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Stadium remodel on council agenda

POSTED November 20, 2009 10:23 p.m.
The $2.8 million renovation of Turlock High School’s Joe Debely Stadium is chief on the list of priorities for Tuesday’s City Council meeting, as councilmembers will decide on three agenda items that would usher the project into reality.
The Turlock Redevelopment Agency adopted their 2009-2010 budget on July 23, which included $2.8 million of tax increment funding earmarked for the Debely project. The funding would provide for the design and construction of a new synthetic track and field.
Councilmembers, including Vice Mayor Ted Howze, have lauded the project as a creative use of narrowly designated RDA funds to create sales tax dollars, which enter Turlock’s free-reign General Fund budget. The Turlock Redevelopment Agency can only fund the project if four findings are made, however.
First, the improvement has to be found to be of benefit to the project area of the immediate neighborhood in which the project is located. Some residents near THS believe that the Joe Debely Stadium renovation might have the opposite effect, as increased noise and vehicle traffic could detrimentally impact the value of homes
The other findings that must be made require that no other reasonable means of financing the improvements are available to the City or District, that the payment of funds for the cost of improvements must assist in the elimination of one or more blighting conditions in the project area, and that the project must be consistent with the Implementation Plan. The Debely project was included in the 2010-2014 RDA Implementation Plan, adopted Nov. 10.
Should the Turlock City Council make those four findings, they will then decide whether to authorize City Manager Roy Wasden to enter into a funding agreement for the project between the Turlock Redevelopment Agency, the City of Turlock, and the Turlock Unified School District. Later in the evening, the council will reconvene as the Redevelopment Agency to authorize that same agreement from the redevelopment side of things.
The votes would clear the way for the project to proceed, despite some concern voiced by the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday that the total cost of the renovation could balloon to $3.4 million due to costs of complying with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The TUSD would be responsible for paying the additional $600,000 and any future ongoing costs under the agreement.
Despite their concerns over the costs, the TUSD did opt to move forward with the project on Tuesday, authorizing their architects to continue work.
The city will also look to accept a $100,000 federal Supplemental Law Enforcement Services Fund grant for front line law enforcement. That money would go to hire one full-time dispatcher and one full-time firefighter.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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