After monsoon rainstorms, water drains and gathers in the grassy wash that serves as a median along Desert Stravenue in the Poets Square neighborhood.

What was once an overgrown or muddy mess is now a well-groomed park and gathering place for neighbors.

Mike Gallo lives only a few homes away. He started the upkeep in 2019.

Every time I cut grass, Id go out a little farther, a little father, he told KGUN. Before I knew it, I was doing the whole thing.

He doesnt just cut grass or trim trees.

I pick up the debris, the papers that people throw. I keep it clean, he said.

Gallo picks up trash and sometimes recycles it. Hes built three benches out of steel and planted them in concrete in the park.

Im a welder by trade, he explained.

The Vietnam veteran and former English teacher in the Sunnyside Unified School District named the park Chancellors Park, after his late dog who passed two years ago.

He was always down here helping me the first two years that I did this, Gallo recalled. And he was always under this tree right here.

A metal cutout now sits there, serving as a memorial that Gallo made.

[Chancellor] liked grass, said Gallo. And thats what this is. This was his yard, you know.

Now it belongs to the neighborhood.

Other neighbors have donated furniture and solar lights to the park.

Neighbor Brett Moffitt is often out with Gallo, cutting the grass when it gets too tall. Hes been lending a hand since 2020.

Just felt like I had some time, I could give him a hand, he said. And so thats where it started. Just an offer and he actually took me up on it. He called my bluff, I guess.

Gallo and Moffitt say its inspired other neighbors to keep the wash maintained through the neighborhood, from 5th St. to Broadway.

Its no longer just a meeting place for water and weeds.

I saw when I started doing it as it got bigger, people would bring their kids down and their dogs down, said Gallo. I mean, that little table right there, I see people in the evening sitting there, talking with each other It just makes me feel that someone other than me is enjoying it.