The City of Turlock’s recreational offerings are on track to return following a year of facility closures due to the pandemic.
During the Turlock City Council meeting on March 23, Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Allison Van Guilder shared an update on the status of reopening the City’s various amenities, including Pedretti Park, the Turlock Regional Sports Complex and swimming sites. Stanislaus County is currently in the red tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning that a majority of outdoor activities are permitted under public health guidelines.
The City’s parks and their amenities have been open since last September, with the exception of large, multi-table picnic areas, but families will soon be able to enjoy the pools at Turlock and Pitman high schools once again while Columbia Pool awaits its highly-anticipated remodel.
The City recently received verbal approval for use of both high school swimming pools once again beginning this June. There is a catch, however, with Van Guilder explaining to the Council that the pandemic has reduced the amount of training available for lifeguards.
“This will all be contingent on whether or not we can recruit an adequate number of properly-trained lifeguards to support those efforts,” Van Guilder said. “...Trained lifeguards are a valuable commodity, so we will be competing with other cities to secure these staff.”
Van Guilder added that the City has reached out to past staff in order to try and fill the positions and all lifeguards will be responsible for securing their own training course.
The softball and baseball fields at Pedretti Park are close to reopening as well, as are the soccer pitches at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. While all three sports can be played in the red tier, guidelines prohibit any tournament play consisting of more than two teams.
Adult softball leagues are expected to return, however, as are hourly rentals. COVID-compliant procedures are currently under review by legal counsel, Van Guilder said, and registration for City programs is being updated.
“It will look different,” Van Guilder said. “It won’t be our typical league play where we have several teams interfacing...We’re going to try and be as creative as we can, but this will obviously affect our soccer activities and our softball, because we know our facilities have been a destination for tournaments for those two activities.”
In addition, Soderquist Field is open for Little League-approved activities only and the City’s joint use agreement with Turlock Unified School District for each other’s facilities is undergoing the process of updating the waiver language to include pandemic-related information. The same is being done for the City’s other rental facilities, and Van Guilder said they will be ready to rent once larger indoor gatherings are permitted.
Not only are the City’s parks open, but they’ll once again be able to be at their best thanks to the City’s Adopt-A-Park program, which will soon be up and running again following volunteer guidance released by the state. Van Guilder said that once waiver language for the program is approved, community members can volunteer to spruce up the parks.
“We definitely miss their help in keeping our parks clean and usable,” Van Guilder said.
To stay up to date with the reopening of Turlock’s facilities, follow the Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department on Facebook or Instagram.