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Muralist prepares to lay down paint

The Old Town Portola Event Center Committee has been keeping busy, working toward the goal of creating an event center on Commercial Street adjacent to the Dickson Realty office building.

After a spark of an idea to renovate the vacant property, left barren after the bowling alley fire razed the original structure to the ground, concerned citizens decided that it was the perfect opportunity to put the space to a new purpose, in addition to beautifying the city.

The idea caught on, and the committee got to work, beginning the application for 501c3 status designation, which is now about 60 days into the process.

Fundraising efforts began, with Dickson Realty remaining a continued financial backer of the project, and thus far funds raised have reached $72,000 to date, with another $75,000 needed to complete the project, according to project coordinator Chris David.

The committee noted that any individual or company that wishes to contribute $1,000 or more would be appropriately recognized with their name displayed on the Event Center site.

The Event Center is planned to include a park-like setting with blazing autumn maple trees, multiple venue areas, stages and more, with murals planned to border the center. The murals will be painted by Rafael Blanco, with a five-panel mural inspired by the city of Portola’s long association with the railroad and railroading life.

The panels will feature depictions of renowned train engines, such as the WP 707, and a sixth mural panel is planned to take shape on the exterior of the Dickson Realty building, to create an overarching theme looking at the locomotives of the past.

Muralist Blanco is anticipated to start painting, weather permitting, Friday, Feb. 16, through Monday, Feb. 19, with hours running from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Event Center Committee invites the community to celebrate the project as well as watch Blanco start the work. In addition to a visual feast, the committee invites all attendees to enjoy food service, which will be made available, with seating areas to be provided.

For those wishing to be a part of the beautification of Old Town Portola, and the creation of the Old Town Portola Event Center, donations may be made payable to: Old Town Portola Event Center, P.O. Box 1143, Portola, California, 96122.

For more information, contact Berger Benson at [email protected].

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