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Bocce ball debate

Crane Park neighbor calls plan ‘ill-conceived’

POSTED July 10, 2012 11:49 p.m.

Not all Turlockers are bowled over by the Turlock Noon Rotary’s plan to construct two bocce ball courts in Crane Park.

Fred Bigler, a resident of Turlock for more than 60 years who now lives on Yosemite Street, across from Crane Park, spoke out against the project during a Turlock City Council meeting Tuesday night.

“The concept of public bocce ball courts is a good one; they will be valuable to the recreational assets of the city,” Bigler said. “The idea of locating them at Crane Park is ill-conceived.”

The plan calls for two bocce ball courts to be constructed alongside Berkeley Avenue, each 65 feet in length. Benches would allow spectators to sit, while fencing would prevent children from running into the field of play and potentially becoming injured. The courts would be limited to daylight usage at first.

All costs, save for the land, would be paid for by the Turlock Noon Rotary.

But Bigler said the courts will use between 600 and 1,300 sq. ft. of Crane Park, displacing other uses in an already crowded park. And parking is difficult near the park, Bigler said, with some guests already blocking his driveway.

“There isn’t any room,” Bigler said. “Period.”

The concerns weren’t new to Vice Mayor Mary Jackson, who said she has heard similar comments before.

But the Turlock City Council were unable to discuss the bocce courts further Tuesday, as the plan was not scheduled for discussion on their agenda. The plan has one step left before reaching council for discussion and final approval: a public hearing, conducted by the Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission.

That public hearing, to discuss the future of the bocce ball courts, will take place at 6 p.m. today in Crane Park, area B.

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