We are so appreciative of these founders and all the board members of the last 50 years which helped make the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association a vibrant neighborhood organization committed to beautifying and improving the life of residents in Willow Glen.
Willow Glen Neighborhood Association was founded by Dave Fitting, Jack Stallard, Hannah Kennedy, Becky Worsham, Margie Schumb, and Charlene Bunas in 1973. "WGNA was formed to “fight city hall” and the plans to cut thoroughfares through the neighborhood just to improve access to the suburbs".
Carol Ditting, Dave Ditting’s wife remembers that “Dave & Jack were prepared to lie down in front of bulldozers should they have begun construction to further widen Cherry Ave”.
After WGNA’s founding in 1973, it became a thriving and integral part of the community with many accomplishments.
WGNA was instrumental in establishing the first Founder’s Day festival in 1983.
Then in 1984 WGNA was involved in the “Lincoln Avenue Study” taskforce. The resulting Study has guided the street’s transition from “a commuter thoroughfare lined with second-hand shops” into the tree-lined shopping and dining destination it has now become. The Study’s impact has extended for decades, influencing the designs of new buildings.
WGNA was involved in the City’s 1985 General Plan, pushing against urban sprawl that would have spread city services too thin; and WGNA has remained involved in the subsequent General Plan updates
During the 1990s the board worked on the Mid-town project, fought a number of battles against 24hr drive-thru fast food restaurants, very late hours for bars along Lincoln and other proposed developments that would adversely impact our neighborhood.
They also started a booklet about walks through Willow Glen. They wanted it ready for Founder's Day in September and worked on it the summer before by walking around the neighborhood in the evening before garbage pickup day. As folks put out their garbage cans, they would ask them about the history of their house.
in 1993, Tiralisa Kaplow and the WGNA Board applied for and won a grant from the California Dept. of Water Resources to undertake the Los Gatos Creek Urban Stream Restoration Project. They coordinated 200 volunteers to plant a thousand native trees and shrubs in 1995-1996. It was one of WGNA’s most ambitious projects.
In 2002, when the business association was unable to host Founder’s Day, WGNA stepped up and hosted it all by themselves. WGNA also gave guided walking tours during those festivals, and years later Joan Bohnett transformed the tour notes into the “Touring Historic Willow Glen: Ten Walking Tours” book.
Since then, WGNA has organized a number of Beautification projects, candidate forums for state and local candidates and had a pivotal role in the downtown Willow Glen Lane reconfiguration.
More recently, WGNA hosted a very successful and one of the largest Neighborhood Night Out events to date, as well as the Illuminated Clock installation in DTWG, and 12 Art Box installations.
WGNA has an amazing history with many accomplishments that will impact generations to come.