ALAMO -- After years of pining for more parks in their community, Alamo is in the midst of finalizing a land sale that will help it create a new mini-park next to Iron Horse Trail.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors in June unanimously approved the purchase of a 0.70-acre stretch of land that had been declared surplus property and was put up for sale by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.

The county's land division worked with the fire district to negotiate a $740,000 price for the land at 1193 Danville Blvd. It is at the intersection of Danville Boulevard and Hemme Avenue next to the trail. Currently the property is in escrow, with the county hoping the sale will close by July 11.

The Alamo Municipal Advisory Council voted unanimously in mid-March to recommend the county purchase the land by using a portion of the roughly $4 million available from R7-A District money, which is made up of parcel taxes collected from Alamo residents for parks and recreational maintenance, improvements and events.

Several years ago Alamo leaders looked high and low throughout the community and evaluated all the parcels that could potentially be used for a park, said David Barclay, chairman of the advisory council.

"We sent out letters but most were owned by private owners," he said. "There are very limited opportunities for sale of land for parks in Alamo."

"And so when this came up, we were very pleased that the (fire) district was willing to sell us the land and the county was willing to purchase it," he said. "The timing was right and it all worked out."

The only other parks that Alamo residents have currently are Livorna Park and Hap Magee Ranch Park, which is jointly owned by the county and Danville, as well a couple of mini-parks.

Since this land off of Hemme Avenue was owned by a public entity, its price tag was within the county's reach, since usually private owners of land want to sell their land for much more money, he said. Also a soils assessment was performed by a consultant, which deemed the land suitable for building a park.

Among some of the features that could be considered for the park are sbenches, a gazebo and a three-rail fence, or other features that would make it appealing for pedestrians and bicyclists as resting place off the Iron Horse Trail, he said.

It could also potentially house a restroom, a cyclists' fix-it station, or a small playground or even a senior exercise circuit there, said advisory committee member Susan Rock.

"There will be a public outreach process" that will involve the public to find out what the best uses for the land will be, he said. It would likely start with the first advisory council meeting in the fall on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m., which is usually held at the Alamo's Women's Club, 1401 Danville Blvd.

"It's a big win for our community. I definitely see it as great asset for users of the trail and for our residents," Rock said.

"We're very excited about it, and it's a great opportunity to have some amenities along the Iron Horse Trail," she added. "A lot of our residents use the trail for fitness, and it would a nice place for them to stop."

Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.

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