Brains Are Better Than Brawn: Santa Barbara Residents Sell Bread to Fix Street

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(Santa Cruz) Reporting on horrible road conditions is nothing new. What is new is that a group of neighbors from the Pro Oriente Association in Santa Cruz got down to work to raise funds, and by selling homemade bread and other foods, they managed to collect ¢300,000 ($570) to pay overtime to the personnel who operated the machinery provided by the municipality.

Although Route 920 is national, the mayor of Santa Cruz decided to lend machinery and personnel for a period of five days on an emergency basis to work on 10 kilometers with the contributions from neighbors.

Byron Serrano, vice president of the association, said that residents of Bolson, Guaitil, Oriente, Ortega, Santa Barbara and Talolinga have been fighting and organizing since 2014 to be able to repair the road.

We have done work from Oriente to Ortega, 10 kilometers graveled and grated. We also had help from the Santa Barbara Integral Development Association, who helped us with the base material,” he explained.

Minor Gonzalez, syndic for the district of Diria and member of the Santa Cruz Cantonal Road Council, confirmed that the machinery contributed from the municipality included two dump trucks, a bulldozer, a compactor and a back hoe.

Meanwhile, Reynaldo Mata, regional director of road and bridge conservation for CONAVI, explained that more than ¢600 million ($1,132,000) has been allocated to take care of Route 920 through the emergency decree due to drought issued by the National Emergency Commission in 2014.

Serrano said he felt “half satisfied” because, although the work will last a few months, they still have to wait for CONAVI to do real work on the road.

Residents do not rule out continuing to do fundraisers in the future and joining forces to maintain the stretch of road.