Turlock City Council to vote Tuesday on skate park

mrowland@modbee.comAugust 11, 2013 

  • ABOUT THE REPORTER
    alternate textMarijke Rowland
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— 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.

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