Fairytale Town, the venerable amusement park for young children in Sacramento’s William Land Park, will see its first expansion since the 1960s under a plan approved Tuesday by City Council members.
The half-acre expansion is part of a new operating lease the children’s amusement park is signing with the city.
The $6-million plan would extend the boundary of the popular attraction by about 40 to 50 feet, according to Fairytale Town Executive Director Kathy Fleming. It would include a new story center for literacy building, a play set and an expanded park bathroom.
The planned expansion has been a source of minor controversy over the last couple years, with concerns that the park would encroach into nearby soccer fields and a picnic area. But Land Park Community Association President Steve Winlock said Fairytale Town has been actively working with residents to address their concerns for about a year-and-a-half.
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“When we first approached the community association, we had one building for the ticket office and the story center, and it was large,” Fleming said. “We heard them well and clear that it was too big and too unwieldy, so we went back to the drawing board.”
The current conceptual plan would not interfere with recreational park space, Fleming said.
Still, Councilman Steve Hansen said some residents may take issue with the project.
“It’s a fairly benign proposal, but you can’t do anything in Land Park without people getting nervous about it,” said Hansen, whose district includes the park and surrounding neighborhood.
Former Land Park Community Association President Dale Claypool said in an interview that while the proposed elements may be beneficial, he is concerned that not enough details regarding the expansion’s impact on Land Park have been considered.
“There’s no real rush, so let’s wait until the information is available to all community groups and have the same basis of understanding before going forward,” Claypool said.
Claypool repeated his concerns at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
By and large, Fleming said she expects most neighbors will support the plans. The additions would stay true to the park’s theme. A planned story center, for example, might be modeled after the schoolhouse in the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme, she said.
The expansion is Fairytale Town’s first since the late 1960s, according to Fleming, with construction unlikely to begin until November 2018 at the earliest. The park currently serves about 250,000 visitors each year.
“It’s a blast, and adding more things to do there just make sense,” said Elk Grove resident Brandon Morgan, who takes his 3-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter to Fairytale Town two to three times a month. “We’ll keep going until they’re hitting those teenage years and they (say), ‘It’s too boring for us.’ ”