Letter: Grant effort deserves resident support

Re: “Parents take the lead in school's grant proposal,” Oct. 5, I join other Rancho residents in hearty support of this proposed “green” transformation of the Benjamin Franklin Elementary School's grounds on Lake Street.

In my 17 years in Glendale, delays in replacing the enormous heat-generating blacktop playground, along with the school's proximity to one of the most heavily-traveled freeways in the world, have been frustrating to witness. The capper was Caltrans' unannounced scorched-earth vegetation removals on the Interstate 5 easements two years ago, leaving the nearby school and homes exposed to toxic particulates and noise.

Caltrans officials have said they won't install new trees until the entire HOV lane-widening project is finished, taking at least two more years. Therefore, the announcement by the Benjamin Franklin Elementary Foundation, via parents Gillian Bonacci and Hilary Stern, to secure a grant in partnership with North East Trees, Inc., the design-build consultants for Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Park, is huge news.

The effort deserves the support of nearby home and property owners as the plan includes rain-permeable pathways, native plantings and a softening of the overall fenced campus to the benefit of property values, environmental health and a more neighborly interface with residents.

Rancho folks will attest to the benefits of trading blighted, heat-island environs for drought-tolerant trees and vegetation, recreational amenities and visual appeal, which are now enjoyed at Riverwalk. Green is good, especially as the Riverside Rancho is belted by freeways, ongoing infrastructure projects and surface-street commuter traffic.

Letters of support may be mailed by Oct. 18 to Hilary Stern, BFEF, Franklin School, 1610 Lake Street, Glendale 91201, or emailed to BFEF at franklinfound@me.com. A grant for Franklin School will bless the children and neighborhood for decades to come.

Joanne Hedge

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