By Mary O’KEEFE
On Saturday volunteers cleaned and painted the old firehouse at St. Luke’s of the Mountains Episcopal Church at Foothill Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue. The workers were preparing the building for the next stage in a long history of supporting the Crescenta Valley. The Firehouse is on its way to being a youth house for teens.
The little stone building that is on the east side of St. Luke’s property was the second Crescenta Valley fire station in 1930. (The first fire station was open in 1924 on Hermosa Avenue.)
According to Mike Lawler, president of the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley, when Foothill Boulevard was expanded the front part of the fire station was cut off. The old Station 19 was moved down the road to 1729 W. Foothill Blvd., where it remains today.
The building was acquired by the church and over the years has been used as a counseling center and church youth group. Now the old stone building is moving into another phase as a teen house where kids can go to play pool or foosball, listen to music, play video games or be tutored in a subject they are struggling in.
The Firehouse is in partnership with St. Luke’s and St. George’s of La Cañada Episcopal churches and the CV Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition.
“This has been a vision of [the Coalition], a place for our youth to go after school or [in the evening],” said Howard Hakes, Coalition president.
A committee comprised of representatives from the two churches, the Coalition and local teens has been meeting for several weeks discussing what could and should be done with the house. The decision to call the building The Firehouse was originally coined by Coalition member Nancy Stone. The committee liked the name as a way to remember the past as it moves into the future.
“I see it as a center for the youth of the community whether they belong to our church, another church or no church at all,” said St. Luke’s vicar Bryan Jones.
He added it will be a place for youth to gather together with adult support.
In surveys conducted by the Coalition one of the main complaints from teens was that there was “nothing to do here.” The Firehouse will give kids a destination.
The plan is to start with one night a week for high school students then to eventually expand to more nights and include an after school program for middle school aged kids. The committee has also discussed creating volunteer opportunities for teens and partnering with other organizations.
“We want to thank everyone who has been supportive like the Kiwanis, the CV [Drug and Alcohol Prevention] Coalition, [the kids] and the members of St. Luke’s and St. George’s” Jones said.
There is another work day planned at The Firehouse this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Anyone with the time and energy can show up to help.