SAN DIEGO - As Del Mar welcomes a Gelson's Market -- the first of dozens of shuttered Haggen stores to reopen -- other communities wait in frustration.
"I just feel like I live in a bad neighborhood when I see this, and I don't want to feel like that," said Robert Ray, who lives across the street from a closed Haggen store on University Avenue in North Park.
"It makes me feel bad. I have to see it every day," added Michael Edwards, a neighbor who said the lot is becoming an eyesore.
Edwards pointed out a trail of trash leading to bags of trash left against a wall on the backside of the store. He said the problem grows messier every day, ever since Haggen closed up on University Ave. nearly two months ago.
On the website Nextdoor.com, a neighbor recently complained about a homeless encampment in the parking lot.
The frustrations are not just about what's on the ground, but on the walls, as neighbors pointed out graffiti that went up in the past 24 hours.
On the side facing University Ave., white paint stretches the length of the wall.
Ray uses his own paint to cover up new tagging every week.
"I want to take pride in my neighborhood. This is just awful," said Ray.
A spokesperson for the building's new owners, Smart & Final, sent 10News this statement:
"Smart & Final plans to open all store locations acquired through the Haggen transaction by the end of June 2016. This includes the store in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. In the meantime, we have increased security at the North Park location from 12 to 24 hours and have had trash removed from the property. We have scheduled three checks per week at which time additional trash will be removed. We are also in the processing of addressing the graffiti issue at the location and are working on having the donation bins removed. We appreciate the North Park community and look forward to providing a one-stop shopping experience in which customers can buy quality products at a great value while being treated like a friend and neighbor."