New Sidewalk Built Over Dirt Path to Santa Teresita School

By Jacqueline Garcia, EGP Staff Writer

Since the founding of Santa Teresita Catholic School in 1950, generations of students have had no choice but to take a hilly dirt path along Tremont Street that was never intended for pedestrian use, to get to the school near Ramona Gardens in Boyle Heights.

School employees and concerned parents have over the years written countless letters asking the city’s street bureau to build them a sidewalk, so Kindergarten through 8th grade students and their families would no longer have to trudge through the mud when it rains, or dust and dirt when it’s dry.

For more than half a century, the response was “there is no money,” parents and staff told EGP.

The renovated sidewalk is located on Tremont Street. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

The renovated sidewalk is located on Tremont Street. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

That was until about two months ago when Juanita Puga caught up with Councilman Jose Huizar at nearby Ramona Gardens and asked him to walk with her around the school.

She explained to Huizar that for 64 years, parents and children, including her children and grandchildren, have walked down the middle of Tremont Street to get to the school because is was “impossible” to navigate the dirt path often strewn with illegally parked cars and dumped trash, and muddy when it rains.

“I showed [Huizar] our need for a sidewalk and he did listen
to me,” said Puga. “He is one of the few politicians that do listen,”
she happily said last Friday at a celebration inaugurating a long awaited new sidewalk, courtesy of funds provided by Huizar’s office.

Huizar used money from his Clean Communities Initiative launched in April, $1.5 million in funds allocated from his office’s discretionary funds, to be used for things like cleaning and beautifying the district, street repairs, and building sidewalks like the one now in front of Santa Teresita.

Every councilmember has discretionary funds to use in their district, Huizar told EGP. His district gets “street furniture funds and …money from a recycling facility, Clark Funds,” and other areas, he said.

“Our Clean Communities Initiative was designed to do just this, improve the quality of life of our residents,” he said, adding that initial investment of $500,000 has grown to over $1.5 million.

He explained the city’s budget for street repairs can’t cover everything that needs fixing, and most of the street budget goes to putting black tar on city streets to prevent liability issues.

Students presented thank you letters to Huizar during last week’s festivities. Younger students drew all kinds of activities they can now do because of the sidewalk, such as riding their bikes, scooters or walking pets.

Santa Teresita principal, Sister Mary Catherine Antczak, told EGP that Huizar and staff walked the street themselves to see the problem. “They realized, that yes, the safety of these children was at stake,” said Antczak, noting the job was done “within two weekends.”

Long-time Ramona Gardens resident Thomas Varela helps out at Santa Teresita. He said he nicknamed the area “the forgotten corner of Boyle Heights because it’s so isolated,” its view obscured by housing projects, a large factory, the freeway and the railroad tracks.

He thinks that’s why Ramona Garden and the surrounding area have been neglected, a point Huizar disputes.

Jomary Aleman, who has a 7th and 8th grader at the school, is thrilled the yearly school “marathon” will no longer be confined to the school’s patio. “This will be the first year that we will be able to go [all the way] around the school,” she said happily.

The new sidewalk cost $23,000, according to Huizar spokesman Rick Coca.

Former Supervisor Gloria Molina, who is running to replace Huizar in March, has accused the councilman of neglecting areas like Boyle Heights, allegations the councilman says are far from the truth. Our office has “actual factual quantitative data that shows our improvements” in the area, such as the Boyle Heights City Hall, Mariachi Plaza, the new Hollenbeck Police Station and several parks, Huizar said.

“It’s politics…but if that’s the only reason she’s saying she’s running, I feel very confident I will win the election because that’s a very weak argument,” he said.

As for Puga, she says Huizar has her vote. “I have children and grandchildren and we have said that we will strongly support Huizar because he is the only politician who has listened to us.”

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December 15, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

Comments

6 Responses to “New Sidewalk Built Over Dirt Path to Santa Teresita School”

  1. BH Citizen on December 15th, 2014 3:49 pm

    Did Huizar pay you for this article because it seems like an endorsement? Glad the school finally got a sidewalk. It seems as if the Clark Funds monies were never available before this. If it takes an election, with an actual viable opponent to get Huizar to finally do his job, then I am all for it.

  2. Red Spot on December 16th, 2014 1:02 pm

    I agree 100% with this article. Huizar is good for our district and won’t be like Molina who gave 950,000 hard earned tax payer dollars to connected non-profits like Legacy L.A.

    Plus, she is hiring people who are connected to her husband!!!

  3. Red Spot on December 16th, 2014 2:08 pm

    This is accurate – Blogs like Mayor Sam only distort the truth!!

  4. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Los Angeles on December 17th, 2014 6:45 pm

    […] Boyle Heights Santa Teresita School Gets New Sidewalk (EGPNews) […]

  5. Scott Johnson on December 18th, 2014 12:22 pm

    Hola EGP Staff and CD 14 Constituents,

    Its apparent that there is a Councilman Huizar-supporting Red Spot running amok in the cybersphere, engaging in factually challenged spin on behalf of the self-noting Princeton Graduate.

    First, for the record, strident Councilman Huizar supporter Mago Amador is on the Board of Directors at Santa Teresita Elementary. Maybe she comment why it is only now, some eight years after being elected to replace his “Political Papi”, former “Failure Mayor Antonio Villar” (BTW, a former student at Santa Teresita), that a sidewalk was put in place?

    Second, as Mago celebrates her new path of concrete, maybe she can offer some insight on how Councilman Huizar diverted $1.2 Million Dollars of the CLARTS Fund into his Salary Account, which funded the dramatic increases in pay for the likes of former Deputy Chief of Staff (and supposed mistress) Francine Godoy. Surely, the $135,000 in yearly pay to Francine, could of been better spent on repairing neglected infrastructure within CD-14, including the neglected path of dirt, bordering the school.

    But lastly and most laughable, is the implied connection between the Villar/ Huizar-created “Connected Non-Profit Legacy LA” and Supervisor Molina. Lets remember that is was this publication that reported the California Endowment $200,000 Grant Award Press Conference, fronted by guest who? Councilman Huizar.

    Lets also remember that it was Councilman Huizar supporter, now State Senate President Pro Tem “Kevin de Leon the First”, who engineered a deal to grant the Villar/ Huizar-created Connected Non-Profit, $5 Million Dollars in City of Vernon Dirty Money.

    That said, its seem the Huizar-supporting alter-ego of a certain CD-14 Blogger, is now spinning falsehoods against Molina and Legacy LA (because Lou Calanche supported now Mayor Garcetti) and thus, she is now merely, seeking help in obtaining funding from another source.

    Respectfully,

    Scott Johnson in CD 14
    aka the Real…

  6. The Realest Red Spot on December 20th, 2014 12:11 pm

    Scott Johnson is wrong and no wonder he couldn’t get re-elected to the LA32 NC. Here are some other facts that he doesn’t consider:
    – As one of her last acts, Molina gave Legacy L.A. over 950K. He should be consistent and point out that this is a conflict of interest over what I call a “connected non-profit”
    – Second, he should also point that well known conflict of interester Sandra Villa-Figueroa is also supporting Molina.
    Finally, he should also divulge that Rolando “Big O’ is also on the payroll of Molina’s separated husband Ron Martinez. Big O’s support of Molina is also driven by his pocket book!!
    Word on the streets of the 14th is that these dots will be connected by another blog coming soon……
    Respectfully – THE REAL RED SPOT IN CD 14

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