Turlock City Council to vote Tuesday on skate park

mrowland@modbee.comAugust 11, 2013 

    alternate textMarijke Rowland
    Title: Arts & Entertainment Writer
    Coverage areas: Fine arts, pop culture and other entertainment throughout the Central Valley and foothills.
    Bio: Marijke Rowland has been a reporter at The Bee for 15 years. She grew up in the Midwest and has a degree in journalism from Indiana University. She has covered several beats at The Bee from education to entertainment to employment.
    Recent stories written by Marijke
    On Twitter: @marijkerowland
    E-mail: mrowland@modbee.com

— Skaters should know after Tuesday night where they'll call home.

The Turlock City Council will consider whether to relocate Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to Donnelly Park.

The skate park at 250 Starr Ave. must be moved because the Turlock Police Department property where it currently sits is being sold to the Turlock Irrigation District.

In July, the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Programs Commission voted unanimously to recommend the relocation. About a dozen community members attended the meeting, with most in favor of the move, though some had lingering concerns about traffic and safety.

Opened in 2004, the skate park is a popular destination for the city's skateboarders and bikers. Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder said the department plans to update and improve the park at its new location in the 40-acre park along Hawkeye Avenue.

Van Guilder said Donnelly was chosen because it was the only community park with adequate space and amenities such as parking, playgrounds and restrooms to accommodate the feature. The skate park would be in the park's southwest quadrant on an open peninsula area jutting into the pond.

Van Guilder said the move to Turlock's largest community park was on track despite two high-profile crimes there last month.

On July 5, authorities say a 43-year-old woman running in the park was grabbed from behind and carried to a secluded area. A juvenile was arrested shortly after on suspicion of kidnapping and kidnapping with the intent to commit rape.

Then, according to authorities, a 52-year-old man cut his former girlfriend's throat in the park on July 29. He was arrested and charged with attempted homicide, criminal threats and domestic battery.

If approved by the council, the Starr Avenue site would close in November. The plan is to have the new skate park open in Donnelly Park by April 2014.

The city has budgeted $240,000 to relocate, redesign and rebuild the skate park, which would be funded by the sale of the old police headquarters property. The Turlock Police Department and fire administration will move to the new downtown Turlock Public Safety Facility in September.

A design committee was formed at the July park commission meeting to work on the plans for the new park. The committee includes commissioner Brent Bohlender, parks staff and 10 community members.

As part of the move, officials are looking into creating a replacement park in the Starr Avenue vicinity. The city is required to replace the existing park with an equivalent amount of open space in that neighborhood as part of its ongoing parks inventory plan. The cost of the new park, and how it will be funded, have not been determined.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.

Modesto Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service