Garfield Park vision becoming clearer

Mar. 19—DANVILLE — Danville Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said the vision of a wide-open Garfield Park is coming into view with the final house demolition being completed.

The final house along Griffin Street was demolished last week, with debris being cleared out and the site cleaned up on Monday.

Once Dines Machine Shop moves, that structure also will be demolished.

Williams said the large mounds of dirt still at the park likely will remain for awhile, probably even after the renovated pool is expected to reopen in May.

City Engineer Sam Cole said they retooled the park project to an estimated $1.2 million in improvements when bids came in at over $2 million.

The city didn't receive a state Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant for park improvements. The Danville City Council on Tuesday will consider reallocating at least $170,000 in additional American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the project, with funding already allocated for the pool.

Cole said with the funding, they expect to get drainage improvements done, site grading, reseeding, the football field moved, and hopefully a substantial part of the concrete and sidewalks completed. It may not fund all the fencing or the playground equipment the city wants to put in.

Cole said they hopefully will chip away at the additional costs with other grants and funding sources through the years.

"We're advancing the project in a way that, you know, makes sense and will keep us toward the finish line," Cole said.

City Comptroller Ashlyn Massey added that the city has applied for a couple-hundred-thousand-dollar private foundation grant for park playground equipment.

The Boys & Girls Club also will be expanding at the park, with funding from the Golden Nugget Danville Casino.

Cole said the pool construction has been making great progress with the nice weather.

He said they remain nervous about it, but still feel they'll meet the Memorial Day weekend deadline.

"It's going to be a very interesting April and May getting that closed out," Cole said.