For over a year the Turlock Noon Rotary Club has been trying to build two bocce courts in a city park, but everywhere they turned, Rotary members were met with more opposition than well wishes from Turlock citizens.
The Rotary has been working closely with city officials to appease everyone’s demands for the donation of the bocce ball courts, but to no avail.
The proposed layout was 65 feet long and 29 feet wide, and would have included benches and a Rotary sign with rules on how the game is played.
In order to give the public an idea of the size of the court and where it would be placed, Turlock Noon Rotary members marked the potential layouts with lawn signs and invited community members to voice their opinions by logging onto their Facebook page.
“As we moved forward into our due diligence evaluation, it was important to us that we collect and consider the concerns and comments of the community, and to pass along those comments to the city and Park and Recreation Commission so that all points might be fairly considered,” said Rotarian Mike Dini.
Mixed reviews poured in, but the overall consensus was that no one was willing to host the site for the courts, even though many residents felt the game would be an asset for the community.
The city also held a public hearing near the designated sites, and negative comments from neighborhood residents outweighed the support from various organizations and demographics.
“We don’t want a lot of anger associated with this project,” said Parks, Recreation and PFM Superintendent Erik Schulze. “In my eyes, the Rotary is doing exactly what they said they were going to do.
"We appreciate Rotary and what they do for the community. People tend to forget how positively they’ve affected the community on a daily basis. That is one of my largest concerns about this topic. The Rotary was just trying to do a good thing.”
Even though the results were not what the Rotary expected, Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Barney Gordon believed the Rotary had done an exemplary job at reaching out into the community, and gaining their input.
“After careful consideration, we believe that it is best that we withdraw the project for now,” said Dini. “We will consider renewing the project if we receive a greater amount of community support, but now doesn’t seem to be the right time.
“We want to remain true to our core values at the Rotary, and provide the community with the services they desire. We only wish the best for Turlock.”