Cuesta Park: a modern-day Mayberry
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."
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