The Contra Costa County Superior Court on March 16, 2012 invalidated an option agreement that would have allowed a private party to take title to about 16 acres known as the Borel walnut orchard, land intended for an agricultural park in Danville. The property is a key part of a significant bequest to the East Bay Regional Park District by longtime resident and grower Armand Borel who passed away in 2009. As a result of the ruling, the Park District is one big step closer to receiving this property in Danville, which will be preserved and maintained as an “agricultural park” for the enjoyment and education of the public.
The Park District intends to preserve and interpret the vintage structures and historic orchards in the context of an agricultural park that could be operated over the long term as a local historic resource. In order to assure necessary clean up, restoration and public access, a portion of the land is likely to be sold to fund these initial improvements and provide ongoing revenue for the park’s operation for decades to come, according to District Counsel Ted Radosevich. Some of the proceeds from any sale will be to cover other pre-existing obligations and expense arising from the estate.
East Bay Regional Park District Board Member Beverly Lane said, “I am so pleased the court made this decision which will ultimately allow the Armand Borel property to be transferred to the EBRPD. And I think Mr. Borel would be happy to see his ranch in the hands of an agency which will honor the wishes he expressed in his will, and preserve some of rapidly disappearing agricultural heritage in the San Ramon Valley.
“This historic agricultural park will probably focus on walnut growing and processing and offer school programs and a picnic area, when the park plans are complete. It is only a few blocks from the Iron Horse Regional Trail, so trail users might visit the park as well for a brief glimpse into our shared history.”
The East Bay Regional Park District has extensive experience in land management and interpretation of local historic resources, and is uniquely qualified to fulfill Mr. Borel’s wishes. The EBRPD is an award-winning public agency with over 75 years of history preserving and protecting local historic resources in the East Bay. More is at www.ebrpd.org.