One of the most visited sites in Placerville is doing well, but they could use a little help. At the Placerville City Council meeting on March 25, the Gold Bug Park Development Committee presented a report on the park’s status and a check for $21,500 to City Council.
“We have an entirely new board,” said Beverly Disalvo, president of the GBP Development Committee.”We reorganized and we’re working on a lot of new things to bring the park to the public’s attention.”
Disalvo reviewed some of the accomplishments of the park in 2013, which include an increase in the park’s income from the mine tours and the gift shop to $180,000, the highest in a decade. Another $63,000 came from walk-ins, rentals and gold panning. The $21,500 check presented to the City Council was from sales at Hattie’s Gift Shop.
“As of the end of this March,” said Disalvo, “our receipts from the gift shop is showing a 20 percent increase over last year at this time.”
“Out of the $180,000 we made in 2013, $49,000 came from the guided tours given by our volunteers,” said Disalvo. “Without all of our volunteers, our park doesn’t run very well.”
Utilizing a grant from the El Dorado County Cultural and Community Development Department, the GBPDC spent $5,000 on audio wands for audio tours and updated the mine tours. They also created a special event on President’s Day that brought thousands of visitors to the park and held a blacksmith shop open house in October.
Disalvo spoke of an upcoming event on April 4 that will bring thousands of Gold Prospecting and Mining Journal 2014 Summit attendees to GBP, and working with a local Eagle Scout to build log benches for the park.
The extensive report on the status of the park listed five goals developed by the GBPDC: educating and enriching the community through a variety of educational programs and promotional activities; supporting a robust and supportive volunteer program; maintaining, improving, developing, funding and preserving the museum buildings, properties and collections; researching and publishing historic records and conducting activities in cooperation with the city of Placerville.
Many exciting events and additions are being planned to attract additional visitors to Gold Bug, including building traveling exhibits, adding three foreign languages to the audio wand tours, participation in the 2016 Gold Panning Championships, pre- and post-lesson plans for teachers and parents, historic signage, a possible Antique Road Show type of event and highway directional signs.
Guided tours of the park’s mines have been especially popular and helpful in increasing Gold Bug’s reputation and finances, both of which add to the city of Placerville’s finances and reputation as a destination for visitors. The park would like to increase the number of tours offered, but without more tour guides, it is limited.
“Our volunteers are wonderful. We estimate that we had 3,650 volunteer hours last year,” said Disalvo. “But we need more volunteers for tours.”
Those interested in volunteering for Gold Bug Mine Park as docents or in other capacities should contact Gold Bug Park Director Frank Jacobi at 530-642-5207 or e-mail him at [email protected]
Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or [email protected] Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.