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Parks and Rec talks dog park, teen center
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Jeni Crocker of Ceres and her canine companions Ruby, Sammy and Brooklyn check out the Turlock Dog Park grand opening event at Sunnyview Park in September 2008. The Parks, Recreation and Community Commission are looking into opening a second dog park in the city. - photo by Journal file photo
Turlock’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission set to work drafting a set of goals for the coming year on Wednesday, floating hopes of a new dog park, better marketing for programs, a new youth center, and even a nine-hole golf course – admittedly a pipe dream.But first, commissioners said, they want to take a look at existing programs.“What programs are working? Do we need them? How can we change them?” asked Commissioner Desiree Silva. “… With that understanding, we’re trying to get an idea of what we can do best as a commission with the programs that are available now.”While the Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Maintenance division already went through programs with a fine-toothed comb during the last budget cycle to ensure the division is profitable, the commissioners hope to find a few areas worth growing – and maybe an area or two to shrink.  Allison Van Guilder, interim division manager of Parks, Recreation, and Facilities Maintenance, will provide an overview of all summer programs, fundraising, and existing funds and events at the next, Sept. 8 Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission meeting to allow commissioners to begin reviewing the program plan.At Silva’s suggestion, the commission will also take up the issue of better spreading the word about Turlock’s parks and recreation programs. Such efforts have been hampered by the lack of funding in recent years, particularly with regards to the recreation program guide, which was once distributed in newspapers but is now only handed out at local schools and at city offices.“How do we market the fantastic and beautiful parks we have in the area?” Silva asked.In terms of realistic, short-term goals for large projects, most commissioners were onboard with the idea of building a second dog park in Turlock, despite the public outcry last year opposing proposed locations on Taylor Road, Hawkeye Avenue, and Soderquist Road. The commission will look at developing a privately funded dog park, possibly in a Christoffersen Parkway storm basin.A proposed youth center has long been a Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission project, but without attached funding has been more of a distant goal. Commissioners were enthused about the new possibility of federal funding for a youth center, and rededicated themselves to preparing a shovel-ready plan to entice such funding.“Once money comes in, people are going to have to have their ducks lined up and ready to go,” said Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission Chair Brent Bohlender.In other Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission news, Commissioner Angela Raeburn has resigned from her post. The commission now has two vacant seats of seven total seats.The Parks, Recreation and Community Commission will meet next at 6 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.