Danville Express

Newsfront - February 2, 2007

Hap Magee improvements include gazebo

Parking lot to be expanded by 80 spaces in reaction to park's popularity

by Natalie O'Neill

Hap Magee Ranch Park will soon be better able to accommodate weddings, concerts and horseback riding.

The town is planning to expand the parking lot in the area behind the Cottage House to fit 80 more vehicles including large horse trailers, members of the Danville Parks and Leisure Services Commission said last week.

Improvements include a newly constructed gazebo that will primarily be used for weddings, said Assistant Town Manager Marcia Somers. The gazebo is expected to increase the amount of visitors the park gets, especially in the spring and summer months.

"(At weddings) people like the backdrop of the creek and being out there on the meadow," Somers said.

The structure was built and funded by the Danville/Sycamore Valley Rotary Club as part of its centennial project and cost more than $45,000. Construction is complete but the gazebo will be painted a cream color in coming weeks.

"The gazebo fits the character of that park and it's a nice contribution to the community. The Rotary deserves recognition," Somers said.

Rotary President David Behring said the project was a "brainchild" of Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich and that it had been in the works for about three years.

"It's on a beautiful piece of land. We're open to anything people want to use it for," Behring said.

Club members worked on the construction for about five full days, with 10-12 volunteers working at a time.

"It was a fun, hands-on project for the club," Behring said.

Hap Magee Ranch Park is already used for weddings, picnics, the playground, horseback riding, classes, community meetings and its dog parks. Maintenance cost for the park is divided evenly between the town of Danville and Alamo Parks and Recreation, with each paying about $200,000 annually.

"(Parking lot expansion) has long been planned because we didn't anticipate having as many people coming to the park as we do now, with all of the different uses," Somers said.

She added that she was happy to see the increased use.

The parking lot is currently being designed and is expected to be completed this spring. Horseback riders use an "on your honor" system for parking in a designated area behind the Cottage House, she said.

In addition, the commission is in the process of adding wheelchair access and reconstructing the worn reddish bricks on the patio by the Cottage House.

Years of use have caused wear and tear on the bricks and commissioners said they are working to level the bricks out, for safety purposes. The patio is expected to be fully reconstructed by the end of the month.

While discussing improvements for Hap Magee, commissioners have also recently brought up the idea of constructing a shade area for the park.

"We are looking at options for shade because the area doesn't naturally have trees and it can get very hot in the summer," Somers said.

The Danville Parks and Leisure Service Commission will further discuss improvements at its next meeting Feb. 14. Commissioners meet at 7 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month in the Town Meeting Hall on Front Street.

Contact Natalie O'Neill at noneill@danvilleweekly.com


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