By Nahreen TARZI
After three and a half years, the construction of Crescenta Commons finally began on March 9 under the leadership of Rhys Teff, a local Life Scout heading the project.
“It has taken a long time to get through the county, to let us do something here with our plans,” said Teff.
Teff had a long journey getting through all the steps of government, from proposing the project years ago at a council meeting to Sunday – the first day of work to make over this strip of land at Rosemont and Orange avenues.
“How long it took to get it passed by the county was worrying,” he said. “I just had to keep reminding them.”
With a sidewalk full of garden tools, Teff’s crew worked away at the abundance of ivy covering the plot. The group of volunteers included Boy Scout Kyle Ikeda, his father Brian Ikeda, CV Town Councilman Mike Claessens, Scoutmaster Bob Fletcher and other La Crescenta residents willing to offer their time.
“We take a lot of pride up here about giving back,” said Fletcher.
In the past, fellow Scouts from Troop 288 have completed projects for Descanso Gardens Nursery, Verdugo Hills Hospital, Verdugo Hills Cemetery, Deukmejian Wilderness Park, and historical sites off the Pasadena Freeway. Girl Scouts also complete similar projects that give back to their community.
“We’ve got a lot of Scouts in our area,” said Teff’s mother. Even former Scouts volunteered their services in helping to complete the Crescenta Commons, including the 25 year-old son of Scoutmaster Fletcher.
“A lot of them do come back, just to be of service,” said Fletcher.
Each Scout must create his own community project by the time he turns 18 in order to earn the Eagle rank.
“It’s wonderful that they learn how to light good fires, and tie knots, and do first aid, but mostly we want them to be good citizens,” said Fletcher.
As the volunteers cleared away the ivy, old relics were found that dated back about 50 years, demonstrating how untouched this plot of land had been. Items included old-style liquor bottles, and an old tin pull-tab can.
“This will be one of the most wonderful projects in this valley,” said Fletcher. “My oldest went to this school [Monte Vista Elementary, west of the project] … I have seen this here for a long time, unchanged.”
Next steps include leveling the ground, paving a walkway, adding benches and planting flowers and other garden plants. Teff wants to make the area as appealing as possible so local residents can come enjoy it.
The passion Teff holds for the project cannot be mistaken.
“With Rhys and all the other scouts, we tell them: you’ve got to find a project that’s going to be passionate for you,” said Fletcher, “and he absolutely grabbed a hold of this thing. It’s pretty neat. It’ll be something that Rhys, in 10 years or 20 years, will be able to come by with his children and see.”
Teff’s advice to future Scouts: “If you work with the county, stay on them. Don’t let them just go away, ’cause you’ll never get it done.”
The completion of the Crescenta Commons is scheduled for March 23. More information can be found at www.crescentacommons.weebly.com.