by Tre'vell Anderson
When Catherine Shen moved into her Green Acres home in 2008, she was welcomed with open arms by the other residents who she described as "polite and courteous." The block and potluck parties held by the neighborhood association have played a big part in the development of community and a sense of belonging.
For Eva Gal, the best part about living in Green Acres is getting to know her neighbors. The occasional parties and Easter egg hunts have been integral.
"People I met 35 years ago are still here," she said. "We're all respectful of privacy, but caring and concerned."
Both Shen and Gal speak highly of their neighbors. As a group, they are constantly meeting to "(think) of more activities to bring people together and get to know each other better," Shen said.
This congenial spirit has been ever-present for residents despite the unique construction of the Green Acres neighborhood. Separated by Arastradero Road, Green Acres is divided into two: Green Acres I, on the south end, was built in the early 1950s followed by Green Acres II to the north.
Shen describes Green Acres as a distance away from Downtown Palo Alto and other city fixtures, a facet she sees as a benefit.
"Being in this location, though it is away from Palo Alto, is still very convenient," she said. "We have more choices (for shopping). We can go (downtown) or to the San Antonio Center in Mountain View or wherever."
Other residents sing the praises of having Juana Briones Elementary, Terman Middle and Gunn High schools within close proximity as another community attraction.
The three schools attracted Nancy Mott and her family, who moved to the area in 1985 because she said such an occurrence was "unusual."
Gal has noticed a cycle within the neighborhood where the prevalence of children rises and falls as a result of the schools being a hot selling point. When she first moved to her home in 1971, she said there were "lots of children" and the number has gone up and down, beginning to rise once more. There also was an orchard in the neighborhood that she recalls, a time she said, "There weren't many cars present."
Traffic can now be "bothersome," according to Gal, but the area is still "very much quiet."
"Very quiet is a good way to put it," Mott said. "We can walk and jog comfortably."
Joe Hirsh described the neighborhood slightly differently, calling it "safe and steady."
He came to Green Acres in 1974 as a single parent with three children and a dog.
"I wouldn't stay here for (over) 40 years if I didn't think (it was safe,)" he said.
Hirsh described Green Acres as being full "of working, intelligent and interesting people, people who are very interested in their community." He's seen a surge in community spirit as they have become more politically active as a group concerned about the increase in development of the area.
Green Acres residents also love that their utilities are underground. Mott calls the area "very pretty" as a result. The neighborhood was the city's pilot project for undergrounding utilities and has since been the model for other areas.
"I hope to live here for many many more years," Hirsch said.
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CHILD CARE AND PRESCHOOLS: Palo Alto Montessori School, 575 Arastradero Road; Whistlestop Child Development Center, 3801 Miranda Ave. No. T6B; Young Life Christian Pre-School, 687 Arastradero Road
FIRE STATION: No. 5, 600 Arastradero Road
LIBRARY: Mitchell Park branch, 3700 Middlefield Road (after summer 2014)
LOCATION: Green Acres I: Arastradero Road to Glenbrook Drive, Los Palos to Pomona avenues; Green Acres II: Maybell Avenue to Arastradero Road, Coulombe Drive to Georgia Avenue
NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION: (Green Acres I) Alice Sklar, email@example.com; (Green Acres II) Betsy Allyn, 650-493-8859
PARKS: Juana Briones Park, 609 Maybell Ave.; Terman Park, 655 Arastradero Road
POST OFFICE: Cambridge, 265 Cambridge Ave.
PRIVATE SCHOOL: Bowman International School, 4000 Terman Drive
PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Juana Briones Elementary School, Terman Middle School, Gunn High School
SHOPPING: El Camino Real, San Antonio Shopping Center, Downtown Los Altos