Although he won't be among those in the local skateboard community who will get an opportunity to try out a few tricks at Turlock's new skate park when it opens, Brandon Koch will be definitely be there in spirit.
The avid skateboarder who died of a rare cancer in 2012, was an advocate for skateboarding as a way to get young people involved in an activity that promotes an active lifestyle. His aunt, Judith Suliman, was instrumental in getting the Turlock Skate Park renamed the Brandon Koch Memorial Skate Park in 2013, and has been involved with public discussions on the move of the skate park from its original site on Starr Avenue to Donnelly Park.
"This park is going to mean a lot to the future of Turlock, the young folk, the children, the teens," said Suliman during discussions of the skate park move at Tuesday's City Council meeting. "The young adults who are going to be using this park are going to be your future leaders. They are going to be the people who say, 'oh I remember Turlock did this when we really needed it; let's go and do something good for Turlock.'"
On Tuesday, the City Council received an update on the design of the new skate park, the estimated cost of building the park and a potential timeline on the project, while also approving a resolution that the sale of the park complies with the Park Preservation Act.
The park’s transition from its location on Starr Avenue to Donnelly Park comes after the Turlock City Council voted in August 2013 to move the park due to the sale of the land it sits on to the Turlock Irrigation District.
The proposed skate park design will include some elements from the old park, but will also include an upgrade to the flow and allow for different types of skate styles — street skating to vert skating and freestyle, according to a report prepared by city staff.
The current skate park will be closed on Aug. 27, as city staff take apart elements of the park, some which will be moved to the new park.
The City has received only one bid on the construction of the new park, from California Landscape and Design of Upland, California in the amount of $243,000. The City received $240,000 from the sale of the Starr Avenue property, and the overall budget for the project, including design, inspection and project management, is expected to be approximately $350,000, according to Director of Development Services and City Engineer Mike Pitcock.
City staff is recommending the City Council approve the use of Community Park funds to make up the $107,000 gap.
The Council will consider awarding the bid, approving the construction schedule and use of Community Park funds at their Sept. 8 meeting.
"One hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, but I assure you that if you invest in this new skate park and invest in the youth...it will make a difference in their lives," said community supporter Zack Wagner at Tuesday's meeting.
Once the new skate park is up and running at Donnelly Park, community member Brittany King is hoping that the city's Parks and Recreation Division will get more involved with local skateboarders.
"With this new park, what better way to draw more youth out of their houses, away from their consoles, away from their video games, and get them outside and possibly look towards creating skate lessons for different ages through Parks and Rec," said King.