City of Turlock Public Facilities Maintenance Manager and Turlock citizen Rick Harden personally nominated that the West and East Wingette Parks be named recognizing two individuals.
On documents dated 04/03/09, Rick Harden nominated the parks be named after former Turlock Mayors Brad Bates and Dr. Curt Andre.
The explanations by Harden of why these individuals should be considered for the naming of a city owned facility are:
“Brad Bates Park” – West Wingette at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex
Mr. Bates was the Mayor of Turlock from 1982-1990. He also served on the Turlock Planning Commission for 6 years, Chairman for the last 4. Mr. Bates has also served on two commissions for Stanislaus County. He initiated the effort for the Playpark at Donnelly Park and was the primary fundraiser and organizer of the project. Mr. Bates was very involved in the development of Pedretti Sports Complex installing sprinklers. He was an integral part of the development of the off leash dog park at Sunnyview Park, was involved in the Rotary Club’s Amphitheater workdays at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex and has a lifetime membership in the Turlock Community Pools. Mr. Bates was selected Citizen of the Year by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce in 1987. Mr. Bates continues to support all Parks and Recreation projects through his strong fundraising efforts.
“Curt Andre Park” – East Wingette at the Turlock Regional Sports Complex
Dr. Andre was the Mayor of Turlock from 1990-2006. He also served on the Turlock Planning Commission for 10 years, Chairman for the last eight. Dr. Andre initiated the dialogue between the City and the School District to jointly develop and build Pitman High School and the Turlock Regional Sports Complex. He oversaw the General Plan ten year revision, increasing planned areas and standards for recreational space, bike paths and parks. During his tenure as Mayor, the City added 85 acres of park land to the City Parks system. Dr. Andre graciously participated in Turlock’s Arbor Day celebration at various parks for 17 years and accepted the City’s Tree City USA Award 13 out of the 17 years as Mayor. Dr. Andre was selected Citizen of the Year by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Dr. Andre has been, and continues to be a very strong advocate of Parks and Recreation.
The nomination to name both of the parks received a unanimous vote of approval by the Park, Recreation & Community Commission at Wednesday night’s regular commission meeting.
The proposal will go before the Turlock City Council on April 28, 2009 at their 7pm Council Meeting.
TurlockCityNews.com spoke with Brad Bates and Dr. Curt Andre after the nomination was accepted. Both Bates and Andre are usually quick to respond, and extremely smooth while doing it. Despite recently finding out about the nomination, both fumbled words in their reaction with humility.
“It’s a very nice gesture,” said Bates.
“You know when you live in a town your whole life and go to parks with people’s names on them; you get to know those people were part of a legacy in the community, this is a tiny bit of a legacy,” said Bates. “This was unexpected and again, it is a very nice gesture.”
Curt Andre’s initial reaction was “I was so surprised… I don’t know what to say.”
“It was such an honor to be Mayor and serve four terms; I never had a bad day,” said Andre. “I was very grateful for being able to serve as Mayor, so this is just frosting on the cake.”
After Bates and Andre first answered the simple question of “How do you feel about the nomination to name a park after you,” both were quick to clarify that all the stated accomplishments as to why the parks should be named after them were part of community efforts.
Besides the facts that both Bates and Andre served on the Turlock Planning Commission and were Mayor of Turlock, both almost down-played their leadership roles and honored distinction within the community.
“Turlock is a work in progress, always will be, and it is a collective effort,” said Andre. “Turlock is a sum of a lot of people’s efforts.”
Because Turlock has had so many great contributors, Andre said “This is really an honor.”
Bates joked saying that if one park was bigger than the other, the bigger one should be Andre’s because he was Mayor longer.
Andre referenced one of his listed accomplishments and said “I was involved in the planning of that area, they’re both exactly the same size!” Andre jokingly said “But I think I have more amenities!”
“A couple wingettes, a couple wing nuts … Very fitting,” said Bates.