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'Tiny Town' continues to connect Coronado community after pandemic

Posted at 9:45 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 12:45:25-04

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) -- Within the small city of Coronado Island lies an even smaller one.

"Right now, the population is 66,” said Jenny Gyapay, whom many have unofficially titled the “Tiny Town” mayor. "That's the big joke, I'm the mayor of 'Tiny Town.’”

Gyapay created Tiny Town on a peppertree sitting in her front yard in 2020. As restrictions surrounding COVID-19 grew, so did her little city within the bark.

"I just started slow with five little settings, then I went until I had 11 because I didn't want to be that crazy lady looking like a lunatic,” said Gyapay.

It didn't take long for walkers and drivers to take notice. It quickly made appearances on Coronado's community Facebook page and in the city's local paper.

"We have people come by and pick people up from the airport and bring them to Tiny Town on the way home,” Gyapay said.

Gyapay has also made it important the town remain sustainable, adding, "Some of my stuff is made of Starbucks cups, boxes. I find stuff on beach that I use.”

An educator for decades, Gyapay built it with kids in mind but learned fast it helped adults, too, especially when things on the island felt even more isolated.

“When we were on lockdown, it brought joy and still brings joy,” said Gyapay.

Gyapay writes children's books on the side and Tiny Town is the new setting in a book she'll be adding to that collection.

"The pictures include the town and kids who are cartoon characters,” Gyapay said.

Tiny Town might be all fantasy and on the smaller scale, but its effects on the tight-knit community have been anything but little.

"Some people have left little lawn chairs, darling little figures. They're showing in their own way that they love and want to add to Tiny Town,” said Gyapay.

Tiny Town is located on C Avenue and 8th Street in Coronado.