On a sultry summer evening, a shady oasis in the city of Boston was almost empty Wednesday night.
Few people were enjoying Cutillo Park in the North End.
"It's frequently this empty," said neighborhood resident Kirsten Hoffman. "I think maybe a lot of parents don't want to bring their kids to play in the playground."
People who live in the neighborhood call it an embarrassment, saying the park has fallen into disrepair.
Residents have taken pictures of trash, needles and alcohol bottles in the park — not exactly a welcoming place to enjoy the benches, the playground and the open space just steps away from the hubbub of the city.
"It's definitely a place where people kind of congregate a bit, which is how a park should be, but not necessarily always the right people," said neighborhood resident Nate Lipka.
Now, concerned residents like Hoffman are circulating a petition, calling on the city to make changes.
"It's just been very difficult to get the city to come out and clean and maintain," said Hoffman.
A new mural that recently went up helps, but residents say that much more needs to be done, and that the park has been neglected for too long.
Residents complain of rats, drug activity and dog feces.
"I think it has a lot of potential," said Lipka.
The mayor's office did not respond to a request for comment on the petition, but some of the concerned residents say they were able to meet with a city councilor this week and they are hopeful some of the problems will be addressed.