By Mary O’KEEFE
There are two new benches in front of two local schools in La Crescenta thanks to the Crescenta Valley Town Council and Crescenta Commons.
The Crescenta Commons at the corner of Orange and Rosemont avenues was completed in November 2014. Among the California native plants and rocks at the site are benches where community members can sit and enjoy the Commons. The benches were donated by local residents and organizations but, in typical Crescenta Valley style, too many people wanted to help so the CVTC had two benches too many for the Commons.
“We had one bench that was purchased by Leslie Dickson’s family and one by Crescenta Valley Town Council,” said CVTC President Robbyn Battles. “They were supposed to go into the Commons but we had no room.”
CVTC members worked closely with Monte Vista Elementary School, which is next door to the Commons. Battles worked with the school’s principal Suzanne Risse and together they invited students to be part of the Crescenta Commons Kids. The students, about 35 from first to sixth grades, keep the grounds clean and help take care of the plants.
“About two years ago I spoke to [previous principal] Susan Hoge. She told me there was no place for grandparents to sit while [waiting for students] at the school,” Battles said. “I kept that comment in the back of my mind.”
When it turned out that the Commons had extra benches, Battles thought a good place for one of them would be in front of the school near the kindergarten playground.
“It was red, which was perfect for Monte Vista,” she added. Monte Vista’s school color is red. A plaque with the words Dickson Family was placed on the bench and it was placed at the elementary school.
The other extra bench was blue – Falcon blue – so it seemed natural that the bench would be donated to Crescenta Valley High School.
“I had been at the Prom Plus 20th anniversary [celebration] and thought we should dedicate it to [one of the] Prom Plus founders Marian Mirsky,” Battles said.
Prom Plus is an organization that offers an after prom party for CVHS seniors and their guests. Mirsky was a tireless supporter of Prom Plus. She held bake sales at the school to raise money for the organization and lived across the street from the school. She and her husband were named honorary grandparents of CVHS and kept a watchful eye on CVHS kids.
Both Marian and her husband Joe have passed away, but their legacy continues. The plaque with Mirsky’s name is being completed.
“[CVTC] was able to purchase the bench through funds left over from the military banners,” Battles said.
CVTC had created banners honoring local residents serving in the military, which were hung along the unincorporated section of Los Angeles County along Foothill Boulevard. There was more money donated to the fund than was needed for the banners, so the CVHS bench will have two dedication plaques.
“We are going to add a plaque to the bench that reads ‘We Salute the Military,’” Battles said.
The bench sits in a shaded area above the MacDonald Auditorium on Ramsdell Avenue across from the Mirskys’ former home.