Danville Express

Newsfront - November 2, 2007

More electricity for little park

Alamo adding outlet to ensure successful tree lighting

by Natalie O'Neill

The Alamo Parks and Recreation Committee wants more power. Electrical power, that is.

Without proper electricity, you can't have a tree lighting. And that's why the committee is upping the ante when it comes to outlets and available amps at Andrew H. Young Park.

"The outlet at the base of the tree right now is not sufficient to light it," said Marie-Jeanne Parsons, chairwoman of the committee.

A second electrical box, expected to cost about $2,000, will be put on the back cream-colored park wall, parallel to Danville Boulevard, in time for the lighting.

This helps secure the success of one of Alamo's biggest events and eliminate safety issues posed by existing electrical logistics.

"It hasn't always been adequate," said Hillary Heard, senior planner for Contra Costa County public works.

Since the tree is surrounded by a circular cement pathway, events that call for microphones, musical performances or lighting in other areas require electric chords to run across the walkway.

This is an accident waiting to happen, committee members say.

"It's a hazard," Parsons said. "Fixing it is long overdue to finalize the park."

When the park property was given over to the county by a developer, originally there was no electrical meter in place. Public works added an electrical outlet with the tree lighting in mind.

"We need the improvement now ... it's something the county should have thought about," Parsons said.

Like the old outlet, the new box will have a lock on it and is only accessible by county staff.

The small park, located across from Alamo Plaza on Jackson Way, is a great place to eat lunch and take a break from shopping, Parsons said. It's named after a well-loved Alamo civic leader who died in 2002.

The most recent budget reports show that about $17,900 was spent on maintenance of the park during the last fiscal year.

Committee members said they could not estimate how much the entire project would cost.

Being proactive with the project may help prevent more expensive liability issues in the future, committee members said.

"I think it's a good idea," Committee Member Nancy Dommes said.

The Alamo Tree Lighting, presented by the Alamo Merchant and Professional Association, will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2. It will include music performed by Alamo school groups, refreshments, Santa Claus and a chance to meet friends and neighbors. The Sheriff's Valley Station will also be collecting for its toy drive.

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