By Kim Stanley
What happens when a group of moms are unhappy about a route they and their elementary school children use to get to and from school everyday? A much-improved and safer path gets built! Granted, this is also a success story about being in the right place at the right time.
A group of Cleveland moms were talking about how unsafe the back walking-path to Cleveland School had become: There was crumbling cement and big sinkholes caused by erosion. As disrepair sets in, things like used needles and used condoms start showing up- you know the trend.
Fortunately COAST’s Ana Rico was on scene. She invited the moms, led by Marisol, to one of our Eastside community meetings. They presented their case vividly. We knew we could support them, but the initiative had to be theirs. First, we needed to find out who owned the path: Was it the City of Santa Barbara or the School District? We asked Peter Brown at the City, and the answer was: the School District. We realized that the School District had just passed Measure J, and every Santa Barbara School got to submit a wish list of needed repairs.
We knew we needed to make our case immediately as an eroded footpath might easily be overlooked in favor of other, flashier projects. So Ana and a group of moms spoke during public comment at the next school board meeting. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Two weeks later, we heard that our project had been included in the repair list and even made a priority. It was built over the summer. With a little landscaping TLC, it will be a safe and inviting path for the Cleveland School community.
Way to go Cleveland moms!