DANVILLE — A run-down house on Danville’s condemned list will be spared the wrecking ball, courtesy its most famous former resident.
Sunday, an excited Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer shared the news in an e-mail: the two-story home that Dick Van Dyke spent his early childhood in will soon house the “Dandy Vandy” Dick Van Dyke Foundation center.
The house, at 930 North Hazel Street — roughly a block northwest of Danville High, where brothers Dick and Jerry Van Dyke went to school — had deteriorated since 2011, when its last owner died, according to city officials. Via social media, word of its demise made it to Malibu, Calif., where the 89-year-old star of “Mary Poppins” and “Bye Bye Birdie” now lives.
“Happy memories drifting around in there,” Dick Van Dyke tweeted in late June. “Would someone grab a picture for me?”
It will soon look a lot different than it does now. Organizers envision the North Hazel St. property blossoming into a museum with “inspiring garden spaces (that) will include sculptures and vegetation symbolic to the experience of a young Dick Van Dyke.”
Todd Regan, who last year led the restoration of Walt Disney’s birthplace in Chicago’s Hermosa neighborhood, will be brought in to help in Danville, said Lance Kirkland, president of the Dick Van Dyke Foundation.
“The foundation hopes to quickly expand its reach to provide support to young singers, dancers and actors across the country,” said Kirkland, adding that plans include a series of local community events, fundraisers and “Dandy Vandy Days.”