There aren’t too many public places in Hercules where one can engage in an outdoor game of bocce ball.
In fact, since Market Hall's , there’s now just one.
And it's at Duck Pond Park, which will have its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. Residents are encouraged to view the ceremony, share a potluck lunch and enjoy the facility’s bocce ball courts, horse shoe pits, walking trails and trellis area. Councilman Dan Romero will also challenge event-goers to a horseshoe toss competition to benefit the .
“When the park was designed by the architect, we looked at all the surrounding parks and came up with unique things not available in the other parks,” said Hercules senior project manager Greg Dwyer. “Horse shoe pits and bocce ball courts were not there, so we wanted to incorporate those things into this park.”
The October ceremony represents the culmination of approximately 15 months of work. The city initially broke ground for the park in July of 2010 and finished construction last week.
According to Dwyer, the project was approved for $1.9 million and was completed at approximately $300,000 less. The park was largely funded by the Parks and Recreation Department’s development impact fees; Dwyer anticipates the remaining balance will go back into those funds.
In addition to furnishing picnic areas and walking trails that connect with existing trails from Refugio Valley Park, Duck Pond Park will feature a memorial tree area where residents can pay to assign their names to trees that were planted during the park’s creation.
According to Dwyer, Duck Pond Park was rumored to have been built on a man-made hill that was covered with over 100 Eucalyptus trees in an effort to provide a buffer for the dynamite company which the town of Hercules was originally built around.
Many Eucalypti incurred fired damage in the ensuing years, and had to be removed in order to build the park, which accounts for the recently planted trees—and the memorial tree growth.
“There’s not too many success stories in the city lately,” Dwyer said. “Hopefully this one people will really enjoy.”
The city had initially hoped to incorporate a dilapidated residence near the park as part of the new facility, and was looking to remodel it to serve as a neighborhood community center. Those plans were eventually derailed due to financial constraints.
A few zealous community members, however, have indicated that the park is just fine as is.
“I was there this morning and there were people walking through it,” Dwyer said. “I’m there every day and people say they love it, which is positive and encouraging. “