it opened eight years ago it has achieved a loyal clientele and also regrets that it is becoming widespread «speaking of that there are bad people and that they rob you here, the fame of old has remained », reports.
Paco Gil is the second generation of the oldest bar in Los Palmerales. He points out that the neighborhood has become more and more normalized and appreciates that the City of Justice brought him customers.
Other news related to the Los Palmerales neighborhood of Elche
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.