Joe Debely Lawsuit Timeline
· Dec. 24, 2009: A group of stadium neighbors called the Turlock Citizens Coalition files a lawsuit targeting individual TUSD trustees and Turlock City Council members. The original lawsuit stated that the renovations were an illegal use of Redevelopment Agency funding.
· March 2010: The Stanislaus County Superior Court ruled that the city acted properly in allocating $2.8 million of RDA funds to install a new synthetic turf track and all-weather field at the 60-year-old stadium.
· March 19: An amended lawsuit was filed that drops the individual City Council members from the lawsuit. The new lawsuit argues that the renovated track and field will increase usage of the stadium, resulting in environmentally deleterious conditions to the surrounding neighborhoods.
Months of construction, a hefty lawsuit and some upset neighbors made the renovations at Joe Debely Stadium a little more difficult to accomplish, but the work is done and the new placed track and artificial field is open for business.
And to start off the season with a bang, the stadium will open up with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. Community members and neighbors are all welcome to attend.
“It will be a nice celebration,” said Ed Felt, Turlock Unified School District deputy superintendent. “It is short and sweet.”
Gates will open up at 6 p.m. where guests can view the new artificial turf, synthetic track, and even get a taste of stadium food. The stadium is located at Turlock High School on the corner of Colorado Avenue and E. Marshall Street.
The Turlock High and Pitman High Booster Clubs will be selling the All-American hot dog dinner for $1 that contains a hot dog, chips and a soda.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Guests are encouraged to sit on the home side as the ceremony will be taking place at the 50-yard line.
TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto and TUSD Board of Trustees President Frank Lima will speak at the ceremony.
There will also be a surprise at the ceremony, Felt said.
Turlock High and Pitman High fall sports will be present to support and celebrate their new stadium as well.
As of Aug. 18, some finishing touches were being worked on, including some last-minute painting of the score board and ticket booth.
The snack bar on the visitor’s side was pulled out and will be replaced with a portable snack bar for this school year, Felt said. The district plans to build a new snack bar for the visitor side next year.
The first football game for the 2010/2011 season will be on Aug. 27 where Pitman High will take on Modesto High on the new artificial turf.
Even though the stadium is now complete and football is underway, there is still a lawsuit in the works that aims to reduce the use of the stadium and make TUSD do a new Environmental Impact Report.
The original lawsuit was filed by a group of Joe Debely neighbors called the Turlock Citizens Coalition who are concerned with increased usage of the stadium and the potential damage to the surrounding neighborhoods.
The first lawsuit was filed on Dec. 24, 2009 targeting individual trustees on the TUSD Board of Trustees, Turlock City Council members and other parties involved. The original lawsuit stated that the renovations were an illegal use of Redevelopment Agency funding.
In March the Stanislaus County Superior Court ruled that the city acted properly in allocating $2.8 million of RDA funds to install a new synthetic turf track and all-weather field at the 60-year-old stadium.
An amended lawsuit was filed on March 19 that drops the individual city council members from the lawsuit. The new lawsuit argues that the renovated track and field will increase usage of the stadium, resulting in environmentally deleterious conditions to the surrounding neighborhoods, said Turlock Citizens Coalition Attorney Richard Harriman.
A trial date has yet to be set by the court.
The TUSD and the Turlock Citizens Coalition have been working together on the usage agreement for the stadium, Felt said. A draft of the usage agreement was presented to the Board of Trustees at their Aug. 17 meeting where it was approved.
The approved Joe Debely Stadium Facility Rules and Use Agreement states that the times for usage will run from 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Events will not start before 8 a.m. and can only end after 9 p.m. if TUSD grants permission to do so.One of the major concerns with the new renovations was the increased noise volume. Felt stated at the Board of Trustees meeting that the PA system is now locked at a certain volume level where all music used on the system must be previously approved through TUSD. To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.