Doggone it! Turlock City Council to mull park's future

TURLOCK -- After almost two years of talk, the City Council will give a dog a home, or not, tonight.

Five possible locations for an off-leash dog park, where dogs can run without risk of traffic or trespassing, will go before the council. But not one is free of angry barking.

The city's Municipal Services Department, which is charged with finding a location, building and maintaining the park, is recommending fencing five acres of the 10-acre Sunnyview Park on South Berkeley Avenue. Of the five possible locations, it's the only site neighbors haven't protested, though some dog enthusiasts aren't backing the idea.

Sunnyview Park is larger than any of the other options and it has off-street parking, shade, water and fencing, said Municipal Services Director Dan Madden.

The city held community meetings about each location: Sunnyview, the storm basin off North Walnut Road at Duquesne Way, the storm basin at the intersection of Hawkeye Avenue and Quincy Road, the northeastern-most storm basin on East Zeering Road, and Summerfaire Park near the fairground.

"It's the same old story: I want a dog park, but not in my neighborhood," said Community Service Commissioner Gabriele Kinsella, who brought the idea forward more than a year ago.

Sunnyview Park "is in a very undesirable neighborhood. The whole idea of a dog park will be dead in the water," she said.

Kinsella worries that potential donors won't pay for a park in that part of town.

Turlock Police Sgt. Steve Williams said there are problem areas around the park, but the park itself is fine.

Dr. Rob Santos of Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital offered $10,000 toward the park, but said some of his patients have expressed concern. If Sunnyview is chosen, he's going watch before donating.

"The smart thing is to wait and see," he said.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. today at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.

Bee staff writer Michael R. Shea can be reached at mshea@modbee.com or 578-2391.