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Bocce ball court debate continues

POSTED March 15, 2013 8:36 p.m.

Though Turlock Noon Rotary’s plan to construct two bocce ball courts in Crane Park was foiled last year, leader Mike Dini is not giving up on the project, and has already proposed new locations that he hopes will garner public support within the next couple weeks.

Residents near Crane Park said that the concept of a public bocce ball court was a great asset to the city, but many voiced their concerns on how the construction of the court would result in turning the residential area into a crowded community park.

“It is not a controversy about the project,” Dini said, “just the location. We can fix that. We are looking at what options appear to work at face value. Once we identified what would work, we wanted to make sure those sites were acceptable with the City.”

The Turlock Noon Rotary recently worked with the City of Turlock on a number of issues, including accessibility for disabled citizens. It is their belief that a bocce court should incorporate all demographics, and allows senior citizens, young children, and those physically disabled an equal opportunity to participate in park activities.

After further evaluation, the City and Turlock Noon Rotary picked three parks and five sites that would be well utilized and minimize the impact on trees and building constraints. Two proposed locations are still in effect for Crane Park, but the proposal also includes two sites at Bristol Park and one at Dale Pinkney Park.

The proposed layout is 65 feet long and 29 feet wide, and will include benches, a Rotary sign with posted rules, and possibly lighting fixtures with a perimeter fence.

In order to give the public an idea of the size of the court and where it would be placed, Turlock Noon Rotary is marking the potential layouts with lawn signs and inviting community members to voice their opinions by logging onto their Facebook page.

Despite the Rotary’s attempts to settle disputes, members of the community have already raised objections to the new potential site list.

“In our neighborhood, there is very little support for this project. This park is intensely used, and it is not a community park,” said Fred Bigler, a resident near Crane Park. “It has more than enough facilities for a neighborhood park. I would like to request that Crane Park be removed from consideration.”

Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Barney Gordon said that he received two e-mails from community members who were not in favor of placing the courts at Dale Pinkney Park, although he did commend their outreach efforts.

“We want to encourage discourse in a productive, responsible way,” said Dini.

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