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City seeks funds to add playground to Swanson Centennial Park
centennial park
Swanson Centennial Park features a dog play area and 100 trees, but no playground equipment. The City applied for a state grant to add more human-friendly amenities to the northeast park located on Countryside Drive. - photo by Journal file photo

Dogs may soon not be the only ones having fun at Swanson Centennial Park, as the City of Turlock is hoping to receive a grant to finally add playground equipment and exercise amenities for the park's human visitors.

The City recently requested a $125,000 grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation for Land and Water Conservation Fund to purchase and construct an outdoor playground and exercise amenity for the Countryside Drive park.

Centennial Park was developed in 2008, during Turlock's centennial celebration, and 100 trees were planted around the triangle-shaped park. The park's name was changed to Swanson Centennial Park  in 2013, following a donation of $35,000 by the Swanson Family and Pet Extreme to build a dog park at the site.

While the park is home to the city's second dog park, 100 trees and a centennial memorial plaque, it does not have one swing, slide or monkey bar for local children.

"This is the one park that is in need of equipment," said Carla McLaughlin, staff services technician for Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities.

For the residents living near Swanson Centennial park — or those visiting nearby shopping centers — there are very few park and recreation options. The closest park, other than Swanson Centennial,  for residents near Countryside Drive is Pedretti, but that lies west of Highway 99 and does not offer easy access to pedestrians or bicyclists.

McLaughlin said the City should find out if it was awarded the grant by the first part of June and at that time more details about the type of playground equipment and exercise amenities that could be constructed at the park will develop.

This is a matching grant and if the City is successful, the match will come from Fund 228, Park Development Tax.  When infill residential development occurs in areas that did not have a specified neighborhood park assigned, the Park Improvement Fee collected on the building permit is placed in the Neighborhood Park 10-20 account for miscellaneous park improvements.  There will be no general fund money used for this grant.