Conservation Corps faring well in Meyers: Community says ‘So far, so good’
Jena Gordon works the night shift as a cashier at Roadrunner Gas and Liquor, a job that brings her into contact with groups of California Conservation Corps members when they come in for a snack.
“Overall they’re a pretty good bunch of kids,” Gordon said. “Out of a group of 10 of them, maybe two are bad seeds and that gives them a bad rap.”
Gordon said the bad ones are Corps members being noisy or disrespectful. But in general, she said, there haven’t been any significant problems since the Tahoe Center of the California Conservation Corps moved into Meyers in December.
It took three weeks for members of the Tahoe Center to move from an old ski lodge at the top of Echo Summit into the three-story building behind Lira’s Supermarket.
But it took longer than that for the director of the Tahoe Center, Gary Ray, to bolster enough support from the Meyers community for it to welcome the organization, which hires out crews of 18 to 23 year olds for forest management and other conservation work, back into Meyers.
“At first I was hesitant, but that was only because of word of mouth,” said Steve Parker, manager of Lira’s Supermarket. “But so far so good. I haven’t had any problems with any of them and I see them pretty much on a daily basis.”
The Tahoe Center CCC was based in Meyers from 1989 to 1997 in the same location it occupies today. Many community members were not sad to see the CCC leave for Echo Summit because it had gained a reputation for littering, partying, being noisy and making the area look trashy.
But times changed. The rundown building occupied by the CCC at Meyers underwent a major remodel, and Ray, who keeps a tight reign on Corps members, arrived as director of the Tahoe Center in spring 2002.
Being based in Meyers allows the CCC to be much closer to work sites in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and when a big snow storm hits, no longer do they have to worry about the road closing and becoming trapped atop Echo Summit.
“It has been an incredible improvement,” said Ray, who is managing about 50 corps members right now. “We were shoved into a cracker box disguised as a ski lodge. This is a better place for Corps members to live and staff to work.”
Anthony D’Andrea, 41, who owns a house on Celio Lane right across the street from the Tahoe Center, said the true test of whether the corps members are good neighbors will come when the snow melts.
“The summer is going to probably bring hanging out and take my quiet Tahoe away,” D’Andrea said. “We just know what youth does. They hang out in groups and tend to walk the streets at night. I just hope there will be some form of control on them.”
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