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Council approves skate park move to Donnelly

Council approves skate park move to Donnelly

The Turlock City Council voted to move the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park to Donnelly Park, but the move date has yet to be determined because of funding issues.

POSTED August 13, 2013 10:09 p.m.

The Turlock City Council voted to approve the relocation of the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park Tuesday night from its current location on 900 North Palm to its new location at Donnelly Park.


The decision to make the move came after the city’s pending sale of the current skate park parcel to Turlock Irrigation District. Initially, the news of the sale was met with public outcry, as community members were concerned that the move would require the city to rename the park to something other than Brandon Koch, a community skateboarder whom the park was named after.


However, their concerns were erased as Parks and Recreation Manager Allison Van Guilder assured the concerned family members and friends that the park would still be dedicated to Koch.


Van Guilder also stated the move to Donnelly Park brings the new park more in line with the city’s general plan and would also offer amenities that would further enhance the park’s overall family experience.


At a July 10 public forum regarding the move, a community design committee was elected to oversee the $240,000 project.


 “The park will be closer to restroom facilities, parking, a covered picnic area as well as the playground,” said Van Guilder. “So the concept being if you have a family with various ages you could realistically have the younger ones at the playground and the older ones at the skate park and be able to keep an eye on them simultaneously.”


Although the community members seemed to be okay with the move, the decision to move it specifically to Donnelly Park has sparked its own set of concerns.


At least four community members spoke at Tuesday night's council meeting in opposition to the move to Donnelly Park. One of those members was Rachel Kenny, a community member who although approves of the building of a new park, did not agree with its new location.


“We did recommend to move the skate park and that TID needed it, we did not want Donnelly though,” Kenny said.


Kenny cited the possible concern for safety issues, limited bathroom use, lack of amenities, and risk of waterfowl. Instead, Kenny opted the park be moved to the Sunnyview Park on Berkeley Avenue. She stated that the new area also has a playground, adequate fencing and is safer than Donnelly Park. 


“This is a good place to look at,” said Kenny. “We did approve of a skate park but we don’t like Donnelly.”


Turlock resident Zach Wagner, echoed Kenny’s disapproval of moving the skate park to Donnelly, saying that the proximity of a play place to a skate park poses a potential safety hazard.


“When you involve little children next to skate parks they tend to assume they’re slides,” said Wagner. “Throughout the years of going to the Turlock park I’ve seen babies get hit with skateboards.


However, despite the concerns, Van Guilder stated that the decision to move to Donnelly is the best option for Turlock and that prior to making the decision, city officials did indeed look at other possible locations. 


Although the park has been approved by the council, community members should not expect groundbreaking just quite yet. According to City Manager Roy Wasden, due to some issues in finding state park funding for the new park, a concrete timeline has yet to be determined.


“The construction of the skate park uses state park funding, which is the reason we have to work with the state park commission.”


Wasden also affirmed that the current park will continue to remain open until the details for building the new park have been set in stone.


“Our intent would be to keep the current park operational until we need to move the elements to begin construction.”

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