For residents of Bandra-Khar-Santacruz, Union Park is an oasis of peace and relaxation. Nestled in a corner of Bandra, Union Park has been a haven for kids and senior citizens alike, who visit the park to spend a few blissful moments in an otherwise busy day.

However, this was not the case a few years back. Bharti Kakkad of Union Park Residents Association remembers a time when the park was in a derelict condition and was frequented by anti-social elements like drug dealers and even commercial sex workers.

"Naturally, none of the residents from around used to come into the park nor would they allow their children to come in because it was considered quite unsafe, considering the kind of people who would hang out at the park," remembers Bharti.

Finally, the Union Park Residents Association got together and decided to get rid of this menace and make the park regain its former beauty and serenity. Bharti says, "We have realized one thing through these years-that if we don't take charge, we lose. The serene open space, this beautiful garden as we see it today, would not have been possible otherwise. You would not have come in here if not for the fact that we have adopted it, gone through the pains of redeveloping it, and maintained it."

Bharti admits that this was not an easy task, with the issue of funds being the prime hurdle in their endeavor to return Union Park to its former glory. This is where MLA Baba Siddique stepped in and financially supported the plan with resources from the MLA fund.

Bharti appreciates the efforts of Siddique when she says, "Here I must say that our MLA has been very approachable. We approached him about our various issues regarding the garden development project and he readily agreed to do it. We also laid conditions with him that if the garden is developed, it has to be developed as per our landscape architect's plan. He agreed with the idea and though the cost of development went up, we were able to do it. Also he has been very proactive and has helped us, by arranging meetings with higher, upper level BMC officials to solve our problems to fight against the illegal encroachment in this area. So yes, I and the residents are thankful to him for that."

Not only this, Union Park is the first such park in Mumbai, which runs on alternate energy as the garden has 30 lamps powered by seven solar panels that were installed a few years back.