Turlock’s Centennial Park might soon be the newest hangout place for local dog lovers, as the Turlock Parks and Recreation Commission voted to recommend the construction of a new dog park at the facility.
The new dog park will come as the result of a $35,000 donation to the City from the Swanson family, owners of the local Pet Extreme at Monte Vista Crossings.
Alongside the dog park, however, the family requested that the City rename the park to include the family name, a request that did not originally sit well with some of the commissioners.
The original proposal came in August, when the Swanson family requested to have the park renamed to “Swanson Park” in light of their $35,000 donation for the construction of a new dog park at the location. This request was denied by the Parks and Recreation commission, as many commissioners believed that the park should keep “Centennial” in the name to commemorate the City’s 100 years of history.
After considering the commission’s comments, the Swanson family returned to the commission with the same request and donation, but this time with a name change to “Swanson Centennial Park.”
While commissioners appreciated the fact that the family had kept the “Centennial” aspect in the name change, Commissioner Bella Daniel expressed concerns about changing the name of the park as many community members donated their time and effort during its original construction.
“This is a community park that lots of people donated to,” said Daniel. “If it was a new park, I’d be open to this. But to rename an existing park is different. With all the efforts from the community members who helped to establish it and make it happen, it seems kind of disrespectful to them. I have nothing against the family; it’s just that it’s already established as Turlock Centennial Park, not Swanson Centennial Park. We need to be fair with everyone in our community.”
Taking Daniel’s concerns into consideration, Commissioner Jeremy Rocha offered a compromise to add a hyphen between the two names, putting the word “Centennial” before “Swanson”.
“I think putting a hyphen between the names will keep everyone who helped recognized,” said Rocha. “If the Swanson family is okay with that, I think we should move forward with this.”
While members of the Swanson family were not present at the meeting, their representative Eric Gonsalves said that he believed the family was more interested in getting the dog park built than whether or not the name was hyphenated.
“If this is the option that makes everyone comfortable, I feel fairly certain that a small change in the wording would be fine with the family,” said Gonsalves. “They just want to see this moved forward and to have the dog park constructed.”
After some brief discussion on the matter, the commission decided to move forward with the project, recommending the City Council to accept the donation of $35,000 while renaming the park to “Centennial-Swanson Park.” Commissioner Daniel was the sole vote in opposition.
The matter will be passed on to the City Council in the near future, who will make the final decision on accepting the donation for a new dog park and the renaming.