Renaming of 3 Streets Wins Initial Approval

A plan to rename three streets as part of the $1-billion Santa Ana Freeway widening project won tentative approval from the City Council this week.

One aspect of the plan drew criticism from Freedman Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports arts programs and activities for seniors in Anaheim.

Under the city proposal, Freedman Way--which runs between Harbor Boulevard and Anaheim Boulevard--would become Disney Way, a change intended to help motorists find Disneyland after exiting the northbound Santa Ana Freeway.

Sharon Lesk, great-niece of late philanthropist Leo Freedman and a trustee of Freedman Foundation, said she was "surprised and very saddened" when she heard last week that the street might be renamed.

"We have been very generous to the city," Lesk said Wednesday. "In addition to $500,000 the foundation has given directly to the city, we have provided, in many other ways, a whole lot of enrichment to the residents of Anaheim."

Freedman-owned citrus groves and strawberry fields were adjacent to property where Disneyland was eventually built.

The philanthropic foundation was established after Freedman's death in 1989.

Councilman Tom Tait suggested a compromise: renaming a different Anaheim street in Freedman's honor.

Also affected by the proposed name changes would be West Street from the Santa Ana Freeway south to Katella Avenue, and a stretch of Anaheim Boulevard that parallels the freeway from south of Cerritos Avenue to State College Boulevard.

West Street would become Disneyland Drive, and Anaheim Boulevard would become Anaheim Way.

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