The first in a series of improvements that would add a new parking lot and access road to the Price Historical Park in Pismo Beach were approved by the city this week, almost exactly a year after the park held a groundbreaking ceremony for the same project.
On Aug. 28, 2014, the Friends of Price House held a groundbreaking ceremony for its highly anticipated improvement project that would add a 10,000-square-foot parking lot, 2,500-square-foot all-weather fire lane access road, 900 feet of decorative fencing, 300 feet of new waterline and a fire hydrant to the 7-acre city park.
"We had volunteers lined up to the do the work last fall," museum curator and former Friends of Price House president Effie McDermott said this week. "But with the way municipal work and regulating can be, we eventually decided it would be easier to do it through the city instead."
On Tuesday, that project came before the city once again, and the City Council awarded a $239,774 construction contract to Atascadero-based Raminha Construction.
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"I'm glad we're at this point," Mayor Pro Tem Ed Waage said at the meeting. "It's been a long haul."
The contract marks nearly eight years of work by the Friends of Price House to update a master plan for the park, located off Highland Drive east of Highway 101 and the Pismo Beach Sports Complex, and make it more accessible to the public year round.
"It's a great historical site, and we're really happy to bringing it into the 21st century with the all-access road and parking lot," McDermott said, noting that the new road and lot will make it easier to hold tours year-round, rather than just when the dirt road is usable. Rains make the existing property very muddy, she said, which can be a problem for cars.
"It's going to transform the look of the park," she said. "It'll be a major indication of the development of the house site into a real park."
The Price Historical Park features the six-room home of John Michael Price and his wife, Andrea. John Price built the home in 1893, just before the couple's 50th wedding anniversary. Portions of the original adobe homes the Prices lived in before building the house remain on the property today. The park also features the 1905 home of Price's daughter, Mary Ann Meherin, which was moved there from Shell Beach in 2001.
The City Council approved a new master plan for the park in August 2013. It calls for a picnic grove, play area, creekside trail and gazebo, among other improvements. All of the improvements are expected to be completed in approximately 5 years, and will cost an estimated $600,000.
The city has not yet scheduled an official day for construction of the latest improvements, but McDermott said she is hopeful it will be before Sept. 19, when the group holds its annual open house ice cream social.