The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

March 24, 2014

Zamboni Park earns spot in photo book

DANVILLE — With hundreds of trees, shrubs and perennials, Bill Zamboni works almost daily at the park named for him.

Whether it’s shoveling snow, mowing grass, watering or fertilizing, he’s busy at the park. whic he can see from his kitchen window. “I just go out the steps and right to it.”

“There are people there all year long taking pictures for proms, weddings and baby pictures,” he said.

Photographs of the park and other images of Montour County are included in a two-page spread in the hardbound book “Small Town Pennsylvania.” It is the first book of photos by Dennis Wolfe, published about a year ago.

The captions under the pictures of the park describe Zamboni Park as being “immaculately maintained” and overlooking the north branch of the Susquehanna River.

There are other photos of the nearby River Front Park, prom goers on Mill Street, a view from Riverside overlooking the Danville-Riverside Bridge to Danville, Liberty-Valley Intermediate School scarecrows, the bridge tunnel with the home of Barbara Walzer in the background and an image of a Geisinger Medical Center shuttle stop.

Zamboni read an article recently about the park included in the book and he and his wife Diane bought a copy.

Wolfe recently published a second book, “Life in the Keystone State,” with some images of Danville, including the Iron Heritage Festival and Spanish American War Monument. “I managed to get a lot of Bloomsburg in there and a lot of Knoebels in the second one,” said Wolfe, of Northumberland, who is retired from teaching science and chemistry at Columbia-Montour Area Vocational-Technical School.  

About five years ago, Zamboni Park received an award from the Philadelphia Horticulture Society. “They came here again last year,” he said. Zamboni said someone nominated the park for the award but he didn’t know who.

Montour County’s commissioners recently praised Zamboni for his work in the park, which is about 200 feet by 50 feet at the entrance to Danville from the Danville-Riverside Bridge.

“He takes great pride in being responsible for the park,” Commissioners’ Vice Chairman Jack Gerst said of Zamboni whom he has known for at least 30 years.

“I’ve seen him out there late at night working. He knocks snow off the bushes. Everyone in the county appreciates him for our great entranceway to Danville,” Gerst said.

Commissioner Jerry Ward said Zamboni is “the best of the best.”

“That whole corner is a beauty as you come off the bridge and see the mural. It was an eyesore down there,” he said.

“He does a tremendous job,” Commissioners’ Chairman Trevor Finn said.

It was eight years ago when Zamboni received permission from the county commissioners to create the park on county land. “I started with a couple of volunteers. We received monetary donations. The first year, we had 12 helpers and a couple thousand dollars,” he said.

Brookside Nursery has helped out through the years and has donated plants for the park as well as the Montgomery House Museum grounds which Zamboni also maintains.

Volunteers started at the top of the hill and worked their way around to fill the area with plants, raised beds and walkways.

The park contains 130 shrubs and trees along with perennials including tulips.

“I have to trim the ornamental shrubs three times a year and I trim every tree and every bush. They are always shaped,” said Zamboni who has been into gardening since he was a child.

Many of the trees flower into red and white with others producing berries.  

The park contains five benches from Memorial Park that he refurbished.

Besides the Zamboni Park sign, there is a lighted sign welcoming people to Danville in the park.

During the holiday season, he strung lights on the trees and shrubs and added two Christmas trees. “I put them up the day after Thanksgiving and took them down the day after Russian Christmas,” said Zamboni who is retired from Danville State Hospital.

When it gets warmer, he will start cleaning up the park.

“I mow every three days. It takes an hour and 10 minutes to mow every time around the beds. It’s a nice workout,” he said.

He accepts donations for the park and has records of everything given, whether it is monetary or plants, since its creation.

The last tree he added was in 2013. It was a donation from the garden club.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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