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June 24, 2013

Turlock Now: Skate Park might move to Donnelly Park

Turlock Skate Park set to move as city sells properties to TID.

Water, geese and skateboards could soon be sharing space together in Donnelly Park.

The City of Turlock is in discussion to relocate the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to a new site in the 40-acre park along Hawkeye Avenue. The possible move from its current home on Starr Avenue comes as the city is in talks to sell the properties where both the skate park and War Memorial are housed to the Turlock Irrigation District.

The city and TID have been in closed session meetings in the past several months about the potential sale of the two adjacent sites. The negotiations became public at the Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Programs Commission meeting last week.

Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Public Facilities Manager Allison Van Guilder said the city is selling the two properties because of construction of the new Public Safety Facility project.

TID spokesman Herb Smart said the utility company was in negotiations with the city, but it “would not be prudent to discuss potential plans at this time.”

Now, in preparation for the sale, the city wants community feedback on moving the skate park to a new home in Donnelly Park. The relocation will be up for public comment at the next commission meeting at 6 p.m. July 10 at City Hall.

A new, more modern skate park would be constructed on the site which would be at least the same size of the existing park at 250 Starr Ave. The skate area would be centrally located in Donnelly Park, near a playground, parking lot and restrooms. Van Guilder said the location was the most “viable” and would not displace any existing amenities.

Donnelly Park — which is bordered by Hawkeye Avenue, Pedras Road, Dels Lane and Donnelly Park Drive — is also close to the Regional Transit Center.

“We want to get some feedback from community on this potential new home for the skate park,” Van Guilder said. “Our hope would be it would move very quickly if (the sale) is approved. We want to get a jump on it in terms of getting the public process in place.”

Depending on how public comment goes, the commission could vote on whether to recommend the new site for the skate park during the same July 10 meeting. If approved, the Turlock City Council would then have the final say on the plans. Van Guilder said the earliest it could be placed on the council agenda would be for its August 13 meeting.

The existing skate park, which was renamed the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park this April in honor of a Turlock skateboarder who passed away from cancer, was opened in 2004. Van Guilder said designs for the new park would be more free-flowing and follow the landscape, instead of its current square layout.

She did not have numbers on how many skaters use the current skate park, but said it us a very popular amenity and they are committed to creating something “users are happy with and city can be proud of.”

Van Wilder said she was not sure what kind of public comment the proposed relocation would garner. Last month plans for a Rotary Club of Turlock-donated bocce court in a city park were dropped due to public complaints. A suitable home for the bocce court could not be found after residents protested the added traffic and congestion it could bring.

Turlock residents and Donnelly Park neighbors who cannot attend the July 10 meeting to discuss the skate park can still give feedback on the project. Comments must be submitted in writing to the City of Turlock, Attn: Carla McLaughlin, 144 S. Broadway, Turlock, CA 95380 or e-mail

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