Cypress Park residents complain that day-care centers need to be built, children lack after-school programs and the streets are infested with gangs.
"There aren't enough safe places for kids to play and learn," longtime resident Alma Robles said. "People don't feel safe walking to the park. And the school playgrounds are closed after students are dismissed."
To address these concerns, city officials have launched Neighborhood Networks4Kids, a program that helps residents restore their neighborhoods. The program's first targeted community is Cypress Park.
The project, established by the city Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families, aims to ensure that activities and services are available to area residents and business owners.
The commission has chosen four other target communities and hopes to introduce the program in each of the 15 City Council districts by June.
At a recent meeting at Divine Savior Church hall in Cypress Park, about 100 residents broke up into small groups to discuss community concerns. They will meet again April 7 to set priorities and work with city agencies to develop a community plan.