The Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Program Commission is actively reviewing possible locations for a second dog park in Turlock. Although there are no funds currently available for the construction of a new dog park, the commission is researching the possibility of including dog parks in the Parks Master Plan and General Plan update for all future parks in Turlock.
Sunnyview was eventually chosen to be Turlock’s first dog park because it had the space and amenities needed to support increased traffic due to a dog park activities. The existing Sunnyview dog park opened in 2008 to both fanfare and neighborhood opposition. Several community meetings were held to discuss a location for the original dog park, and concerned citizens vetoed several possible locations over concerns about public nuisance, unleashed dogs, and noise complaints.
There have been no reported major incidents at the Sunnyview dog park since it opened. Turlock residents Kristi Alameda and Lee Randolph walk their dog “Posy” to the dog park whenever they get the chance. Alameda said that she has never had any problems in the park, and that everyone polices their dogs pretty well. Randolph said that the addition of the dog park brought a lot more people to Sunnyview park, which possibly makes it safer.
“I think it’s a very positive thing. This park is not in the best neighborhood, so it’s a good thing to have more people coming and going during the day,” Randolph said.
After more than two years of use the popularity of the dog park has prompted the Parks Commission to request that city staff research locations for a new park in Turlock. Specifically, they considered the feasibility of adding a dog park to the Walnut basin.
Allison Van Guilder, interim manager of Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities division, updated the council on the Walnut basin location at the Parks Commission meeting on Wednesday night.
“Much of the success (of the Sunnyview dog park) is attributed to the fact that this location offered many complimentary features, including restrooms and adequate parking,” Van Guilder wrote in her report.
The Walnut basin is not designated as a neighborhood park, and is first and foremost a storm basin. The only open area of the park big enough for an off-leash dog park is the corner of Christoffersen Parkway and Walnut Avenue, directly behind the lift station. If the basin were used for storing water, the area behind the lift station would be the first to flood. There are also no bathrooms at Walnut basin, or designated parking areas. Turlock Unified School District officials also raised concerns that a dog park next to Walnut Elementary School would distract students during the day.
“It’s probably not the ideal location for a dog park,” Van Guilder said.
Staff suggested that the Commission consider adding dog parks to the updated Parks Master Plan and to the Turlock General Plan update. This would include dog park plans in all future Turlock parks, which would avoid the need for adding dog parks to existing parks without the proper amenities.
“That’s a very clean way to avoid some of the issues we’ve heard in public hearings,” Van Guilder said.
Commissioners Steven Nascimento and Richard Salinas formed an ad hoc committee to research future dog parks in Turlock.
Parks Commission welcomes new member
The Turlock Parks, Recreation and Community Program Commission welcomed its newest member on Wednesday. Andrew Davoodian took the commission spot recently vacated by Brent Bohlender, who finally hit term limits after 22 years on the Parks Commission. Davoodian grew up in Turlock and graduated from Turlock Christian High School. He is currently in his last semester at UC Berkeley, majoring in integrated biology with an emphasis on human biology. He said that it will take some careful planning to balance his school work with his Parks Commission duties, but that he has worked his school and commuting schedule accordingly.
“I don’t want to shorthand any of my duties. I think it is important to prioritize,” Davoodian said.
Davoodian joined the Parks Commission because he wanted to give back to his home town. He wants to bridge the gap between the commissioners who plan Turlock recreation programs and the youth who participate in the activities. Davoodian wants to be involved in community service and possibly politics, and this seemed like a good way to get his feet wet.
“I’m going in with open ears and ready to absorb,” Davoodian said.
Turlock Mayor John Lazar said that joining a public commission is a good way for young adults to experience public service and get an idea of whether they want to pursue a future in politics. He encouraged Davoodian to join the Parks Commission because of his past community service in the Turlock area.
“I just think that he was a good fit. He has a passion to serve,” Lazar said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.