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Sunnyside Farms donates playground equipment for Turlock park

POSTED April 15, 2011 10:37 p.m.

In celebration of Earth Day, the California Milk Processor Board and Sunnyside Farms, a local dairy product producer, are offering to donate a $40,000 recycled play structure to the City of Turlock.

“We just want to better the communities that we work with,” said Scott DeAraujo, director of sales and marketing for Sunnyside Farms brand.

The California Milk Processors Board sent a notice to all Northern California processors that they were willing to pitch in $20,000, roughly half of the cost of the playground equipment, as a donation to home towns and communities of their member dairies. Sunnyside Farms committed an additional $20,000 to the project.

“We volunteered to donate the $20,000 because we wanted to give something back to Turlock,” DeAraujo said.

Allison Van Guilder, manager of Turlock Parks and Recreation Division, said that when she received a call from DeAraujo regarding the donation she almost thought it was a prank call. Free playground equipment in a time of budget restraints is not a normal occurrence for Turlock Parks and Recreation.

“I almost thought it was a joke, it sounded too good to be true,” Van Guilder said.

The donation was for real, but it isn’t a sure thing yet. The Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Commission voted on Wednesday to accept the donation of the playground equipment, but the project needs approval from the City Council before the Turlock Parks and Recreation Division can accept the donation of the play structure.

Van Guilder said that if the City Council accepts the donation the intended site for the new equipment is Bristol Park. Commissioner Desiree Silva questioned the choice of parks at Wednesday’s meeting, and asked why the play structure couldn’t be placed in a park that doesn’t currently have playground equipment.

“Bristol Park is on our list of facilities that need replacements. There isn’t currently a funding source identified for that park,” Van Guilder said. 

The play equipment at Bristol Park is 17 years old, one of the oldest play structures in the city. Bristol Park is not in a low-income part of town and doesn’t qualify for some of the grant funding that other parks can receive to replace playground structures. 

The commission voted unanimously to accept the donation and to use it for Bristol Park.  The City Council will make their decision regarding the donation of new play equipment at their April 26 meeting.

“It’s a great opportunity, I’m amazed that this fell in our laps,” said Parks Commissioner Steven Nascimento.

To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.

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