More to come in March

Residents curious about the master plan and final look of Idypark in the center of town will have to wait until March for a more complete picture of the park’s ultimate design.

Shane Stewart, who is overseeing the property’s transition from restaurant site to public park, said basic infrastructure, such as sidewalks near The Fort, is being built and a complete picture of what the park will look like will come later.

“We’re pretty tight-lipped about it at this point,” he said. He suggested the park plan would be available for publication in March.

Residents seem uniformly supportive of the return of the town center to a public park. The low stone walls and towering sequoias are what remain of the original Eleanor Park, named after Gerald “Jerry” Johnson’s wife Eleanor (Poates), grandmother of Jay and Steve Johnson. It was Jay and Steve’s father Jimmy who built the original restaurant, the Tax Shelter in Eleanor Park, thereby beginning a commercialization of the site that grew to become Jo’An’s Restaurant which, with its often loud outdoor music, became a source of controversy in town.

That commercial legacy was ended by the purchase of the property by Dave and Loie Butterfield in October 2017 and their decision to return it to a tranquil and beautiful public park.

The crew has constructed a new sidewalk and curb along the Park Lane side of Idypark. Photo by Steven King