Mountain View Voice

- April 23, 2010

Cuesta Park: a modern-day Mayberry

by Kimberly Ewertz

With its eclectic mix of old-style cottages, apartment complexes and new single-family homes, the Cuesta Park neighborhood feels like a 1950s-era suburb.

And, the people of Cuesta Park exemplify the traditions of the era it resembles. Genuine kindness and respect for each other and their neighbors is an everyday occurrence.

In 2001 Sarah Donahue discovered Cuesta Park in her search to find a neighborhood that provided good schools and pleasant people.

"I've found that in spades," Donahue said. "I was thrilled to rediscover that there were people who know their neighbors, and they talk to each other."

Frankie Borison, resident of Cuesta Park since 1989, echoes Donahue's sentiments. "It's our own little oasis."

A key component to the sense of community that resounds in the Cuesta Park neighborhood is the Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association, or CPNA.

Kim Merry, a resident since 1964 and previous neighborhood association president, credits the creation of the CPNA to the neighborhood's struggle to keep the Cuesta Park Annex, an additional 12 acres of underdeveloped land, in its natural state.

"I know a million people just from hanging out in my back yard," Merry said. A chain-link fence is all that separates her yard from the Annex.

The CPNA won its battle and the annex remains untouched, and according to Bruce Hurlburt, Mountain View's parks manager, people all throughout the community enjoy this unique aspect of the park.

"It gives folks a chance to feel they're not in the middle of the city," he said.

The CPNA was instrumental in the initiation of a vital activity that takes place throughout the year in the Cuesta Park neighborhood, the initiation of the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training.

"In case of a widespread emergency the CERT teams, neighborhood volunteers, are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood," said Russ Jones, CPNA's acting president.

"CERT training has brought the neighborhood together," Donahue added.

Neighborhood gatherings abound in this Mountain View locality, and many of them take place in the sprawling 25-acre park bearing the neighborhood's name, Cuesta Park.

The park plays host to summer concerts, fall picnics, wildflower planting, and every May it's the location of the Mountain View chapter of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Oren Shachal, a Cuesta Park resident since 2004, has participated in the Relay for Life event for the past two years, and plans to take part again this year.

"It was a great experience," she said, "an experience I wasn't expecting, very emotional."

Pam Lehner, Cuesta Park resident since 1972, plays a crucial part in this event as the Cancer Center Concierge at El Camino Hospital. "I love that it's in our neighborhood," she said.

The neighbors of Cuesta Park help her throughout the year by dropping off donations of items that she can take to the Cancer Center patients including hand-knitted hats.

"We really watch out for one another," Lehner said of her Cuesta Park neighbors.

The same can be said for the entire community of Cuesta Park. As Kim Merry puts it: "It's like Mayberry RFD."

Facts

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Little Acorn Preschool, 1667 Miramonte Ave.; St. Timothy's Preschool, 2094 Grant Road; YMCA Kids Place, 525 Hans Ave.

FIRE STATION: No. 2, 160 Cuesta Drive

LOCATION: bounded by El Camino Real, Grant Road, Cuesta Drive, Miramonte Avenue, Castro Street

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: Cuesta Park Neighborhood Association (CPNA), vice president and acting President, Russ Jones, 650-961-9682

PARKS: Bubb Park, Barbara Avenue and Montalto Drive; Cuesta Park, 615 Cuesta Drive

POST OFFICE: Blossom Valley, 1768 Miramonte Ave.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS: St. Joseph, 1120 Miramonte Ave.; St. Francis High School, 1885 Miramonte Ave.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Mtn. View-Whisman School District — Bubb Elementary School, Graham Middle School; Mtn. View-Los Altos Union High School District — Mountain View High School

SHOPPING: Grant Park Plaza, Grant Road at El Camino Real; Blossom Valley Shopping Center, Miramonte Avenue at Cuesta Drive; Downtown Mountain View

Comments

Posted by Sharon (Jacob) Kollmann, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm

MR. Rogers Neighborhood is what I call the Cuesta Park area. I grew up on Lola Lane (1963) and not much has changed other than the trees are bigger! My father called me today to go on line and check out the picture of our house featured with this article. Good timing for the chickens to be out............yea that's another thing that's changed!! We didn't see chickens growing up on Lola Ln.
Sharon (Jacob) Kollmann


Posted by Nilda, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 24, 2010 at 9:36 am

I love this neighborhood. Good people, good times, good life.


Posted by MmHm, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm

The neighborhood is also extremely well organized and connected.
They have neighborhood email groups that can do everything from sell/give away some no longer needed baby stuff, to alerting neighbors to aggressive solicitors or the suspicious behavior of others.
They really look out for each other and embrace/celebrate their little community within a community. Its a great neighborhood.


Posted by Phyllis, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Been here 7 years and love it. Lots of opportunities to connect with moms groups, doggie play groups, neighborhood events and picnics, etc. What a relief to have neighbors interested in genuine quality of life - not the biggest houses or fanciest cars, but the nicest people, with an active and diverse population and a spirit of inclusion.


Posted by tommygee, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 26, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Hey I love the Safeway in the area, along with Cuesta Park of course.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Apr 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Huff School is missing from the list of public schools.


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