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Long awaited park opens in Hughson

Long awaited park opens in Hughson

Andrew Fontana Memorial Park features a net climbing structure, engineered to force children to use their muscles and fight obesity.


POSTED April 8, 2011 9:23 p.m.

After more than three  years in the making, the City of Hughson on Wednesday opened the new, 2.04 acre Andrew Fontana Memorial Park, the city’s first new park since 2002, and third park overall.

“This is the culmination of the hard work and great ideas that everyone came up with,” said Hughson City Councilman George Carr, who served on the Hughson Parks and Recreation Commission when the park was conceived in 2007.

The park, designed with the aid of two public workshops, includes numerous innovative features, including a net-climbing structure which addresses the growing problem of childhood obesity through its design, which does not allow a child to be on it without using his or her muscles. The park is also the first in Hughson to include pet waste stations.

The park looks to be green – even more so than the usual park – with 100 percent recycled plastic benches and picnic tables and enough trees to provide a day’s supply of oxygen for 240 people.

Additionally, the park includes shade kites, popular at Hughson’s Roland Starn Memorial Park, four barbecue areas and two horseshoe pits which meet National Horseshoe Pitchers Association of America Standards. Unlike Starn Park, the barbecue areas will be first come, first served, and will not be available for reservations.

The park is on Thomas Taylor Drive, just south of Fox Road and immediately to the north of a vacant field which the Hughson Unified School District expects to convert into soccer and baseball fields. A new sidewalk along the south side of Fontana Park will bring the two developments together, upon completion of the sporting fields.

The long in development project started in 2007 with planning, and in December 2007 the City of Hughson received construction bids on the park. At that time, all bids were rejected due to budgetary reasons. The city then scaled down the project to its current size, and in September 2008, turf, irrigation and trees were installed for $115,306.

So the park sat until 2010, when the Hughson City Council transferred 2002 Bond Act Grant funds from the proposed purchase of LeBright Fields to develop Andrew Fontana Park. In December, a $179,445 bid was awarded to construct the project, which was completed in March.

The park, named after long-time Hughson resident Andrew Fontana, who previously farmed the land the park sits on, will provide long-term enjoyment to the people of Hughson, Carr said.

“I hope the city of Hughson enjoys this park,” Carr said. “I know they will.”

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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