Anza Valley Chamber of Commerce beautification project vandalized

The sign at the strip center in Anza was vandalized just days after being artistically improved and repaired by the Anza Valley Chamber of Commerce. Diane Sieker photo

The Anza Valley Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Trail Town Committee, has been working on beautifying multiple commercial properties along Hwy. 371, but for someone, the temptation to ruin that hard work was apparently too great as vandals already have stolen part of the project.

The two groups envision making Anza a horse-friendly “trail town.” complete with bridle paths and hitching posts. The eventual result would be to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail system as an offshoot and destination for hikers, equestrians and other trail users.

The first step that they have undertaken is the beautification of some business frontages in town, this being done at the AVCC’s expense and at no cost to the business owners.

The very first project was the improvement of the sign at the strip center housing the Once Upon a Thread thrift store, Gregoire Combatives and Yoga Skies. The sign frame received some rustic “yard art” decorations, including an interesting old vintage wood-burning stove cemented at the bottom of the sign, some cast iron park bench legs as artistic accents, a cleaning and general fixing. These simple upgrades made a plain sign look much more interesting.

In less than a week, though the display became the target of thieves. They vandalized the sign frame and the old cast iron stove had been ripped from its base and stolen. The base part remained, only because it was attached to steel rebar set in cement.

“All the groups in this community are working hard to make this a better place to live,” Chamber member Robyn Garrison said. “But with each turn there is vandalism and a complete lack of respect for their efforts.”

The Chamber has two large metal stallion sculptures, but are having an issue finding a suitable location to place them where they will be safe. Some commercial property owners have refused the art due to the liability of the well-being of the sculptures.

“We need to work together against this vandalism by not being afraid to report things when we see them,” Garrison said. “Someone knows something about the theft of the cast iron stove. But they are silent.”

It would surely be a shame if these petty crimes prevent the beautification of Anza. The Chamber’s plan is sound and they need the community’s help to implement it.

To report crimes, please call the Riverside County non-emergency dispatch line at (951) 776-1099.

To contact the Anza Valley Chamber of Commerce, visit www.facebook.com/anzavalleychamber/ or call (951) 763-0141.

The base is all that is left of a decorative vintage cast iron stove used as art on the beautified sign at the strip center in Anza. Diane Sieker photo

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