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One man secured PV park

Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley is a wonderful asset for Nevada County, but few people know that this park would not exist today if it had not been for the determination and dedication of one man, Gene Hatton, who stepped in at the 11th hour before both the land and the money to develop the park reverted back to the donor, Boise Cascade.

Gene rallied the voters to create a park district. Later he raised funds and got matching grants and enlisted volunteers to help build the park. There were many other people who contributed their time and energy, but without Gene’s initial actions Gateway Park would not have become a reality.



As a condition of building Lake Wildwood, Boise Cascade, the developer, agreed to donate land and build a park for the community. However, county officials elected instead to accept the land and put the construction money in trust, with the provision that everything would revert back to Boise in five years if construction was not begun. The county took no further action, and the time had nearly expired when Mr. Hatton stepped in and saved the dream. He invested many years of volunteer work in this project, but few people are aware of his contribution.

Gene Hatton is now in his 90s. How nice it would be if a ball field, play area or pavilion could bear his name. He certainly earned that recognition.




Janet Cooper

Nevada City


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